Overscaig House Hotel Overscaig House Hotel, North Highlands, Scotland

Bird Gallery

View our extensive portfolio of bird photographs seen in and around the hotel. To view a larger image, hover your mouse cursor over the small image. Please note the image enlarge function works best in Internet Explorer.


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Lesser Redpoll
Although a common species, this is the first time I have identified a Lesser Redpoll at our feeders. There were 3 or 4 feeding amongst the Siskin and Chaffinch and this one was tweeting at anything that tried to stop it pecking at the feed! May 2013



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Crossbill on the feeder
There is always competition for space on the nut feeders, especially when the Siskins are about but here a Crossbill, probably juvenille, finds space to have a meal. This is the first time we've seen them on the feeders. July 2012



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Peregrine stops for tea!
Joyce and her cousin Sally caught this beautiful peregrine falcon looking for its dinner. The seed and nut feeders around the hotel are great for bringing siskin, chaffinch and various tits in to feed - this is also good for the peregrine! July 2012



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Greenfinch on the feeder
Greenfinch are not seen as often as other species but are regular enough not to be unusual at Overscaig. Chicks have been seen from about July.




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Nuthatch - too far North?
This Nuthatch was spotted by the Overscaig in May 2008. It may be the furthest north sighting in the UK.



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Pair of Puffins
Handa island is a wonderful seabird nesting ground - this pair were photographed on Handa in June 2007. Courtesy of Bob Boyd.



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Puffin on Handa Island
Courtesy of Bob Boyd, this Puffin was photographed on the top of the Handa island cliffs during June 2007.



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Black Throated Divers on Loch Merkland 2006
A guest had seen them sitting on the floating island in Loch Merkland but no sign yet of them breeding.




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Great Tit
A first for us - a Great Tit using one of our bird boxes.



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Spotted Fly Catcher
A few of these birds are around from June - September. They can be seen on the end of the branches waiting - then they flutter out catch a fly and back again.



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Lapwing
Each year lots of Lapwings can be seen where the Tirry River enters Loch Shin



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Waxwing
Normally only seen on the east coast during their migration - this Waxwing had obviously taken the wrong road! It fed on the rosehips for a day or two then moved on in search of its colleagues.




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Sparrowhawk
Occasionally seen speeding across the garden the Sparrowhawk is a serious threat to the smaller birds around - this one sat outside the dining room while guests ate breakfast.



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Siskin
Throughout the year the Overscaig is home to these beautiful little birds - this one has been ringed so is not a resident but travelled in from another area.



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Common Sandpiper
From April to September the Sandpipers can be seen on the grassy areas between the hotel and the loch.



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Ringed Plover
Not the best photo but a pair of Ringed Plovers stayed around the hotel for a few days in April 2006.




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Grey Wagtail
A definite misnomer - the most obvious thing about this wagtail is its yellow colouring.



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Pied Wagtail
From April onward the Wagtail can be seen on the bird table and in the garden - a happy go-lucky bird bobbing and wagging around.



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Oystercatcher
Oystercatchers can be seen at various places in Sutherland - this photo was taken on Handa Island



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Osprey
The Osprey is regularly seen near the hotel during the summer months - it probably catches more fish than the fishermen! The pair were seen huting together in June 2007 - perhaps not a breeding pair yet.




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Mallard Duck
These ducks almost have their own key to the Overscaig - several pairs can be seen nearby and one hen was seen with 14 ducklings!



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Long-tailed Tits
In winter, a small family of long-tailed Tits visited the fat balls at the same time each day.



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Hen Harrier
Obvious from its white rump, a Hen Harrier tears at its kill on a fence post in the Overscaig garden.



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Great Tit
The Overscaig is home to most of the tit family - here a Great Tit hangs on a feeder.




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Goldfinches feeding
This was one of the few times I have seen goldfinches feeding on the bird seed.



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Golden Eagle
Unfortunately I have not been able to photograph one yet but they can be seen in the glens to the west of the Overscaig.



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Geese
Although not seen at the hotel, the farming land at the southern end of Loch Shin is the winter home for many thousands of geese. In April, tens of thousands can be seen flying up the loch - heading for their summer homes.



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Dunnock (Hedge Accenture)
This is a shy sparrow-like bird that feeds on the ground under the seed feeders - we have seen up to 10 at any one time around the hotel.




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Common Crossbill
The Crossbill is most obvious in April and May, feeding on the pine cones. You hear the chomping, then a bang as the cone is dropped and hits the roof. Several times a cone has hit me as I worked behind the hotel.



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Coal Tit
One of our smallest birds, the Coal Tit is numerous here. They love the peanut feeders.



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Bull Finch
There are always a few Bull Finches around Overscaig - the male's striking colour and black head standing out clearly.



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Black Throated Divers on Loch Merkland
This pair of Black Throated Divers were seen on Loch Merkland during the summer of 2005. A survey by RSPB in 2007 observed 3 breeding pairs near the hotel.




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Black Throated Diver
The Black Throated Diver is quite a rare sight but there are a number of nesting pairs in Sutherland. The RSPB has placed a number of floating islands on nearby lochs to encourage breeding.



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Goldfinches
Goldfinches are seen occasionally at Overscaig. Early in 2006 a small flock landed in a tree above the hotel.




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