Wildlife in Argyll & The Isles

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  • A dolphin leaps out of the sea
    A breaching dolphin
  • A mountain path above Loch Long in Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park
    A mountain path above Loch Long in Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park
  • A red deer stands among the bracken
    A red deer stands among the bracken
  • Grey and white speckled seals on seaweed covered rocks by the sea
    Seals rest on some seaweed
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Majestic birds of prey soar high in the sky, sealife thrives in the warm waters and the ancient forests provide a haven for all sorts of species throughout Argyll & The Isles.

As well as being famous for its whisky, Jura is well-known for its remarkable red deer population which is larger than the human population on the island. In winter you have a good chance of seeing the magnificent ‘monarchs of the glen’ as they come down from the higher ground in search of food.

Over on the isle of Islay, autumn is the best time to visit the reserve at Loch Gruinart where you can see thousands of barnacle and white fronted geese as they flock to the island seeking shelter over the long winter months. Here, you also stand a good chance of spotting the elusive corncrake.

In springtime, wading birds including lapwings, redshanks, curlews and drumming snipes take centre stage in the region. Further south, the coastline and open moorland provides a home for rare choughs with spectacular golden eagles soaring high overhead. Mull is also home to rare birds of prey such as the majestic white-tailed sea eagle, particularly around Loch Frisa.

However, it’s not just birds that thrive in the region. Take one of the boat trips which depart daily from many of the region’s harbours to witness seals, minke whales, porpoises, rissos, white beaked and bottlenose dolphins in the wild. Occasional sightings of sperm, humpback and orca whales have also been recorded around the northern isles of the Inner Hebrides.

Back on the mainland, Loch Lomond & The Trossochs National Park also runs through the region and beavers thrive in Knapdale Forest following their reintroduction in May 2009. Stroll through the trees early in the morning or in the evening to chance upon these furry creatures.

Argyll boasts several more National Nature Reserves including Taynish where oak woodlands, grassland, heath, salt marshes and the shoreline provide habitats for an assortment of creatures. Look out for secretive otters as they slip quietly through the trees or chance upon the rare marsh fritillary butterfly.

Wherever you go in Argyll & The Isles, remember to pack your binoculars.

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