Wildlife

Otters

Harris has a healthy Otter population, particularly along the rocky coastline of the Bays of Harris on the East side of the island. The numerous inlets, with bountiful seaweed and plenty of freshwater lochs and streams are an almost tailor made habitat. Otters tend to travel between lochs and the sea as they need to wash the salt from their thick coats frequently to keep the water repellent insulation qualities that make them equally at home in the water or on land.

The best time to see Otter is during the autumn and winter when they feed more regularly and will move from loch to sea more frequently, but they are shy animals and can be difficult to spot. Look out for patches of vivid green vegetation at the edge of inland lochs as they are creatures of habit who keep to certain tracks.

Puffins

The thriving colonies of puffins around the islands are a sign of heathy seas. Some of the best opportunities for seeing these delightful little birds are at the Shiant Isles as part of a trip with Isle of Harris Sea Tours, run by your host Angus between late April and July. Puffins have a distinctive appearance with their brightly coloured beaks and enjoy a rich diet of fish. You will either see them gathering on the surface of the water in rafts or flying at low level alongside the boat. It is a magical part of a visit to the Shiants.

Seals, Whales and Cetaceans

The Minch is a wonderful place to see some of the most graceful sea creatures from land. Take the footpath over to Eilean Glas Lighthouse in Scalpay and you have a wonderful vantage point to see, typically, porpoise, minke whale, common dolphin and occasionally orca (killer whales)

Seals are a common sight in the Bays of Harris during the spring and summer, and the best way to see them is from sea on a sightseeing trip. On trips around the coastline, dolphins will often play alongside the boat, enjoying the waves breaking on the bow of the boat.

Eagles

The Isle of Harris has some of the best numbers of Golden Eagles in Scotland with upwards of twenty pairs in the hills of North Harris. A visit to the North Harris Eagle Observatory is a lovely way to spend a morning or afternoon with a very good chance of a sighting.

https://www.google.com/maps/search/57.9509,-6.903/ White Tailed Eagles, sometimes called Sea Eagles are hard to miss as they are the largest bird of prey in the UK. There are a few nesting sites around the East coast of Harris and offshore islands where this magnificent bird can be seen hovering in characteristic circular movements.

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