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Uists / Benbecula in September/October

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Old Friday 29th May 2015, 22:53   #1
gecko18000
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Uists / Benbecula in September/October

First of all, apologies if this thread is in the wrong forum.

I'm just wondering if I could get some advice about a trip to the Uists/Benbecula in the autumn.

It will be a birding trip, but also a general wildlife, walking and exploring trip. I'm wanting to visit North & South Uist and Benbecula, and will probably spend a week in a rented house.

So, in terms of birding (and weather, although in the Hebrides I guess that is just luck!), when would be the best time in September/October to go? Looking for migrants is fun but also wanting to see a good selection of birds more generally.

Secondly, which of the three islands would people recommend being based on? We will get the CalMac from Oban to South Uist, but could stay on any island.

Any tips/advice gratefully received :)
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Old Monday 1st June 2015, 11:18   #2
dandsblair
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Lochmaddy

We found Lochmaddy to be a good base for Nort Uist and easy to get over to the South. We got CalMac ferry to Lochmaddy from Skye (UIG) rather than Oban.
We went early September and found some good birds.
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Old Monday 1st June 2015, 21:01   #3
AStevenson
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Timing depends on what you are looking for really:

Early-mid September is often best for American waders and seawatching, but chance of American passerines s best late Sept-October. Siberian/continental passerines etc. are usually thin on the ground if it's lows coming in off the Atlantic, but can get decent stuff if the weather does have an easterly component.

General wader migration is good right through though tailing off late Oct. As mentioned passerine migration (pipits and sky larks, wheatears aside) usually involves much smaller numbers than on the east coast.

Most raptors are still easily doable with reasonable weather in Autumn, sometimes easier than in spring ( SE owl disperse and become mainly nocturnal again so much harder than spring/summer). otter can be slightly easier too.

Ferry crossings especially in Sep can be good still for cetaceans/basking sharks. As for which ferry be aware that the Oban ferry is much more prone to delays/cancellations due to weather than the Uig crossing.

Weather potentially highly variable - you can get some nice settled spells, but equally you could get a run of Atlantic lows.

At the moment we still haven't got out of winter yet!!!

cheers, Andrew
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Old Tuesday 2nd June 2015, 00:02   #4
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Thanks both - it looks as if there will be plenty to see and do whatever time we decide to come, so I will probably base it on being able to find suitable accommodation (may be looking for a rental house for 8-10 people, which I imagine might be tricky).

I had heard that the crossing from Oban more likely to get cancelled, but travelling from the central belt it will be much easier to go via Oban - may have to take our chances!
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