This sparsely populated area has a diverse range of habitats that provide a wealth of possibilities throughout the year. Birdlife is abundant and varied and the range recorded in this well-watched area now stands at just over 200 species including regular rarities such as Leach's Petrel, Balearic Shearwater, Grey Phalarope and Sabine's Gull.
During spring and autumn, a dawn inspection of the area will provide opportunities to appreciate the ornithological riches associated with the migration periods. However, an understanding of weather patterns and tidal flows and their consequent effect on birds and animals is the key to successful results.
Uisaed Point is a classic and at times an awe-inspiring promontory to witness visible migration and occasional mass movements of seabirds. Regular Atlantic depressions frequently produce the right conditions to view and record detailed information about ocean-going species and coasting migratory landbirds. Situated at the southern end of Machrihanish Bay, this low promontory juts well out into the Atlantic. The configuration of the coast to the north presents a long leading line (17 km from Glenacardoch Point) ensuring – when conditions are right – a steady passage of birds just after dawn. Throughout autumn, the southerly progression of seabirds, waterfowl, waders and passerines brings many species close to, and often over, the point as they exit from the bay, thus affording superb views.
Otters are seen regularly and Grey and Common Seals are a well-known major attraction. Basking Sharks and cetaceans (Minke Whale, Bottlenose Dolphin and Common Porpoise) are occasional, migrant waders frequently swirl around the point and raptors including Golden Eagle, Peregrine, Merlin and Hen Harrier regularly patrol the adjacent uplands dominated by impressive contours of Skerry Fell Fad and Cnoc Moy (the highest hill in south Kintyre.
The front aspect of the Observatory is orientated to the North-West and incorporates ramps, an extra-wide door and knee projection space so that the wheel-chair user can get close to an armrest.
Landmarks that can be seen from the Observatory include the War Memorial at Glenbarr (10 miles to the North / North-East), the top of Davaar Island (8 miles to the east), Altnacarry Lighthouse (the East Light) on Rathlin Island (16 miles to the west / south-west) and the American Monument on the Mull of Oa, Islay (20 miles to the North-West).
Apart from producing regular Annual Reports since 1993, studies at the Seabird Observatory have resulted in the following papers being published by the warden, Eddie Maguire…
Sporadic late autumn occurrences of Pomarine Skua off Western Scotland. Outer Hebrides Bird Report 2000 (141 – 144).
Flight identification of Grey and Red-necked Phalarope.
Birding Scotland; 2001. Vol. 4 (1; 19 – 24).
Occurrence of Leach's and Storm Petrel off Western Scotland.
Argyll Bird Report 1999. 15 (111 – 119).
Balearic Shearwaters of SW Kintyre, Argyll 1992 – 1997.
Machrihanish Seabird Observatory Report 1996 / 1997.