Covering around 475 square kilometres and having a coastline approaching 120 kilometres long Assynt, in south west Sutherland, is simply a must visit destination for birders of all abilities.
It is possible to spot birds from your car, your living room, one of the pristine beaches, the local peat track or the top of some of the most stunning mountains in the UK. So you choose; a short stroll or a hard days climb, either way the results cannot fail to please.
BIRDING LOCATIONS – click to enlarge
We cannot guarantee you a sighting of one of Assynt’s breeding Golden Eagles but it is possible to see one of these birds from virtually any spot in Assynt, so don’t forget to look up.
Continue reading Birding Locations
Four nest boxes were made by the children of Lochinver Wildlife Watch Group, supervised by the Ranger Service.
Barn owls have been seen in Assynt in recent years in various places but they have never been recorded breeding. The children decided to build these boxes to encourage them to breed. Unfortunately the winter of 2009/10 was quite severe and we do not know how the owls have coped.
They have been placed in trees at Inchnadamph, Ledbeg, Clashnessie and Drumbeg
Twite with colour rings
Tony Mainwood from the Highland Ringing Group has been ringing twite at Clachtoll since 2009. In April 2010 he started putting colour rings on their legs. If anyone sees a twite with a colour ring please let us know.
Twite have been declining for several years now and very little is known about their movements. In the past twite would winter in large numbers in the turnip fields in Caithness. Unfortunately there is not so much much turnips grown there anymore. Where do they go now?
By the 15th May Tony has coloured ringed over 300 birds and still going. Tony is using white over green on the right leg and green over metal on the left leg to indicate a bird ringed in Clachtoll in 2010. Andy Summers is feeding the twite throughout the year and birds are caught in a simple trap designed by Tony.
Continue reading Twite at Clachtoll
Goldfinches are scarce in Assynt but seem to be increasing in recent years.
This one was in a garden near Lochinver. Apparently does not breed in assynt but if anyone knows differenmt please let us know. Photograph by Mike Rochester
Mute Swan Cygnus olor – Rare visitor
Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus – Regular winter visitor
Bean Goose Anser fabalis – Rare visitor
Pink-footed Goose Anser brachyrhynchus – Passage migrant
Continue reading Bird species recorded in Assynt
Birds of Assynt 1. Introduction.
There are few parts of the British Isles as wild, remote and under recorded as the North West Highlands. Assynt at first sight can be seen as a hostile place for birds with its rocky coast, ancient rocks, lack of trees and blanket peat covering much of the landscape.
However we have a unique assemblage of birds and hold some of Britain’s rarest breeding birds including black-throated divers and common greenshanks. 228 species of birds have been recorded in Assynt in recent decades. 107 of these maybe reasonably called regular breeders. There are a further 20 regular winter visitors and the rest are regular or rare passage migrants.
Continue reading Introduction to Birds of Assynt