Bird Hides

There are two public hides on the island - both located near the largest lochs.

Loch a' Phuill

This large machair loch is difficult to approach in April-June because of high densities of breeding birds, however it is most productive for migrants in autumn. Best viewed from the public hide. Low water levels in the autumn create broad muddy/sandy fringes, which attract flocks of passage waders, mostly dunlins, ringed plovers and redshanks but black-tailed godwits, whimbrels and greenshanks are regular together with smaller numbers of scarcer species. The loch hosts large flocks of dabbling and diving ducks and these should be checked thoroughly for scarcities such as gadwall, pintail and scaup. Large numbers of gulls visit the loch to wash and preen and these frequently include the odd glaucous and Iceland gulls between October and April, as well as kittiwakes from the nearby cliffs. The loch is also attractive to feeding terns and to aerial feeders such as swallows and sand martins in the summer, whilst the adjacent grasslands can hold large numbers of golden plovers during the winter. Otters can be seen from time to time, fishing for eels in this loch as well as at Loch Bhasapol and Loch an Eilein below.

Loch Bhasapol

The public hide at Loch Bhasapol is great place to sit and watch wildlife in comfort and out of the weather. Set up and back from the loch, it provides a panoramic view of the open water and fringing marshes. Bring binoculars or telescopes to get closer views of the wide range of birds present. The hide is at its best in April/May when the loch is home to many pairs of breeding duck such as Mallard, Teal and Shoveler, large numbers of resident Greylag Geese, a pair of Mute Swans and dozens of pairs of Snipe, Redshank and Lapwing. The surrounding reed-beds are home to chattering Sedge Warblers, as well as Reed Buntings and noisy colonies of Black-headed Gulls and Arctic Terns. Keep an eye on the gulls and terns, as they will mob intruders such as passing birds of prey or otters. Watch out for scarcer spring migrants such as Black-tailed Godwits, Sand Martins and Swifts, whilst Little Gulls are probably annual. The loch quietens down later in the summer, but picks up again in winter as Arctic-nesting wildfowl such as Tufted Ducks, Wigeon, Goldeneye and Whooper Swans appear in large numbers. These are joined by Argyll’s only wintering Coots, plus small numbers of elusive Little Grebes and Moorhens. Otters are present all year round and can be seen with luck and patience.

The hide is located at NL966466 and can be accessed on foot via a sign-posted kissing gate off the road to Kilmoluaig. There is a small parking area on the right hand side of the road in front of a low ruin (NL965467) just before the hide is reached. Please do not park on the road itself or in the nearby passing places.