Spend your last day wildlife spotting on the isles of Islay and Jura.
The Isle of Jura’s name comes from the Norse ‘island of the deer’. This is especially fitting for Jura whose 200 human residents are outnumbered by more than 6,000 red deer. As the deer graze in the valleys and on the flanks of the hills and mountains, the skies are patrolled by majestic golden eagles and sea eagles. Hen harriers and buzzards frequent the skies as well looking out for prey in the grass and bracken and at dusk the owls take over this task.
At daytime many other birds can be spotted, depending on the habitat you are in. Jura is fortunate to have a lot of different habitats. Woodland, bogs, heather, grassland and coastal bays and sandy beaches are present on Jura's east coast where you will find many species of song birds.
The west of the island is more rugged and mountainous providing excellent habitats for sea birds such as shags and guillemots nesting on the cliffs and sea stacks. In the bracken and between the heather adders warm themselves in the sun before they go out to hunt for prey such as voles, shrews, mice, frogs, lizards and small birds.
Jura can be enjoyed alone or as part of an organised wildlife tour, where local rangers will assist you in finding the best places to spot each animal.
Next pay a visit to Loch Gruinart RSPB Reserve on Islay, perhaps one of the most beautiful parts of the island, offering stunning views combined with unique wildlife, rare birds and thousands of geese in the wintertime. The spring migration is a good time to look out for unusual birds which have made a wrong turn.
From the hides in spring time there are good views of great white egret, marsh harrier, wood sandpiper and blue-winged teal .The floods are full of activity as breeding ducks and waders nest and raise their young during spring and summer. Tiny roe deer fawns are reared among the rushes and magnificent red deer stags feed close by. Otters often swim through the shallows hunting for prey and causing lapwings and redshanks to dive-bomb and scream to attract them away.
There are plenty of hides, vantage points and information leaflets to help guide your viewing experience and there are ranger led tours throughout the daylight period.