Otters, Sea Eagles and wildlife in and around Glenelg


Wildlife of the Glenelg and Arnisdale Area

Otters As well as boasting stunning scenery comprising hill and mountain, glen and loch, river and birch wood; all surrounded by the sea, the Glenelg and Arnisdale area plays host to an impressive list of wildlife residents and visitors. The wide range of habitat makes for a varied population of birds, animals and other fauna and the abundance of wildlife can make a walk or drive through the area seem like a safari.



The Northwest Highlands have long been noted as a stronghold of the Golden Eagle and these impressive birds are a regular sight here. Peregrine Falcons hunt over the glens and hillsides and the White Tailed (sea) Eagle can often be seen hunting for fish over Kyle Rhea. A pair of these magnificent birds have nested locally for many years. The ferry and sea eagle featured on the BBC Series "Hebrides - Islands on the Edge" in what must be one of the UK wildlife clips of the year.Sea Eagle (More info on the Glenelg sea eagles)

The list of birds that breed here also includes Black-throated and Red-throated divers, Raven, Buzzard, Common tern, Eider, Goosander, Dipper, Grey wagtail, Grasshopper warbler, Common sandpiper, Tawny and Barn owl however birds like Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook and Swift are notable for their absence and Starlings are very rare visitors! Mountain tops can hold Ptarmigan and Dotterel.

Gannets are almost ever present in the summer over the bay or in Kyle Rhea. Despite apparent declines elsewhere Cuckoos are very common in the summer and can often be seen as well as heard. In the appropriate season birds visiting or passing through can include Brambling, Waxwing, Whooper swan, Glaucous gull, Iceland gull, Sandwich tern. Even Ospreys pass through occasionally.



Young Pine Marten The area has a good population of Pine Marten (we have at least four that feed on our kitchen window sill nightly) and there are Badgers, Foxes and Hedgehogs. Red deer are very numerous and there are also Roe deer. Otters can be seen almost anywhere along the shores and are often to be seen from the ferry slipways. Contrary to common opinion Otters are commonly seen during the daytime. In the sea Porpoise are very common with Dolphins visiting too. Minke and Sei whale have been seen as well as Basking shark and even a Sun fish.


Other Wildlife

Sea life The roadside ditches are full of breeding frogs and toads in the early spring, while sunny summer days can bring out basking Common lizards, Slow worms and even Adder. Several species of bat can be seen including Pipistrelle and Daubenton’s.

[The highland midge is a not so welcome member of the local fauna. They can be murderous in the right conditions (calm, damp evenings are the worst) but there are now some good anti midge treatments available – “Smidge” being particulary effective. If you avoid going out in their ideal conditions and apply the right deterrent you shouldn’t have a problem. They certainly shouldn’t put you off coming here.]

Peter Jones

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