In the sea, on land and in the air, wildlife abounds on Skye. I'm not filled with knowledge of the lesser spotted this or the great crested that, but I do get excited by many of the creatures I come across when exploring the island. Some of my favourites are:

Sea and shore

Dolphins and Porpoise can be seen almost anywhere around the coast, often in the sheltered waters of the big sea lochs.

Seals are to be seen all around the coast. Boat trips run from Dunvegan Castle and from Elgol to visit large colonies.

Otters are fantastic creatures to sit and watch. It's impossible not to feel better for having seen them at play. I've done that in many, many places on Skye. Just keep your eyes peeled when walking the coastline. There are otter watching hides in the forest at Kylerhea and on Eilean Ban, the island below the Skye Bridge.

Basking sharks are relatively common visitors when the plankton is abundant around the extremities of Skye. These huge fish reach 8m in length and weigh about 5 tonnes apiece. They are around throughout the summer, but you're most likely to spot them in June and July. Watch for them at Rubha HunishNeist Point or around Elgol. Minke Whales can often be seen in the same places.


Bird Life

The highlight here is undoubtedly the eagle. Golden Eagles patrol the hills while the magnificent White-tailed Sea Eagles soar the sea cliffs. The Sea Eagles are the largest birds of prey in Britain, with a wingspan of almost 3m. About a dozen pairs, which is around a third of all the UK population, are on Skye.

Corncrakes are to be found in the summer, mostly heard rather than seen, at Trumpan and Glen Brittle.

You will find Herons fishing in the shallows at river mouths, and Greylag Geese in huge numbers grazing the fields.

Sea birds abound, with many, many species represented at different times of the year. Favourites are the Puffins (nesting on the Ascrib Islands in Loch Snizort), the beautifully agile Oystercatchers, the dive-bombing Gannets and the super-aggressive Great Skua, or Bonxie.


On Land

Deer are common all over Skye, and are frequently sighted when out exploring the remoter parts of the island.

Foxes are a rarer find, but those that are around tend to be very large creatures indeed. Like the deer, they'll run from humans quickly but, if you are lucky enough to see one upwind of you the reward can be a chance to watch him going about his business for a long time.

Adders are often to be stumbled upon (almost literally) sunbathing on the moors, and the much unloved American Mink has a foothold around the coastal areas.

American Mink