Exterior of timber-finished Loch Levin bird hide
This bird hide at Loch Leven, Scotland is part hide, part bridge and part screen. Photo: courtesy Wood Awards

Natural Images ‘Blind’ Tasting’ Competition.


Bird hides come in all shapes, sizes and states of usefulness. If you are any kind of birder or photographer, you have been in more than a few.

So we thought it a good idea to ask you to tell us about your best and worst hide experiences.

And to make sure we got your attention, we are calling it our ‘Blind Tasting’ Competition.

To kick things off, here are our opening choices.


Apparently there is a hide in Finland with a revolving turret for photographers to track birds in flight around 360 degrees. But we haven’t been able to verify its existence.

Timber-lined interior of Loch Levin hide
Oak viewing apertures at Loch Levin double as shelves and benches. Photo: ©Wood awards

So for starters, Natural Images nominates something of a five-star gem (pictured) on the shores of Loch Leven in Scotland as a leading contender for the top spot. Made largely with Scottish timber, the part-hide, part-bridge and part-screening facility has won numerous architectural and environmental design awards. And what about this for style: the viewing apertures, shelves and benches are all oak finished!

Viewing slots are carefully positioned and expansive enough to suit the differing needs of birders and photographers. This one hits the spot for us.


Good real estate and the best bird hides have three things in common: location, location, location. But what about the view?

It wasn’t the substantial python in the rafters or the imposing golden orb spider at the entrance that put us off the hide at Abattoir Swamp in Far North Queensland. It was the view: nothing but grass!

An impenetrable mass of olive hymenachne to be precise – introduced as cattle fodder and now out of control across the country. What a shame that so much effort has gone into refurbishing the raised walkway and nicely finished hide, just to view an expanse of one of the worst weeds in Australia.

As for the ‘swamp’ – it is reported to be under the grass somewhere. But if you are planning a visit, we suggest a quick turn around the parking area will produce better results.

How to enter our Blind Tasting

We would love to hear about your favourite and not-so-favourite bird hides and experiences therein (keep it reasonably seemly, please).

Send your entries (120 words or less, ideally with supporting pic) by using the form below. We will regularly post a selection of the best contributions, and eventually try to sort out the overall winners. Prizes might also be a possibility.

©Natural Images 2016


©2018 TONY NEILSON All Rights Reserved. All images are protected by Australian copyright law and cannot be downloaded or reproduced without my permission. Please contact me.


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To write a blog post or submit some of your best images with the backstory, please contact Tony Neilson.
Email: tonywneilson@icloud.com.au