Wildlife holidays in Argyll
The Grey Gull Inn is located in an area rich with wildlife.
Otters can occasionally be seen on the shoreline in front of the hotel, porpoises and even dolphins can be spotted on our doorstep, and in the summer months it’s a joy to watch gannets diving, along with a large variety of other seabirds.
The Forestry Commission has numerous local walks and visitors centres. These include the following trails which are only a short drive from the Grey Gull Inn.
Red squirrels, pine marten, roe deer, badgers, bats, and foxes are just some of the mammals that you might see on this trail. Buzzards, tawny owls, black grouse, great spotted woodpeckers, tree creepers are amongst the birds to be spotted.
If you are quiet and up early there are many interesting mammals that can be seen around Dunardry including red deer, roe deer, pine marten and fox. As well as many usual woodland bird species golden eagles, osprey and heron can occasionally be seen.
Red squirrel, red deer and roe deer live here. The shore is ideal otter habitat.
Barnluasgan Visitor Center
Provides the ideal starting point for walks and cycling in the famous “knap and dale” landscape of this National Scenic Area. Barnluasgan serves as the gateway to Knapdale and all its wildlife viewing opportunities, not least the newly reintroduced European Beaver. The all-ability improved access Wildlife Trail beside the Loch at Barnluasgan is ideal for accompanied wheelchair users and families with young children. Knapdale is full of historic and archaeological sites: the ancient Castle Dounie, Arichonan Township or the ruins of the water mill at Kilmory Oib are evidence of man’s past in Knapdale. Both the freshwater and sea lochs of Knapdale are a haven for wildlife. Seals, otters and porpoises can often be seen from the shores of Loch Sween or the Sound of Jura. Information on all this can be found in the visitor centre.
For more information, visit www.forestry.gov.uk
Loch Gruinart, Islay
The RSPB reserve of Loch Gruinart on Islay is worth a visit at any time of the year. In spring, hundreds of breeding waders (curlews, lapwings, redshanks and snipe) can be seen on the reserve. The first call of the corncrake is often heard from mid-May onwards. Hunting birds of prey such as hen harriers and golden eagles can be seen all year round. Loch Gruinart is a favourite refuge for wintering Greenland white-fronted and barnacle geese. Habitats include sea-loch, saltmarsh, wetland, farmland and moorland. Parts of the nature reserve can be seen easily from the road, allowing birdwatching from the car. There is a visitor centre, hide and viewing platform. www.rspb.org.uk
Machrihanish Seabird & Wildlife Observatory
Machrahanish Bird Sanctuary Arctic Terns.This is open daily from Easter to October inclusive. In Spring and Summer, breeding birds of the area include Shelduck, Eider, Golden Eagle, Peregrine, Sparrow hawk, Buzzard, Ringed Plover, Oystercatcher, Common Sandpiper, Arctic Tern, Barn Owl, Wheatear, Rock Pipit, Raven, Twite etc.
Bottlenose Dolphin can be seen frequently, whilst Basking Shark are now infrequent. In Autumn and Winter, Manx Shearwaters & Kittiwakes (often with attendant Arctic Skuas) are usually present in large numbers along with Razorbills & Guillemots.
Regular migrant waders include Knot, Sanderling, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, Black & Bar-tailed Godwits, Redshank, Greenshank & Whimbrel.
Visit early morning for a good chance to find Otter & a good variety of seabirds (including the occasional Puffin) & shorebirds (including Ruddy Turnstone & Purple Sandpiper). www.machrihanishbirdobservatory.org.uk