Grinneabhat is a great base for birdwatchers. Highlights include corncrake on the machair and àrd, red-necked phalarope at Loch na Muilne, and golden and sea eagles on the peatlands (sea eagles can also be seen on the shoreline and crofts, especially in winter). Curlew, lapwing, redshank and snipe nest close to Grinneabhat, and you can hear their evocative calls from the building in spring and early summer, along with the song of the skylark. Some recommended bird-watching areas are noted below.
RSPB Reserve - Loch na Muilne
Loch na Muilne, Arnol, consists of shallow lochs with marshy fringes set in coastal heathland, and is a breeding ground of the red-necked phalarope, a delicate arctic wader and one of Britain’s rarest breeding birds. Other waders such as redshank, dunlin and lapwing nest here, and whooper swans and white-fronted geese visit in winter. There is a short waymarked walk to cliffs where you can see nesting fulmars. www.rspb.org.uk/reserves-and-events/reserves-a-z/loch-na-muilne/
Loch Òrdais & Port Mhòr Bhràdhagair
The shoreline and the sandy areas at Loch Ordais are good places to see birds such as dunlin, ringed plover, sanderling, turnstone, golden plover, purple sandpiper, oystercatcher and redshank. Arctic terns feed here in summer, and corncrakes breed on the adjacent machair. Ducks such as shelduck, wigeon and teal frequent the loch. In winter passerines such as twite, skylark, reed bunting, meadow pipit and linnet feed on the machair and divers feed in the bay.
Snow buntings are frequently seen close to the shoreline in winter, and birds of prey such as peregrine, merlin and hen harrier may be seen at any time of year. Rarer vagrant birds often turn up at Loch Ordais – recent sightings include semi-palmated sandpiper, Richard’s pipit and American golden plover.