Bird watching in Benbecula is a must. Blessed with multiple, undisturbed habitats for birds there is plenty to see year round. Here are some favourites:
Stinky Bay – large beach where it is possible to see turnstone (phot credit Wolfgang Vogt from Pixabay), purple sandpiper, dunlin and sanderling run back and forth with the tide, their sixth sense keeping them just ahead of the waves. It may also be possible to see phalaropes and Eiders. Beyond the waves, Arctic terns, little terns, red-throated and great-northern divers and gannets all can be seen diving in their characteristic ways. Occasionally, Arctic skuas can be seen soaring by.
Moorland (near Reuval) – hen harrier and short-eared owl can often be seen hunting.
Machair – on the west coast the elusive corncrake is fairly regularly heard and spotted (best seen in May and early June)
Lochs (in south west of the island) – good variety of breeding wildfowl including small numbers of Gadwall and Shoveler whilst Garganey are also regular visitors. Good numbers of waders can be found with breeding species including Snipe, Dunlin and a handful of the rare, Red-necked Phalarope. This is their main site in the Outer Hebrides and the last week in May is often the best time to see them in larger numbers.
Farmland – Benbucula’s low intensity farmland is also a great site for skylarks, greenfinches.
For more island adventures check out our book Islandeering: adventures around the outside edge of Britain’s hidden islands