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Owl Photography Holiday on the Outer Hebrides

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Owl Photography Holiday on the Outer Hebrides

The Outer Hebrides form a widespread archipelago across the West Coast of Scotland. As an ‘Island on the Edge’ the Uists are a unique and special place for wildlife photography in the UK. With a wealth of specialist birds

Daily activities

Most days will follow roughly the same profile as we use the summer hours to maximise time in the field. Typically we will start early (5AM if weather permits) and continue until breakfast. There will then be some more time to recuperate and rest or do you own thing, before heading back into the field in the evening and staying out as long as light permits.

The main targets for the trip are;

  • Hen Harrier and Short Eared Owl
  • Corncrake
  • Breeding plumaged Waders on the Machair
  • Nature special to the area that we may encounter; Red Throated Diver, Golden eagle, Golden Plover, Cuckoo, Skuas, Terns, Corn Bunting, Otter, Red Deer

 

You can see the 2014 trip report here

Hen Harrier and Short Eared Owl

 

Raptor numbers tend to cycle between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ years. In good years the islands are awash with owls and seemingly every suitable post has a resident owl sat keeping watch. Even in leaner years the islands represent the best place in the UK to photograph Owls and Harrier. By using the crepuscular hours we will maximise our chances of seeing and photographing these special birds. In 2012 we saw over 100 in owls in just four days!

Corncrake

The Uists are the main UK stronghold of the enigmatic Corncrake and in some years we have managed fantastic encounters. There are about 1000 pairs of the skulking rail on the islands and during June the males are often calling vigorously to announce their presence. We will visit the best sites based on our experience to ensure we do everything we can to get a Corncrake photograph. (please note the bird is schedule one and cannot be disturbed during the breeding season so we take precautions where necessary to ensure we are within the law)

Breeding Plumage Waders on the Machair

The Usits abound with waders. Snipe, Dunlin, Lapwing, Oystercatcher, Curlew, Redshank and Golden Plover will be our main targets as they settle down for the summer on the stunning Machair (think Hebridean meadow full of pretty flowers!). With luck we may also photograph Ringed Plover, Whimbrel, Sanderling or one of the Red Necked Phalaropes that have now taken up residence on the islands. In previous years this has proved one of the highlights.

Special Nature

The Outer Hebrides abound with other interesting and sought after species. In 2012 we came across a Golden Eagle within shooting distance and in 2013 Otters could be photographed easily. With an open mind our guests are sure to make the most of the trip. Whether it be breeding Whooper Swans and Tufted Ducks or Twite and Corn Buntings singing from the Machair. The Uists have a lot to offer and we look forward to guiding you.

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