AYNISH NA­TIONAL NA­TURE

Bird Watching (UK) - - Go Birding - JOHN MILES by the road, check the view­point out into Loch Mhuirich for

TRe­serve is lo­cated on a penin­sula on the west­ern side of Loch Sween in Knap­dale, Mid Ar­gyll. Na­tive broadleaved wood­land has sur­vived here for more than 6,000 years. The reserve is a mix­ture of wood­land, scrub, bog, fore­shore, grass­land and heath, which to­gether sup­port a rich di­ver­sity of wildlife, but cul­ti­va­tion was once also a big part of the area. Most of the cul­ti­vated fields have now been taken back by na­ture, cre­at­ing the heath and scrub we see to­day. Mi­grant birds are the com­mon­est species in sum­mer, es­pe­cially sev­eral war­bler species. John Hal­i­day of Scot­tish Nat­u­ral Her­itage has done the Com­mon Bird Cen­sus from 1990 to 2015, show­ing species like Black­cap and Gar­den War­bler on the up, while Wood War­bler van­ished in 2012, but is now back to five pairs. Wil­low War­bler is the most com­mon war­bler with more than 89 pairs on av­er­age. Grasshop­per and Sedge War­blers are on a big low. Other species like Red­start and Song Thrushes were high in 2015 and with great weather in 2016, could have in­creased. Both Cuckoo and Tree Pipit are here in spring, while Buz­zards are the best bird of prey nest­ing, with young Golden and White-tailed Ea­gles pos­si­ble, with Jura so close across the straits. Win­ter sees flocks of Siskins and red­polls feed­ing in the Alder, with flocks of Bullfinches en­joy­ing the heather seed. Ot­ters are well worth look­ing for, with both fresh and salt­wa­ter fish at their dis­posal COUNTY RECORDER: MAPS:

Bullfinch Siskin

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