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Top Ten West Coast Birds on Eriska

Posted by Beppo Buchanan-Smith on Apr 18, 2013 9:00:00 PM

One of the many advantages of being located at the west coast of Scotland is the surrounding of such a diverse wildlife.

With over 100 different species of birds on and around the Island, guests can witness a variety of different melodies and harmonies created by our feathery friends, as well as a whole spectrum of colours.

Whether you’re a seasoned bird watcher or just out enjoying the sights, we recommend you keep a look out for the Eriska Top 10.

 1. White-Tailed Sea Eagle

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With a wing span as large as 8ft, the sea eagle is the largest bird of prey in the UK. Having only been reintroduced to the UK in the 70s, after becoming extinct in the early 20th century, it is one of the rarest sights not only on the island, but in the entire of Scotland. The feather on its tail lighten with age, becoming white as it reaches adulthood – hence it’s name

 2. Heron

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Similar to storks and cranes, heron’s have long legs and sinuous necks that are usually found outstretched while looking for food. Though these birds are non swimming they are often found in water, due to their varied aquatic diet, using their dagger-shaped bill to spear any prey that comes in range.

 3. Curlew

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With a distinctive shrill call and long, slender, down curved bill the Curlew is easily  recognisable to any who cross its path. It feeds near mud or soft ground, like sand, using it’s unique bill to burrow into the ground in search for worms and other invertebrates.

 4. Buzzardbuzzard resized 600The common buzzard can be found on the fringe of most wooded areas of Britain, though generally prefers to hunt over large open ground. This impressive bird of prey has large rounded wings and a short neck and tail, though they can vary in colour from much darker browns to paler alternatives. Its ‘meowing’ call can often lead to it being mistaken for a cat.

 5. Hen Harrierhen harrier resized 600

After heavy persecution in the UK, mainly in grouse shooting estates, the hen harrier is now considered much more of a rarity. As another one of Britain’s birds of prey, they hunt over open ground and are considered to do so loudly. They are the only hawk like bird to practice polygamy, with males mating with several females at a time.

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 6. Goldcrest

In European folklore, the goldcrest is considered “King of the Birds” due to the golden orange/yellow crest on the top of its head, which also gives rise to it’s name. It is the smallest bird in the UK, being no more than 9.5cm in length, and commonly inhabits pine trees, using it’s small thin beak to pick at insects between pine needles.

7. Canadian Goosecanadian goose resized 600

Any golfer walking the course at the mement will either curse thse birds for leaving their mark on the fairways or bless them for keeping the grass so green and healthy. They are a large goose, with a distinctive black head and neck and large white throat patch. An introduced species from N America, it has successfully spread to cover most of the UK. It forms noisy flocks and is often regarded as a nuisance in areas where large numbers occur on amenity grassland and parks

 8. Ringed Plover

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The ringed plover is a small, dumpy, short-legged wading bird. It is brownish grey above and whitish below. It has a orange bill, tipped with black, orange legs and a black-and-white pattern on its head and breast. In flight it shows a broad white wing-stripe.Breeds on beaches around the coast, but has also now breeding inland in sand and gravel pits and former industrial sites. Many UK birds live here al
l year round, but birds from Europe winter in Britain and birds from Greenland and Canada pass through on migration.

9. Redshank
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Gaining it’s name from it’s distinctively bright red legs, redshank’s are often found residing along the coast, hunting for insects and crustaceans by sticking it’s bill into soft soil or mud. Their loud piping call alerts all in its surroundings.

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10. Tawny Owl
These invisible wee friends insist on keeping guests up at night with their call. Being no larger than an average pigeon, it hunts small rodents.  Commonly found in woodlands, this nocturnal bird feeds on  hotel insects during the night and often nests inside tree holes where it can protect it’s eggs against potential predators.

Topics: wildlife