Colonsay & Oronsay

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Birds of Colonsay
Birding Colonsay & Oronsay

Birding Colonsay & Oronsay

Colonsay lies in the Hebrides, fifteen miles south of Mull (sea eagles) , to the west of Jura and to the north of Islay. The western coast is pounded by the Altantic Ocean.Its neighbour,Oronsay, is an RSPB reserve managed for wildlife (especially corncrake and chough) and the two islands form an archipelago approximately ten miles long and two miles wide.

Birding on Colonsay and Oronsay starts with the spectacular sea crossing from Oban, through the Firth of Lorn (look out for bottlenose dolphins, common and black guillemot and other seabirds), passing the Slate islands and Garvellachs (Isles of the Sea) before turning out west for Colonsay. Manx shearwater, gannet and occassional storm and leach's petrel are all possible.The two and a half hour sea crossing is one of the highlights of this birding destination, however it is possible to reach the island in 15 minutes by taking the flight from Oban to Colonsays's grass airstrip.With only 135 inhabitants, one hotel, a shop and a post office, the visiting birder needs to be well prepared, but is not neccessary to take a car as the whole island can be easily explored by bicycle.
Above photographs: The Island of Oronsay looking towards 'The Paps of Jura'.Nettle patches and other vegetation have been carefully managed to encourage breeding corncrake.Inset picture Great Skua at Port Ban ('Pigs Paradise') Colonsay. All photographs Andrew Miller.

Ferry Crossing
Divers, (good numbers of Great northern diver especially close inshore around Colonsay), fulmar,shearwater including sooty (late summer)Storm and Leach's petrel,Gannet, Skuas, Auks, Kittiwake.

pigs paradise

Port Ban (Pigs' Paradise)

Port Ban (Pig's Paradise) is an area of rocky shore and stunningly beautiful westerly cliffs smashed by spectacular Atlantic waves.Not easily accessible, visitors should seek access advice from the seasonal RSPB wardens (usually to be found at Scalasaig port) However, the seabird colonies allow fine views of Red-billed Chough,Kittiwake,Shag (above.Pic Andrew Miller),Razorbill, common and black Guillemot,Skuas and gulls.

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Fada
Loch Fada

Loch Fada

A series of three lochs easily viewable from the B8087.The lochs are surrounded by reedbeds and meadow in the shadow of both Carn Mor and Beinn nan Gudairean. Perhaps the best view is from the small reservoir on the hill road back to Scalasaig. Hen harrier, golden eagle, buzzard, water rail, linnet, twite, little grebe, raven. Stop at This point for Corncrake (Corncrake pic:Segey Yeliseev.Recording below made May 2013).


Other sites.
Colonsay House Gardens.Woodland birds including:- Redstart, Blackcap, wood warbler and long-eared owl. (information courtesy of RSPB warden on Oronsay)

Oransay.Small island RSPB reserve that can be reached on foot at low tide.(Tide times available at Scalasaig post office).Winter geese and swans, Red-billed chough joined by Colonsay population,Raptors including peregrine,twite,corncrake (summer), passage waders.

Bird photographs from Islay & Colonsay
Bird photographs from Islay & Colonsay
Birding Video from Colonsay
Birding Video from Colonsay
Colonsay on Twitter
Colonsay on Twitter
Colonsay Blogs & links
Colonsay Blogs & links
Services and accommodation on Colonsay
Services and accommodation on Colonsay
Birdwatching walks on Colonsay
Birdwatching walks on Colonsay

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