Monday, 20 August 2012

Butt of Lewis-sea watching!

Just back from a great 4 day birding break at the Butt of Lewis- the most northerly point in the outer hebrides and one of the more remote points in NW europe! Although rather early for a sea watching stint I had to visit now as I'm heading back to work next week and so will miss the more traditional sea passage time- in the UK at least!

Since I was a child and saw my first light house at Lands end Cornwall, I have always had a fascination  for the way they dominate land and sea scapes. I always fancied working as a light house keeper in my youth.

looking across the machair at Eorpie towards the butt light house 
looking NNE
Despite being early in the season for sea- watching, there was enough to keep me occupied for four days:- in addition to the usual suspects of fulmar, gannet, kittiwake, puffin, guillemot, razorbill, common, herring, gbb and a few black-headed gulls,  there was a light passage of sooty and manx shearwater and sporadic sightings of great skua, arctic skua, arctic tern and red-throated divers. Around loch Stiapabhat I also recorded hen harrier, peregrine, golden plover and lapwing. On occasion it was great to see whimbrel and redshank coming in off the sea.

Other marine sightings of interest included a basking shark and an ocean sunfish. On the cetacean front I also recorded minke whale, Risso's and bottle-nosed dolphins, harbour porpoise and two orca! Not bad for a shore-based sea watch stint! 

golden plover

distant ocean sunfish (Mola mola)


  1. The sun fish is a cracking spot and well ID Andy! You have whetted my appetite for heading over for a couple of days.

    1. yes it is a great place for sea watching and there is always the chance of a migrant turning up too- well worth a visit!