With a varied coastline, lovely woodlands and fabulous forests, Dunoon is a great destination for wildlife enthusiasts. Here are three of the best places to spot wildlife in and around Dunoon.
Holy Loch Local Nature Reserve
Holy Loch in Dunoon is a brilliant for bird watching. The River Echaig washes tons of silt from the hills which collects as deep mudflats at the head of the loch. This rich habitat is home to lots of shellfish, marine worms, snails and fish, which in turn attracts a wide variety of birds – divers, dabblers, stalkers and waders – all looking for a fish supper!
There’s a bird hide at Broxwood, Sandbank that looks right over the mud flats. Park at Broxwood Picnic Site Car Park, and follow the path through the gateway. It’s just a short walk through a lovely little woodland. Look out for curlew, oystercatcher, wigeon and red-breasted Merganser, among others. It’s best to visit two hours before or after high tide. If you spot an unusual sighting, contact the Argyll Bird Club.
Benmore Botanic Garden
Benmore, with its magnificent mountainside setting and world-famous collection of flowering trees and shrubs, is a fantastic place to spot wildlife. Stroll down the impressive avenue of giant Redwoods, and look out for red squirrels. They’re out and about in spring, feeding and getting their nests or ‘dreys’ ready high up in the trees. The best way to spot them is to scan the forest floor; a sure sign of their presence is chewed pinecones or split hazelnut shells. The woodlands of Benmore are also good for spotting small birds, such as bullfinches, great tits, blue tits and coal tits.
Walking is a wonderful way to enjoy the natural beauty around Dunoon and look out for wildlife along the way. Bishop’s Glen, a wooded area just behind Dunoon, is an ideal place for a stroll. The short circuit explores the reservoirs of Bishop’s Glen and the tumbling Balgaigh Burn. Nowadays the Bishop’s Glen reservoirs are used for fishing and as a home for lots of ducks and other birds, including the odd cormorant taking a break from the sea. Bishop’s Glen is also good habitat for small woodland birds and red squirrels.