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Islay Bird Blog



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Islay Accommodation - Scotland

self-catering Kilchoman House Cottages

Kilchoman, By Bruichladdich, Islay, PA49 7UY Tel: 01496 850382  email  Islay Cottages Website

Kilchoman House Cottages Kilchoman House Cottages are situated within their own grounds on the West coast of Islay, close to a mile long sandy beach. The cottages are surrounded by farmland and approached through the famous Machir on fully tarmac roads.

The Kilchoman area is one of the best place to observe Chough in Scotland with a flock of up to 60 birds. Golden Eagle, Peregrine, Hen Harrier, Buzzard, Kestrel, Merlin and Sparrow Hawk are regular sightings. During the summer, corncrake may be heard, while from late October through to April there are over 30,000 Barnacle Geese and around 15,000 Greenland Whitefronts here on Islay.

Kilchoman House Cottages are an ideal base for bird watching, walking, cycling, fishing in the local lochs, or better still, just relaxing and doing nothing!.

self-catering Port Charlotte Islay Youth Hostel

Port Charlotte, Islay, PA48 7TX Tel: 0870 004 1128     email  Youth Hostel Website

Port Charlotte Islay Youth Hostel Housed in a former bonded whisky warehouse right on the beach, with magnificent views. Modern, comfortable accommodation with small bedroom sizes and excellent bathroom facilities. Well equipped kitchen, laundry and dry room available.

Ideal location for all bird watching activities.

Prices: Junior from 8.75 Senior: from 11.00

The beautiful Hebridean Island of Islay is known for its fine whisky distilleries, its fine sandy beaches, and for its diverse and abundant birdlife. Spend three days covering a variety of habitats looking out for a huge variety of migrants as well as Hebridean regulars, and perhaps even golden eagles.

Islay is also the wintering home to thousands of barnacle geese - so those visiting in the autumn may get the chance to watch them taking flight at dawn and dusk - a true birding spectacle.

This break is perfectly suited to both the experienced bird watcher and 'fledgling' alike. This is fun and educational. Includes:
. 3 days birding with highly experienced and knowledgeable leader
. 3 nights self-catering hostel accommodation
. Packed picnic lunch provided
. All transport provided including pick up and drop off at ferry point.
No need to bring your own car
. Binoculars and scopes provided

Price: 195 Group size: 4 - 6 Duration: 3 Days/3 Nights Dates for 2006: 28/07/2006 & 29/09/2006 .



From the middle of September onwards approximately 30 - 50,000 Barnacle Geese arrive on the island of Islay from Greenland. It is a spectacular sight to see these great flocks touching down after a 6-week journey that has seen them navigate their way across 2,500 miles of tundra and ocean, with just one stopover in Iceland on the way.

They are known to fly at high altitudes and with the right wind conditions have been recorded of reaching ground speeds of over 90 mph! These birds come back to Islay year after year, often returning to the exact same field to roost. They remain here for the duration of the winter feeding on the rich pastures around the RSPB Reserve at Loch Gruinart or on the salt flats at the head of Loch Indaal.

Twice daily, they create a magnificent spectacle when they take flight at dawn and dusk. Their black silhouettes, against a sunset sky are a vision straight out of a Peter Scott painting. As a 'spectacle' it is of interest to all - not just your serious birdwatcher. I would recommend a dawn or dusk tour with Jeremy Hastings of Islay Birding in his Landrover Defender - they provide the binoculars and scopes.

It's a fun way to learn and is great value at just 35 per half day for the entire family.

Alternatively, you can go it alone and base yourselves at the hide down at the RSPB reserve where you are guaranteed a ring-side seat for the dusk 'landings' - spellbinding!

To enable guests to take advantage of this autumn spectacle the SYHA Port Charlotte Islay Youth Hostel is extending its season and will now remain open for the month of October. The hostel itself is housed in a renovated bonded whisky warehouse and is located right on the edge of a small sandy beach.

It has small bedroom sizes and exceptional facilities throughout. Booking is essential. If 50,000 geese are not enough - you can double the number by visiting one or more of Islay's eight, world-famous whisky distilleries. Names like Laphroaig, Lagavulin, Bruichladdich, Ardbeg and Bowmore are familiar to most, yet it is incredible to think that they are all to be found within a few miles of each other on this beautiful, far flung little island.

There is a daily Caledonian MacBrayne ferry service from the mainland port of Kennacraig, which, in turn, is served by a daily Citylink service to and from Oban and Glasgow. For more information on this fantastic little hostel take a look here, or call the hostel on 01496 850385.

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