Moun­tains and sea loch of­fer great mixed bird­ing

Bird Watching (UK) - - Go Birding - JOHN MILES

Torridon is on the west coast of Scot­land, 109 miles north of Fort Wil­liam and 80 miles west of In­ver­ness. It sits on the North 500 route, so is now passed by many peo­ple who pos­si­bly haven’t vis­ited the shore of Loch Torridon with its mixed bird life. The loch is sur­rounded by nu­mer­ous moun­tains to the north, in­clud­ing Liathach, Beinn Al­li­gin and Beinn Eighe, all of which are more than 3,000ft high. The rugged moun­tains are in­cred­i­bly old – the Tor­ri­do­nian sand­stone that forms the bulk of all the moun­tains dates back 750 mil­lion years. Start off via the vis­i­tor cen­tre and check the trees for Cross­bills with Wil­low War­bler, Red­start and Tree Pipit in spring. There is a straight walk to the shore with open fields on your left where you may spot Meadow Pipit, Sky Lark and res­i­dent Pied and pos­si­ble spring White Wag­tail. The hide at the end of the lane is ideal dur­ing rainy pe­ri­ods but could be bet­ter po­si­tioned for views across the loch. At low tide a fresh wa­ter stream/burn en­ters the loch with sev­eral is­lands vis­i­ble. Here, I found many waders from Green­shank to Whim­brel in May. Ringed Plover were on ter­ri­tory, while Dun­lin were lo­cal birds feed­ing up be­fore breed­ing close by. A flock of Golden Plover on the south side fields were also lo­cal birds rather than Ice­landic. All three divers were vis­i­ble

out in the loch, while at the rocks at Am Ploc, both Turn­stone and Pur­ple Sand­piper were fat­ten­ing up ready for migration, along with Whim­brel. Grey­lag Geese were here, along with Shel­duck and Red-breasted Mer­gansers. Both Golden and White tailed Ea­gles are pos­si­ble.

Pur­ple Sand­piper

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