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Wildlife & nature reserves

Otters, golden and sea eagles, basking sharks, red squirrels, seals, puffins, deer, porpoise: the hills, ancient forests, remote shores and seas of Argyll and the Isles are teeming with wildlife. The region’s seven National Nature Reserves and many more wildlife centres are home to a huge range of rare plants, animals and birds including Scotland’s only wild beaver population.

Spring is the time to see wading birds including lapwing, redshank, curlews and drumming snipe. Further south, the coastline and open moorland provide habitats for rare choughs and golden eagles. Mull has become known to many as ‘Eagle Island’ thanks to its population of golden and white-tailed sea eagles. Over on Islay, in autumn thousands of geese flock to the island.

Argyll has some of the finest remaining Atlantic oak woods in the country. Once forming a complete fringe down the west coast of Scotland, these oak woods can now only be found in fragmented patches. Bluebells, wood anemone, primroses and other species form a colourful spring display, and deer, badgers, red squirrels, night jars and pine martens make their homes here.

Take a boat from one of the region’s many harbours for a chance to see seals, basking sharks, minke whales, porpoises, risso’s, white-beaked and bottlenose dolphins in the wild. If you’re very lucky you might see sperm, humpback and orca whales around the northern isles of the Inner Hebrides.

Jura is famous for its red deer population. In winter you have a good chance of witnessing the magnificent beasts as they come down from the higher ground in search of food. Listen out for antler rattling in the hills as the stags battle it out for dominance during the rutting season.

Header image by Martin Keivers.
Explore like a local
Iain Johnston Iain
Kintyre & Gigha
Lynn Jones Lynn
Walking & Wildlife
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Staffa National Nature Reserve
Staffa National Nature Reserve
Staffa is an unspoilt and uninhabited island best known for its magnificent basalt columns and spectacular sea caves.The most famous of these is Fingal’s Cave,...
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Sutherland's Grove
Sutherland's Grove
A range of woodland walks and cycle routes through a diverse landscape of gigantic fir trees, crashing waterfalls and ancient oakwoods. The cycle routes venture deeper...
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Swim with sharks
Swim with sharks
Come and swim with Scotland's biggest fish! Basking Shark Scotland is the only dedicated basking shark tour operator based from Oban. The Basking Shark Scotland...
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Taynish National Nature Reserve
Taynish National Nature Reserve
The oak woodlands of Taynish are interspersed with grassland, heath, saltmarsh and shoreline to give a truly amazing variety of wildlife. Admire the spring-time carpet...
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Tobermory Marine Visitor Centre
Tobermory Marine Visitor Centre
Tobermory’s Marine Visitor Centre contains fascinating exhibits about the area’s marine heritage. Come and see the huge salt water tank, touch pools,...
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Turus Mara - Mull wildlife boat trips
Turus Mara - Mull wildlife boat trips
Staffa, Treshnish Isles and Iona are just a few of the islands visited with Turus Mara wildlife trips. With extensive experience of the wildlife in and around Mull,...
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Wild Argyll
Wild Argyll
Wild Argyll journeys on foot or by kayak can be quite short but the journeys of the mind go far and wide.Explore the natural and cultural wonders of Argyll on foot or by...
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Wild Islay Birding
Wild Islay Birding
Wild Islay Birding offers wildlife and birdwatching on the beautiful Hebridean island of Islay. Enjoy Islay’s abundant wildlife and beautiful scenery on a guided...
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