Finding wildlife in Scotland

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Watch this video and see some of Scotland's remarkable wildlife, from timourous red squirrels to playful dolphins.
Great Scottish wildlife

See some of Scotland's remarkable wildlife, from timourous red squirrels to playful dolphins.

  • A golden eagle.
    A golden eagle
  • Close up shot of puffins on the Pentland Skerries
    Puffins on the Pentland Skerries
  • A close up of a red kite soaring high above Bellymack Hill Farm in Dumfries & Galloway
    A red kite soaring high above Bellymack Hill Farm in Dumfries & Galloway
  • Seals in Loch Flodabay, Isle of Harris
    Seals in Loch Flodabay, Isle of Harris

Whether on a mountain or hill, in a glen, forest or along the shoreline, there’s a wealth of wildlife experiences to be had in Scotland. With such an array of diverse animals, including some of the most rare and endangered species on the British Isles, Scotland promises unforgettable encounters with wildlife.

Scotland’s regions vary greatly and it’s this diversity that attracts many different species to make Scotland their home. Along thousands of miles of coastline, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for dolphins, seals and otters in quiet inlets, beaches and sea lochs.

Often spotted off the coast of Scotland’s many islands, orca and minke whales make an appearance in sight of the shore or if not, draw up close next to boats on wildlife cruises.  On just such a cruise, there are few natural sights more impressive than watching tens of thousands of seabirds congregating on sheer sea cliffs from below.

In dense forests, you may have to seek the helping hand of a knowledgeable, professional guide to find elusive mammals like pine martens. Birdlife is truly abundant across the rugged Scottish landscapes from wild fowl in wetland reserves to waders at the coast. In some cases, you'll have to crane your neck skywards to catch a glimpse of some of Scotland's majestic hunters; from ospreys to red kites and golden eagles to sea eagles.

With each new season brings a new incomparable sight, from red deer stags locking antlers in the annual autumnal rut or the arrival of pink-footed geese in the winter, migrating from the colder tundra landscapes of Greenland and Iceland.

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  1. Claish Moss Nature Reserve

    Type

    Nature Centres & Reserves

    Gradings

    Ardnamurchan

    Claish Moss is one of the best examples in Britain of a raised bog that has evolved over the last 8,000 years.

  2. Loch Muick Reserve

    Type

    Nature Centres & Reserves

    Gradings

    Ballater

    Loch Muick Reserve is located 8 miles south west of Ballater in Aberdeenshire, and is part of the Balmoral Estate.

  3. Craignish Cruises

    Type

    Boat Tour

    Gradings

    • 4 Wildlife Experience
    4 Wildlife Experience

    Ardfern

    Craignish Cruises offer guided Corryvreckan Whirlpool, wildlife, and whale watching boat trips on the purpose built 12 meter catamaran Sea Leopard 11

  4. Kintail Ranger Service

    Type

    Walking Tour

    Gradings

    Lochalsh area

    The National Trust for Scotland rangers based at Kintail offer guided mountain walks and sea kayaking from their beautiful west coast location in the Highlands.

  5. The Cowal Way

    Type

    Wildlife & Nature walks

    Gradings

    Kames

    A new 47-mile footpath running the length of the beautiful Cowal Peninsula, starting at Portavadie, and ending at Ardgartan.

  6. Ailnack Gorge

    Type

    Nature Centres & Reserves

    Gradings

    Tomintoul

    At 600 ft wide, 300 ft deep and 6 miles long, the Ailnack Gorge is Scotland's largest glacial melt water channel.

  7. Keen Of Hamar

    Type

    Nature Centres & Reserves

    Gradings

    Shetland

    Resembling a lunar landscape, explore this remarkable nature reserve on Unst, home to some of the rarest plants in Britain.

  8. St Abb's Head National Nature Reserve

    Type

    Nature Centres & Reserves

    Gradings

    St Abbs

    Formed by an extinct volcano, the St Abb’s Head is the best known landmark along the magnificent Berwickshire coast.

  9. Gradings

    South Ronaldsay

    Why not join one of our daily boat trips when you visit Orkney? Leaving from Burwick Harbour, South Ronaldsay, the trip will incorporate a tour around some of the islands.

  10. RSPB Ken-Dee Marshes

    Type

    Nature Centres & Reserves

    Gradings

    Castle Douglas

    A peaceful site with plenty to see at any time of year and a real treat for nature lovers.Look out for rare Greenland white-fronted geese in winter or take a stroll to our hides for a close hand views of red squirrels, ducks and other birds.

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