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TITLE
RSPB Warden on Handa Island (4 of 4)
EXTERNAL ID
GB1796_SINCLAIR_HANDA_04
PLACENAME
Handa Island
DISTRICT
Eddrachillis and Durness
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
SUTHERLAND: Eddrachillis
PERIOD
1980s
CREATOR
unknown
SOURCE
Inverness Museum and Art Gallery
ASSET ID
1999
KEYWORDS
nature reserves
tourism
bird watching
ornithology
audio

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Handa Island is a Scottish Wildlife Trust Reserve off the northwest coast of Sutherland, near the village of Scourie. Each summer, the island's northwest sea cliffs come alive with 200,000 breeding seabirds including guillemots, razorbills, skuas, kittiwakes and puffins. In this audio recording from the 1980s, Bill Sinclair talks to the RSPB warden on the island at that time.

Interviewer: When's a good time of the year for visitors to go to the island?

Well, the seabirds come back to the cliffs usually in March or early April and the breeding season finishes at the end of July, so you need to go during this time. Sometime between early May and the middle of July would be the very best time to go because, at this time, there really is a marvellous spectacle to be enjoyed of vast numbers of birds assembling on the cliffs.

Interviewer: Well, I remember many years ago, going round the island with the late Alastair Munro in his boat, round below the stack of Handa, you know, between the island and the stack and -

He was quite a character, wasn't he?

Interviewer: He certainly was. And the sound there of the sea and the birds on the ledges, I think it's one of these - it's like being in a Cathedral in a way. Have you had this experience?

Yes. It's a marvellous experience. The din is quite, quite extraordinary, with the blending of the such different sounds of vast throngs of seabirds forming the most incredible din, and you can hear the guillemots are constantly displaying and fighting and squabbling, and they make the most extraordinary loud accelerating trumpet-like calls. And also there's the noise - the din of the kittiwakes calling their own names, screaming as they call, and the growling of the shag on these lower pediments too

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RSPB Warden on Handa Island (4 of 4)

SUTHERLAND: Eddrachillis

1980s

nature reserves; tourism; bird watching; ornithology; audio

Inverness Museum and Art Gallery

Bill Sinclair Audio: Handa Island

Handa Island is a Scottish Wildlife Trust Reserve off the northwest coast of Sutherland, near the village of Scourie. Each summer, the island's northwest sea cliffs come alive with 200,000 breeding seabirds including guillemots, razorbills, skuas, kittiwakes and puffins. In this audio recording from the 1980s, Bill Sinclair talks to the RSPB warden on the island at that time.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: When's a good time of the year for visitors to go to the island?<br /> <br /> Well, the seabirds come back to the cliffs usually in March or early April and the breeding season finishes at the end of July, so you need to go during this time. Sometime between early May and the middle of July would be the very best time to go because, at this time, there really is a marvellous spectacle to be enjoyed of vast numbers of birds assembling on the cliffs.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: Well, I remember many years ago, going round the island with the late Alastair Munro in his boat, round below the stack of Handa, you know, between the island and the stack and - <br /> <br /> He was quite a character, wasn't he?<br /> <br /> Interviewer: He certainly was. And the sound there of the sea and the birds on the ledges, I think it's one of these - it's like being in a Cathedral in a way. Have you had this experience?<br /> <br /> Yes. It's a marvellous experience. The din is quite, quite extraordinary, with the blending of the such different sounds of vast throngs of seabirds forming the most incredible din, and you can hear the guillemots are constantly displaying and fighting and squabbling, and they make the most extraordinary loud accelerating trumpet-like calls. And also there's the noise - the din of the kittiwakes calling their own names, screaming as they call, and the growling of the shag on these lower pediments too