Flora & Fauna Forays

Getting out and seeing what Skye has to offer gives plenty of options to enjoy the wildlife.

What you can do

  • Get out and about and keep your eyes skinned for mega fauna such as otters, red deer, roe deer and seals.
  • Marine animals such as seals, porpoises, dolphins, whales and basking sharks are regularly seen around the coast.
  • The flora of Skye is rich, especially in traditionally managed meadow grasslands.
  • Go on an orchid safari.

Where you can do it

  • All over the Island.
  • Boat trips from Elgol are the best way to see most of the marine mega fauna but you have to be in the right place at the right time.
  • A boat trip is the best way of getting close to seals but they can be shy.
  • Reliable otter locations are marked on the map in the activity room.

What we provide

  • Binoculars including smaller size for children.
  • Telescope.
  • Books, maps and guides for plants, marine animals and other fauna.

Advice about the activity

  • Get great pictures of seals from the local boat trips.
  • Seeing the less common animals is always a bit hit and miss.
  • Patience and sharp eyes plus good optics are essential to see otters.
  • Try the “you move when they dive” technique. Stand perfectly still when they are on the surface and only move closer when they can’t see you. The animals can be remarkably tolerant of nearby humans.
  • Red deer can turn up at the most unexpected times and places – in the garden, on the road or down on the croft.

Red deer stag in the garden in summer with newly forming antlers

Things to consider

  • The more you look, the more you’ll increase your chances of seeing something.
  • Big marine animals, other than common seals, are unpredictable.  It is probably best to consider seeing them as a bonus rather than a certainty.
  • You can increase the chances of seeing most of these species by going to the best places at the right time.  This is something we have been trying to get right for over 40 years.  We are happy to share that experience with our guests but, please be aware that it doesn’t always work out!

Orchid safari

The fact that wild orchids can be readily found on Skye is amazing enough but the range of species to try and find is truly impressive.  The guide to orchids in Skye and Lochalsh produced by the Skye and Lochalsh Environmental Forum is indicative of what you might find.  The moorlands of Skye are pretty well populated by orchids and the common ones are fairly easy to find. Check out any boggy bit of moorland for their distinctive flower spikes from April onwards. You’ll be amazed at what you find.

Several of these orchids can be found in the moorland and croftland near to Springbank, our Skye self catering holiday cottage. We provide guests staying at Springbank with a range of resources for environmental activities and this includes guides to wild flowers.  Why not try an orchid safari on your next visit to Skye?

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