Handa Island Nature Reserve

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Isle of Handa, United Kingdom

Handa Island Nature Reserve Isle of Handa Reviews

sarahelaine sarahela…
651 reviews
Handa Island Reserve Jul 29, 2010
Handa Island nature reserve is an incredible place, and an internationally important bird breeding ground. The whole island is a nature reserve, and black rats have been successfully eradicated, so all sorts of birds and small animals can breed that wouldn’t have survived otherwise. Depending on the time of year, you can see puffins, skuas, fulmars, various kinds of gull, tiny little lizards, carnivorous plants, guillemots, rabbits, seals, and if you are incredibly lucky (I wasn’t) sometimes even dolphins and basking sharks off the coast.

The island has a series of paths and you are asked not to stray off them in some areas, particularly the delicate bogland (because it is delicate, and let’s face it, boggy) and in the parts of the island where skuas breed (because skuas will dive bomb your head if they think you are attacking their nests, and they are bloody big birds to be attacked by). This is a great place to come if you like nature. It is a terrible place to come if you do not. This might mean that it is a bad idea to bring any reluctant teenagers with you, unless they actually really do like wildlife. It’s also worth bearing in mind that the island is surrounded by steep cliffs and so if you are planning on bringing a small child with you, make sure you have enough grownups to grab them if they look too fascinated by the distant puffins.

The weather in the highlands is very variable, so you should remember that even if it is hot when you leave, it is a good idea to bring a raincoat. Although parts of the walk are on boardwalks or paved, you will also need decent shoes or flip flops designed for walking. Access to the island is on a little boat, and there is sometimes a bit of a queue to get back onto the mainland because the boat can only hold so many people and it takes about 15 minutes to cross the sound to the other jetty. Walking around the island and stopping to look at things will take about three hours, longer if you are a keen photographer or if, unlike me, you actually know the first thing about birds. I really regret not taking a pair of binoculars with me when I went, because although you are reasonably close to all the birds, it would have been better to have seen them a little more closely.
Boat to the island
perfect beach, although it was a l…
Nesting sites
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davidx davidx
564 reviews
Utterly entrancing bird reserve Aug 16, 2010
The 5 overall rating relates to May, June and July, that is the breeding season. many birds, in particular puffins, spend most of their time far out to sea, except when they come onshore to breed.

This is an island very close to the shore between Kylescu and Durness. The rock is the red Torridonian sandstone that is as much suited to this low level scenery as to the mountains.

During the breeding season you will not come closer to a guarantee that you will see many types of gul and tern, arctic and great skuas, fulmar and all types of auk
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Isle of Handa
photo by: sarahelaine