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BBC Springwatch – featuring Scotland

Springwatch is back! The BBC’s annual TV series has returned to celebrate its tenth anniversary, showcasing the spectacular native wildlife of the UK. Throughout these exciting, inspirational and educational episodes, roving reporter Iolo Williams on the west coast of Scotland will be showing us incredible live footage of wildlife from Poltalloch in Argyll & The Isles.

Be sure to tune in Monday to Thursday at 8pm on BBC Two. Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan and Martin Hughes-Games are based at Minsmere but be sure to watch Iolo Williams’ wildlife adventures in Scotland which are set to include otters, eagles, seals, beavers and more!

Episode 1 – White-tailed sea eagles

White-Tailed Sea Eagle. ©Lensman300 / Dollar Photo Club

White-Tailed Sea Eagle. ©Lensman300 / Dollar Photo Club

What a great start to this year’s Springwatch! Iolo Williams came face-to-face with the UK’s largest bird of prey – the magnificent white-tailed sea eagle. Springwatch followed the story of a beautiful mated pair of these enormous ‘flying barn doors’, Sula and Cuin, as they raise their young chick on the Isle of Mull. There was even some bizarre aerial combat with a buzzard!

Mull is one of the best places to spot white-tailed sea eagles in Scotland but the islands of Skye and Rum are also very good places to see them. They can be found primarily on the west coast of Scotland but have recently been introduced to the east coast as well.

Episode 3 – Otters

Otter. © Maramedia

Otter. © Maramedia

It’s cute, it’s furry and it’s downright lovable. It’s an otter! Iolo was lucky enough to find a female otter teaching her cub some valuable life lessons and survival skills on Mull. While most of Scotland’s otters can be found by the sea, they will only inhabit areas with freshwater which they can bathe in to wash the sea salt from their fur to keep it in good condition.

European otters can be spotted on the west coast of Scotland. Islands such as Shetland and the isles of Skye and Mull are particularly good places to see them.

Episode 4 – Beavers

Beaver, Knapdale. © Mike Rae / The Scottish Wildlife Trust

Beaver, Knapdale. © Mike Rae / The Scottish Wildlife Trust

As the 5-year Scottish Beaver Trial comes to a close, Iolo heads to Knapdale to catch a glimpse of the first beavers to live in Scotland in over 400 years. With the help of some strategically placed underwater cameras, he was able to get stunning footage of the elusive beavers as they swam out from the underwater entrances of the beaver lodge.

Scotland’s beavers can be found in Knapdale Forest in the heart of Argyll. Join in with one of the guided walks this summer and try your luck at spotting one!

 Episode 5 – Black grouse

A female black grouse

A female black grouse

While Iolo returned to Knapdale to get a close-up view of an abandoned beaver lodge, another Springwatch cameraman journeyed up to the Cairngorms to take a look at the competitive displays of male black grouse in an extraordinary ‘lek’ as they try to attract a female to mate. The males have brilliant black plumage while females are grey-brown, blending perfectly with their surroundings.

These beautiful birds can be found in most areas of Scotland, primarily in more northern, upland habitats such as in the Cairngorms National Park and Perthshire. They can also be found throughout Dumfries & Galloway and the Scottish Borders.

Episode 6 – Chequered Skipper

A peacock butterfly on wild flowers

A peacock butterfly on wild flowers

Rummaging through the undergrowth, Iolo was on the hunt for one of the rarest butterflies in the UK – the chequered skipper. These beautiful insects can be found along the west coast of Scotland, but there are plenty of other rare and common species that can be found here.

There are marsh fritillaries in Argyll, small blues in the Cairngorms and many more widespread residents such as the peacock and small tortoiseshell found all over Scotland. For a better chance to see some butterflies, head over to the Edinburgh Butterfly & Insect World where you can walk among them!

 Episode 7 – Sea Lochs

Sea kayaking off Seacliff beach with the Bass Rock behind.

Sea kayaking off Seacliff beach with the Bass Rock behind.

Iolo seems to be having an incredible time in Scotland! After kayaking down the beautiful Loch Sween near Lochgilphead, he threw on a pair of flippers and went snorkeling to discover the vast array of wildlife that live in this spectacular and diverse habitat.

Scotland is one of the best places in the world for sea kayaking. Follow in the footsteps of Iolo and have your own wild adventure in Scotland!

Episode 9 – Glen Coe

A couple walking on the old drovers road in Glen Coe

A couple walking on the old drovers road in Glen Coe

Iolo was on a mission of discovery in another great episode of Springwatch! After admiring the beautiful chequered skippers along the west coast of Scotland, he headed north to take in the outstanding scenery of Glen Coe. Together with Butterfly Conservation Scotland he was able to discover a brand new Scottish location for finding these rare butterflies!

On top of being one of Scotland’s most stunning natural landscapes, Glen Coe is home to a wide range of spectacular wildlife and diverse habitats. With breath-taking views and excellent scenic routes, Glen Coe is an excellent place for walking!

Episode 10 – Ospreys

Loch Garten, Highlands

Loch Garten, Highlands

Returning his gaze to some of the stars from the first few episodes of this year’s Springwatch, Iolo went back to Mull to check on the progress of the otters and white-tailed sea eagles. Aside from a brief encounter with a male otter and some ‘buzzard-flicking’ by Sula, both families are doing well in the remarkable surroundings of Mull!

While the drama unfolded on Mull, Michaela brought us an update on Monty the osprey. A large amount of the UK population of ospreys can be found in Scotland, particularly in the Highlands region. Other great places include Loch Garten, Loch of the Lowes, Dumfries & Galloway and Loch of Kinnordy.

Episode 11 – Hen Harriers

Heather moorland

Heather moorland

Another great report from Michaela! This time she was taking a look at one of the UK’s most endangered birds of prey – the hen harrier. These sneaky aerial hunters have exceptionally good hearing skills and beautiful owl-like faces.

Hen harriers can be found in many places across Scotland but those found in Orkney are famous for exhibiting polygyny, where a male will mate with more than one female and raise several chicks with each! Muirshiel, Insh Marshes and Forsinard are among the best places to spot hen harriers in Scotland!

Episode 12 – Red Deer


Red Deer

Iolo was looking rather dapper for the last episode of Springwatch! Equipped with traditional Scottish tweed, he went in search of the UK’s largest land mammal – the red deer. However, that’s not the only Scottish icon that he was able to find. There were also golden eagles and potential Scottish wildcats!

Red deer can be found almost everywhere in Scotland. Places like Glen Affric, Knapdale and the Galloway Red Deer range are particularly good places to see them but there are also a number of wildlife tours available to help increase your chances!


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Daniel Barr

Daniel is a keen wildlife enthusiast from Edinburgh with a particular fondness for reptiles, marine mammals and iconic Scottish species.

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