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Uist visit advice 20-25 sept (1 Viewer)


Well-known member
Morning all,

I‘ve got some time off during 20-25 sept and was thinking about driving over To the the Uists from Aberdeenshire. Going to camp In a campsite while out there.

I’ve never been there and was wondering if anyone had any recommendations about how best to bird the Uists at that time of year? I’ve Looked at the SOC bird app and Outer Hebrides Bird site etc. American waders would probably be top of the wish list.

Any Past experience of this time of year out there?
Any first hand on advice on where I should concentrate my efforts?
Any advice for a solo birder?
Base in North or South Uist?

Any advice welcome would be very welcome.



delia todd

If I said the wrong thing it was a Senior Moment
Staff member
Opus Editor
Hi Pete

While you're waiting for someone with more local knowledge, you might want to have a look through our Opus articles. This one is for North Uist and there's a similar one for South Uist, they both have some useful links.

I've been there, but it was some years ago now and in the Spring. Gorgeous islands.


Carpe Carpum
Staff member
Hi Pete. There’s some very useful trip reports on here if you search for them. I’ve been reading them ready for next year. I’ll try and put a few links on when I finish work.



Well-known member
Hi Rich,

Thanks for the heads up. Had a search but couldn’t find anything on birding in autumn there, just spring/summer. I’ll have another look.




Well-known member
Hi Pete,

Autumn is a bit different from spring in terms of number of visitors and birders around - much quieter. Check Outer Hebrides Birds and Western Isles Wildlife websites out, they have daily sightings which will give you a flavour of autumn birding.

The islands are relatively large this often surprises people and some of the best birding areas do require some driving on machair tracks or walks.

The large areas of arable cropping on the machair are being harvested just now and the stubble is very good for flocks of waders. Checking through the golden plovers etc. can produce black-taild godwit, ruff but also things like pec sands, American golden plovers and occasionally other species. Areas of machair which flood with shallow water are particularly attractive.

The beaches and intertidal fords between the islands have lots of waders on them with large numbers of ringed plover, sanderling, bar-tailed godwits to check through. Checking high tide times is very useful as birds can be scattered and distant if you mistime it.

Good sites are the South Ford at the north end of South Uist off the Hebridean Jewellry shop and the little pools at Balgarva as you head west from there. North Bay and Ardivachar as you head west again are also good.

The SW edge of Loch bee at West Gerinish is productive too - as are the the areas of machair nearby that flood out at Launch Area 2 (it is a MoD range but open most of the time). if these hold water they can be excellent.

In truth any beach has possibilities. On North Uist Loch Paible nr Balranald is good as can the beaches on the north coast of North Uist, as can Stinky Bay on the west side of Benbecula.

The hills and moorland (and even the machair) are still good for all the regular raptor at this time of year.

Passerine wise migration volume is often light but when migrants are clearly about there are often rare things around too. Village garden and small plantations anywhere are worth a look. Loch Eynort, Snishival and Druidibeg plantations are good spots on South Uist whilst Langass Woods/Hotel garden, Lochmaddy gardens on North Uist are good too.

Best seawatching spots are Rubha Ardvule on SU but best when wind is SW or WSW, whilst Griminish Pt on NU is best but usually in W-NW winds. Aird an Runaieer at Balranald can be good but less watched in autumn. Ardviachar Pt can be good on SU too.

Hope that helps.

cheers, Andrew


Tame Valley Birder
Here's a report from last year - we were there at the same time. It was probably better than average for American waders due to the prevailing weather. There are opportunities to find your own birds - we managed to find 2 Snow Goose, 2 Buff Breasted Sandpiper, Pec Sand in our 5 days. Also good seabirds very possible from the ferry crossings - we had Leaches Petrel, Sabs Gull and Pom Skua.

https://www.western-isles-wildlife.com/Uist and Barra Autumn Migration Tour report 2019doc.pdf


Well-known member
Thanks for this Periwinkle, a really interesting read. Off on the 21st so I'll report back as to how I got on.



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