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The West coast of Scotland is magnificent for its abundance of Wildlife.

Some Nature you may well encounter in

The Firth of Clyde & when sailing on the Scottish West Coast.

From puffins to orcas, Scotland has no shortage of fascinating marine life. Take the time to get up close to some of nature’s most incredible beings in their beautiful coastal and marine habitats, and experience awe-inspiring moments of connection with nature.

Dolphins, Whales, and Porpoises

The waters around Scotland are among the finest in Europe for seeing dolphins, whales, and porpoises, collectively known as cetaceans.

Dolphins have longer noses, bigger mouths, more curved dorsal fins, and longer, leaner bodies than porpoises.

Bottlenose and Common Dolphins

Dolphins are very intelligent and playful creatures – they are always fascinating and engaging to watch! They can be seen throughout the year, although they may be more visible in the spring and summer when the sea is calm. There are healthy populations of both bottlenose and common dolphins in Scotland, and they are quite easy to spot, particularly from small islands on the west coast.


(May - August)

Orcas, also known as killer whales, are actually the largest member of the dolphin family. These incredibly intelligent animals live and hunt together in family pods. They can be more elusive to spot than some of our other marine wildlife but are mostly sighted between May and August in the far north around the Shetland and Orkney islands, when they come inshore to hunt the common seals that are rearing their pups on beaches. They are also occasionally spotted around the Hebridean islands.

Minke Whales

(May - October)

Minke whales are very distinctive looking and grow to 8 – 8.5 meters long on average. They can be found all around Scotland between May and October, but a few of them will remain here year-round. They often feed in shallower water and come close to land. Juvenile minke whales can be very inquisitive and may approach boats, so please make sure to view them with accredited operators.

Humpback Whales

Although rare, humpback whales are now being sighted with increasing regularity in Scottish waters - with the hundredth whale documented and added to the Scottish Humpback Catalogue this year. Humpbacks are known to migrate through Scottish waters between their feeding and breeding grounds. Much of what we know about these magnificent creatures has come from enthusiastic members of the public - or citizen scientists - reporting what they’ve spotted and using a technique called Photo-ID to identify whales, building a better understanding of their movements. Lyndsay Mcneill is one of these wonderful citizen scientists, below she shares her inspiring story and how you can get involved.

Basking Sharks

(July - September)

Growing to around 6-8 meters, basking sharks are the second largest fish in the world! These gentle summer visitors feed entirely on plankton – their feeding method is to glide slowly along the surface with their enormous mouths open.

Grey and Common Seals

Seals can be seen year-round resting ashore on rocks between their deep-sea fishing trips. The time to see adorable grey seal pups is when they are born onshore, between late September and late November. They stay ashore until they have been weaned and finished moulting in late December. However, the smaller common (or harbour) seals are born onshore in June, thus mothers with pups can be spotted on beaches in summer.

The West Highland Peninsulas, with their varied landscape and wide range of natural habitats, are home to one of the most diverse mixes of wildlife that you can find anywhere in Scotland. We have Scotland's “Big Five“ of red deer, otters, golden eagles, red squirrels, and seals.


Otters live along the seashore and in rivers or lochs, more commonly in the north or west coast. It’s estimated that there are 8,000 living in Scotland.

White Tailed Sea Eagles

The largest bird in the UK, the impressive white tailed sea eagle has a wingspan of 2.5 metres on average and stands at almost a meter tall! They are scavengers, but also hunt for fish, rabbits, and seabirds. They became extinct in the UK in 1918, but thanks to successful reintroduction programmes, they are now thriving in several hotspots! There is potential to spot them on any wildlife boat tour, in the north or west of Scotland in particular.

Golden Eagles

Frequently viewed soaring high along the cliffs of the Island of Mull and the Small Isles.


(April - August)

In spring, these absolutely adorable yet hardy little birds return to Scotland to breed at their favourite nesting spots. They can be spotted rearing their chicks in cliff-top burrows from late March to late August on numerous cliff tops around Scotland. The largest colony is found on the remote bird-haven isle of St Kilda.

Some of the best places to see puffins include:

The Treshnish Islands, just west of the Isle of Mull

– Staffa National Nature Reserve


(April - September)

These sleek and eye-catching sea birds migrate to Scotland in early spring to spend the summer raising their young here. One of the best places to see them in The Firth of Clyde is Ailsa Craig. The island is known for appearing white due to the sheer number of birds and their droppings! You can watch them diving headlong into the water at speed in a truly impressive spectacle!

Some of the many islands where you might see some lovely wildlife.

Isle of Eigg

The community owned Isle of Eigg is a diverse island with coastal land, farmland, willow and hazel scrub, native woodland, raised bog and moorland. Wildflowers and arctic alpines flourish here, otters forage along the coastline and birds of prey soar high above. Seals, dolphins and minke whales are often spotted and over 200 species of birds have been recorded on the island. Enjoy spectacular panoramic views from the Sgurr.

Isle of Mull

The golden eagle is the top predator in the Scottish countryside; it is a massive bird of prey that mainly hunts rabbits and mountain hares but will also catch foxes, young deer and large birds like grouse. It can be seen soaring high in the sky in upland areas and remote glens in the north and west of Scotland.

In Scotland, there are two species of eagle – the White-tailed Eagle, and the Golden Eagle, both of these species can be seen soaring the cliffs of the islands off the west Coast of Scotland.

The Treshnish Isles

The Treshnish Isles are a series of small islands off the western shore of the Isle of Mull in Scotland’s Inner Hebrides. Lunga, Staffa, Bac Mr, and Dutchman’s Cap are the main islands in this archipelago. Highly regarded as one of the best places to see puffins in Scotland, the largest of the Treshnish Isles, Lunga, is famous for its thriving puffin colony. As you sail towards Lunga, you’ll be welcomed by stunning views of puffins sitting on cliff ledges, performing courtship dances, and plunging into the water to grab fish for their brood. The island provides ideal nesting conditions for these birds, with its rocky terrain and abundance of burrows. Visitors can get quite close to the puffins with careful approach, providing amazing chances for observation and photography.

there are many species of Mammals & Birds that you will also see on your Adventures.

Not only your favourites but, for example, Deer, Foxes, Razorbills, Guillemots, Skuas & Eider Ducks, and a whole host of wading birds & dippers.

Don’t forget your camera !

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