Map of the world

  • Where to watch BIRDS and

  • other wildlife in the world
  • Photograph of Capercaillie

    A displaying male Capercaillie by Chris Townend.

    SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS
    and MULL

    Best Wildlife in the Scottish Highlands and Mull

    Mammals
    Pine Marten, (Eurasian) Otter, Red Squirrel, Red Deer (rutting season usually peaks during third week of October), European and Mountain Hares, and Bottlenose Dolphin. Also a chance of Minke Whale and Badger. Eurasian Beaver has been reintroduced at Blairgowrie, south of the Cairngorms.

    Birds
    The species listed here are usually present during the northern summer. (Northern) Gannet, (European) Shag, (Northern) Fulmar, Red-throated and Black-throated Divers (Loons), Manx Shearwater, Hen Harrier, Golden and White-tailed Eagles, Capercaillie (became extinct in Britain in 1785, reintroduced from 1837), Black and Red (Willow) Grouse, (Rock) Ptarmigan, (Eurasian) Dotterel, (Black-legged) Kittiwake, Common Guillemot (Murre), Razorbill, (Atlantic) Puffin, Short-eared Owl, Rock Pipit, Ring Ouzel, (White-throated) Dipper, Crested Tit and Parrot/Scottish Crossbill(s). Also a chance of Corn Crake.

    Fish
    A chance of Basking Shark.

    Best Sites for Wildlife in the Scottish Highlands and Mull

    Best Times for Wildlife in the Scottish Highlands and Mull

    Mid-May to July is the best time to be in the Scottish Highlands, with the second half of May being the peak time for flowers on Mull. White-tailed Eagles can be seen all year round on Mull, but they usually nest from April to June and are most active later in this period when they have young to feed and are therefore usually seen more frequently. It is illegal to park in passing places on single-track roads on Mull, even if there are White-tailed Eagles overhead!

    Recommended Books etc. for the Scottish Highlands and Mull

    Collins Bird Guide by L Svensson et al. Collins, 2010 (Second Edition).

    RSPB Handbook of Scottish Birds by P Holden and S Housden. Featherstone Education, due May 2016 (Second Revised Edition).

    Birds of Europe by L Jonsson. Helm, 1999.

    Best Birdwatching Sites: Scottish Highlands by G Hamlett. Buckingham Press, 2014 (New Expanded Edition including Mull).

    Where to Watch Birds in Scotland by M Madders and J Welstead. Helm, 2002 (Fourth Edition).

    Mammals of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East by S Aulagnier et al. Helm, 2009.

    The Butterflies of Britain and Ireland by J Thomas and R Lewington. British Wildlife Publications, 2014 (Third Edition).

    Wild Flowers of Britain and Ireland by M Blamey, R Fitter and A Fitter. Bloomsbury, 2013 (Second Edition).


    Apps etc.

    Collins Bird Guide.

    RSPB eGuide to British Birds.

    iBird UK & Ireland Guide to Birds.

    Birds of Britain and Ireland.

    Bird Id - British Birds.

    Birder - Guide to Birds of Britain and Ireland.

    Where to watch birds in Europe & Russia by N Wheatley. Helm, 2000.

    Don’t know which country/countries/regions to visit in Europe? Then it may be worth considering taking a look at this book, written by this website’s author. It is many years old of course but it still provides a starting point, an overview and a guiding light to the best birds and the best places to look for them in the region, and could save hours of searching for similar information on the internet. However, it is important to check more up-to-date sources for sites which have been opened up, sites and species which have been discovered, lodges that have been built etc. since the book was published.

    Trip Reports for the Scottish Highlands and Mull

    Many trip reports, some for the Scottish Highlands and Mull, are posted on the websites listed here. On some of these websites some reports are independent and some are posted by tour companies who organize tours to the Scottish Highlands and Mull. These tour companies and others also post their own reports on their websites, which are listed under 'Some Organized Tours to the Scottish Highlands and Mull' below.

    Local Guides and Tours in the Scottish Highlands and Mull

    The costs of organized tours partly reflect the quality of the tour leaders. Some leaders are certainly better than others and many companies claim their leaders are the best but even the best rely at least to some extent on the exceptional skills of the local guides they employ. If you are travelling independently, employing such local guides will greatly increase your chances of seeing the wildlife you wish to see.

    Accommodation in the Scottish Highlands and Mull

    Some Organized Tours to the Scottish Highlands and Mull

    There are many tour companies who organize tours to see mammals, birds, other wildlife and other natural wonders. The cost of these tours vary considerably according to such variables as the airlines used, the number of days the tours last, the number of sites visited, the number of people in the group (an important consideration if you wish to see such wildlife as rainforest mammals and birds), the number of tour leaders, the standard of accommodation and transport, and the percentage profit the company hopes to make. Generally, where the number of days tours last and the number of sites visited are similar, the cheapest tours are those that use the cheapest airlines, accommodation and local transport, that have the largest groups with the least number of leaders, and that make the least amount of profit. The most expensive tours tend to be those which are exceptionally long, use the most expensive accommodation (ridiculously lavish in some cases, even for single nights) and which make the most profit. Some tour costs partly reflect the quality of the tour leaders. Some leaders are certainly better than others and many companies claim their leaders are the best but even the best rely at least to some extent on the exceptional skills of the local guides they employ.

    While tour companies organize tours with set itineraries many also organize custom tours for individuals and private groups who instead of taking a tour with a set itinerary want to follow their own itinerary to suit their own personal tastes, whether it be mammals, birds, other wildlife, other natural wonders or even man-made attractions, or a mixture of them all. Many organized tours with set itineraries are also fast-paced and target as many species as possible, whether they are mammals, birds or other wildlife or everything, which usually leaves little time to enjoy the best sites and individual species, but on a custom tour those taking part can specify the pace and the sites and species they wish to concentrate on. Custom tours also suit people who like to travel with people they already know, rather than with a group of strangers, and they are popular with people with partners with different interests. Individuals, partners and small groups will almost certainly have to pay more for a custom tour than an organized tour with a set itinerary but a large group of friends may be able to travel for less than the price quoted for a set tour.

    Tour companies who run organized tours to the Scottish Highlands and Mull include the following. Many of these also offer custom tours.