Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Troon Beaches & Harbour

Troon is a small town in Ayrshire on the west coast of Scotland, and is one of the places I try and get to with my camera at least two or three times a year. Aside from being conveniently close to Glasgow for a day trip, it is has a really varied coastline which makes it a great spot for photographing coastal birds.

Troon's beaches are conveniently close to Glasgow and Ayr.

Birds on the Beaches


A windy day at one of Troon's beaches

The beaches around Troon are mainly sandy with smaller patches of bedrock. This combination of habitats means that you get a really nice mix of different birds along the coast. The sandy areas are used as feeding grounds by wading birds like curlew, oystercatchers and dunlin, while smaller species like plovers, redshank and turnstones can be spotted feeding in the seaweeds around the rocky areas.

Redshank are a common sight on the rockier places

Turnstones are also quite easy to find!

This pair of Dunlin were too busy foraging around the edges of a freshwater stream to worry about me an my camera.

These beaches are really popular with local dog walkers (for good reason!), so do bear that in mind before you head down. Most folk tend to stay towards the upper parts of the beach, but there's so much space there's plenty of room for everyone. It also means that most of the wildlife here is quite used to humans, and although they won't tend to let you walk right up to them, they are a bit more tolerant of disturbances than in other places and will settle down again fairly quickly.

The beaches are popular with dog walkers too

Obviously, that doesn't mean you get a free pass to cause a disturbance to the wildlife yourself! They are still wild animals, and it is our job as photographers and wildlife-watchers to make sure that we respect that and don't disturb them. As a general rule of thumb, you can tell quite easily when an animal has noticed you: that's a good time to stop approaching them.

Seascapes

The views over to Arran are gorgeous on nice days...

The views from Troon look out over to the Isle of Arran, which can provide a really nice backdrop for any seascapes you might want to try. Also, when the weather turns, it's quite easy to find cool bits of coastline close to the road, so you can get some stormy shots of the sea without having to stray too far from shelter!

... And really cool on the stormy days!

Troon Harbour 



Gulls annoying a grey seal.
While you're here, it's worth remembering that Troon has a working harbour that is used by a decent number of fishing boats that fish the Clyde for Langoustines, and where there are fishing boats, there are usually grey seals!

Eider ducks in the harbour at Troon.

Troon harbour is also a surprisingly good place for Eider Ducks, and there seems to be a large population of the birds living in and around the harbour! Unless you're able to visit a breeding colony (like the Farne Islands for example), I've always found eiders particularly difficult to approach, so the group at Troon was pretty exciting to find!

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Like this? Why not check out some of my other Location Guides.

You can see these and many more of my photos over in the Wild Ocean Photography galleries