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Otters are carnivorous mammals in the subfamily Lutrinae.The 13 extant otter species are all semiaquatic, aquatic or marine, with diets based on fish and invertebrates.Lutrinae is a branch of the Mustelidae family, which also includes weasels, badgers, mink, and wolverines, among other animals. Otters breed all year round and you are as likely to see one in the depths of winter as you are at the height of summer. They like to clean off in fresh water. Otters are only occasionally seen in fresh water here, and it is just offshore near seaweed covered rocks where you will most likely see one. Iconic Ben Nevis needs to be top of your Scottish to-do list. Specialist one-to-one guiding service for photographers looking to photograph wild otters – undoubtedly one of the most sought after, challenging and ultimately rewarding subjects for wildlife photographers in Britain. These gentle summer visitors feed entirely on plankton – their feeding method is to glide slowly along the surface with their enormous mouths open. Where to see otters in Scotland Practically half of Scotland’s otter population can be found around the coastline, especially the west coast. You can watch them diving headlong into the water at speed in a truly impressive spectacle! They often feed in shallower water and come close to land. Otters seen We operate under a schedule 2 License authorized by Scottish Natural Heritage. 2014 (@sevenseasoffreedom) on Jan 7, 2017 at 2:18pm PST. Special arrangements can be made for slightly larger groups for families or experienced wildlife watchers travelling together. Here on Mull, the otter hunts during the day and he is more governed by the state of the tide, than whether it is morning or night. They can be found all around Scotland between May and October, but a few of them will remain here year-round. The Shetland Islands, far to the north of mainland Britain - it’s one of the best places in Europe to see wild otters. Mothers tend to make their first appearances above ground with young cubs in autumn and so the winter offers a wonderful insight into family life. A totally unique holiday dedicated to otters, led by otter addicts – for otter addicts! Rocky shorelines are best, also look for a fresh water stream emerging into the Sea. Sharing our knowledge on the families we study, their ecology and behaviour along the shores they inhabit is immensely gratifying. No matter what happens, you know you’re going to have a good day when you’re with him.Doug Allan – Wildlife Cameraman. Knowing when, where and how to look for these wonderful little mammals is essential, not just for the observer experience but more importantly to avoid disturbance. A holiday itinerary dedicated to otters and those who adore them! Minke whales are very distinctive looking, and grow to 8 – 8.5 meters long on average. They are scavengers, but also hunt for fish, rabbits and seabirds. Today, the species is flourishing across Scotland, and recovering well across the UK as waterways are cleaned up. Just about every mile of Mull’s coastline could be home to otters.Look for them where you see seaweed and rocks, as this is where they tend to find their prey. Through the shortened hours of daylight their foraging activity tends to be condensed, which maximises opportunities. I could watch this wee otter family all day. You can see them in/around most clean lochs and rivers but I’ve only spotted a few in my whole life anywhere other than the west coast. The best thing to do is find a likely spot or a place where they are seen and settle down to watch and wait! The wildlife expert was delighted to see the otter swim by just as he was setting up, what followed was hours of filming with the curious little creature happy to be the star of the show. One of the best ways to see marine wildlife in Scotland in any season is to take a guided tour by experts on our marine animals and birds, vastly increasing your chances of a sighting. Just in time for Mother's Day we have added 2 RIBS this weekend. But don't mistakenly call these beasts 'sea otters' – they are still our native otter, and not the different North American sea otter. Still a few limited spaces left on our shark trips this season. Although, do be sure to take an accredited boat tour for the wellbeing and safety of the (often curious) sea animals. As a European protected species, the otter is fully protected under the Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 1994 (as amended).. You can see our summary of offences in relation to this protected species below. Otters are undoubtedly one of, if not Shetland’s most popular wildlife attraction. It is found throughout Scotland in a range of habitats where there is freshwater. We ensure the otters well being comes first at all times. Each season offers a new and exciting perspective. https://www.scotlandguides.org/about-otters-in-scotland.html This holiday profiles one of Britain’s most loved, captivating and admired mammals, led by well known otter guides. Loch Lomond, The Trossachs, Stirling & Forth Valley. Some of the best places to see dolphins include: The largest bird in the UK, the impressive white tailed sea eagle has a wingspan of 2.5 metres on average, and stands at almost a meter tall! Read more about Shetland Otter Watching Experience. Otters are largely solitary, semi-aquatic mammals that get most of their food from … Some of the best places to see orcas include: These sleek and eye-catching sea birds migrate to Scotland in early spring to spend the summer raising their young here. #shark #baskingshark #sharks #swimming #snorkelling #freediving #wildlife #wildlifetour #tour #trip #boattrip #holiday #bucketlist #experience #scotland #oban #argyll #hebrides #west #coast #atlantic #baskingsharkscotland #adventure #explore #outdoors #nature #blueplanet, A post shared by Basking Shark Scotland (@baskingsharkscotland) on Jun 21, 2019 at 12:02pm PDT. This alone makes it one of the best places in Europe to see otters. Juvenile minke whales can be very inquisitive and may approach boats, so please make sure to view them with accredited operators. You can actually see them across most of Scotland, although you’ll have a much better chance of seeing them up north or on the west coast/western isles. Read more about The Shetland Otter Experience. Some of the best places to see otters include: Dolphins are very intelligent and playful creatures – they are always fascinating and engaging to watch! For the best chance of spotting an otter, head to Scotland, the west coast of Wales, East Anglia and South-West Endland. They can sometimes be spotted on the rocks, feeding or grooming, or in amongst the seaweed on the shoreline, resting.Their seaweed-coloured coats camouflage them, so it is possible to walk past a snoozing otter even when it is only a short distance away. Putting their well being before our desires is imperative at all times to ensure they are not disturbed. Please be sure to accurately let us know your physical ability. – – Let us know what you see if you’re out and about along the west coast this weekend, and don’t forget to tag @hebrideanwhaletrail – – – – – – – #hebrideanwhaletrail #hwdt #wildlifewatching #whalewatching #scotlandhighlands #scotlandisnow #guardiantravelsnaps #bbcscotlandpics #natureblogger #scotland_ig #hiddenscotland #wildscotland #thisisscotland #visitscotland #lonelyplanet #getoutside #mylpguide #coastmagazine #scotsmagazine #calmac #isleofskyescotland, A post shared by Hebridean Whale Trail (@hebrideanwhaletrail) on Aug 16, 2019 at 12:03am PDT. The Scottish population is estimated to be around 8000 otters. It is important to note the sensitivities when planning otter tours and know that our Shetland otter experience is best suited for two to four people. I have seen them at ferry terminals, causeways and jetties on many occasions. Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, Focus on Otters – photography, ecology and fieldcraft, Educational insight into otter ecology and behaviour, Unrivalled up-to-date local knowledge of sites & environment, Peace of mind that you are also supporting otter conservation, Track & watch otters along Shetland’s beautiful unspoilt coastal wilderness, Brydon & Richard authors of acclaimed book ‘, Go-to team for TV productions for otters inc BBC’s Springwatch, Countryfile, One Show. Find more advice on exploring Scotland during Covid-19 on our dedicated page. Expert local knowledge, gifts and inspiration. It is with great passion and pride and through fellow ‘otter addict’ colleagues Richard Shucksmith, Josh Jaggard, John Moncrief and Gary Bell that we delight more visitors with otter encounters and experiences than any other tour company. Spend a day with us along some of our most beautiful remote stretches of shoreline where otters abound. In the Shetlands, as in the rest of Scotland, most otters live and feed off the sea. Video: Josie Nisbet, A post shared by CassidyⓋ and Megan – Est. Some of the best places to see puffins include: North Atlantic killer whales sighted from the shore in Reawick, Shetland (part of Scotland) during a sunset! Up to date local knowledge is essential to the experience we offer. Otters live along many of Scotland’s waterways, but head for the west coast and the islands for the best chance of spotting them.Choose Kylerhea otter hide near Clan Ewen of Otter claimed descent from Donnsleibhe, who was said to be a descendant of an Irish prince of the O'Neill dynasty named Ánrothán Ua Néill, who left Ireland for Kintyre in the 11th century. Here these usually shy and elusive animals live in close proximity to humans. Origin. Film: @lukesaddler . Check out our website for more details. This is a reputation that has developed around Brydon’s lifelong love of the islands otters spanning over 30 years. Isle of Mull Perhaps the most foolproof location for otters is the Isle of Mull. We visit and explore the most densely populated sites and habitats that otters inhabit around Shetland and share our knowledge of the otter families and individuals that belong to them. Throughout the seasons we know which sites are active and monitor the routines of families in particular to maximise our chances of maintaining the level of experience we offer. We spent 30 minutes watching a female with her two cubs full frame binocular view, diving, catching fish and taking them ashore to eat and playing on the shore. You’re best chance of spotting them is in Learn about their movements and daily routines; how and where to find them and how to read the signs and track them along our shores. Choosing to spend a day or two with an expert guide will offer unique and exclusive opportunities to watch otters in the wild, learn about their behaviour and search for the tracks and signs that reveal their presence. Sharing our knowledge on the families we study, their ecology and behaviour along the shores they inhabit is immensely gratifying. They stay ashore until they have been weaned and finished moulting in late December. We can however and often do put trips together for guests who would not feel suited to the above. I could watch this wee otter family all day. Generally speaking the sites we visit will involve coastal walks, usually of just two to three miles across low lying but often uneven terrain such as along the seashore. Simply magic. He has worked on and featured in or worked on over 15 TV productions as a consultant/guide, including BBC’s Springwatch, Countryfile and One Show featuring Shetland’s otters, and co-authored the acclaimed book ‘Otters in Shetland – the tale of the draatsi’ in 2015 with friend and SN colleague, Richard Shucksmith. Photo by otter photography client Richard Bennet. Jump to. Boat trips are an ideal way to see both marine animals and birds, where you’ll get a great view while causing minimal disruption to onshore breeding sites. Otters are protected by law in the UK. They can be more elusive to spot than some of our other marine wildlife, but are mostly sighted between May and August in the far north around the Shetland and Orkney islands, when they come inshore to hunt the common seals that are rearing their pups on beaches. Reply. Leading otter tours and working with them all year round is a true privilege. Scotland is one of the best places to see them as the biggest colony in Europe can be found on the Bass Rock, just offshore from North Berwick. There is potential to spot them on any wildlife boat tour, in the north or west of Scotland in particular. Even in Sullom Voe, one of the largest oil terminals in Europe. However, the smaller common (or harbour) seals are born onshore in June, thus mothers with pups can be spotted on beaches in summer. https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/news/watching-otters-in-scotland Head to Flagham Brook to find both otters and water voles among birds such as nightingale, tawny owl, woodpeckers, lapwing and snipe. Brydon Thomason with Doug Allan; one of the world’s best known wildlife cameramen, As he we explored stretches of shoreline where he knew the otter territories, Brydon patiently explained about heeding the wind direction, staying off the skyline, talking softly, how to look for the tell tale signs of the otter signs and holts. Through an unrivalled combination of our field experience, local knowledge and understanding of otters here in Shetland we are widely known as the islands leading otter tour specialists. The time to see adorable grey seal pups is when they are born onshore, between late September and late November. © 2021 VisitScotland. They are most active from evening till very early morning, breed all year round, and you might hear their playful ‘peep’ whistle before you see them. . Otters are regularly seen in Shetland, which has the highest density of otters anywhere in Europe, and possibly the world! Along with the thrill of seeing otters in their natural environment our tours are structured in a way that our guests learn about their fascinating lives and understand how, where and when to find and watch them responsibly. Up to da… Otters are widely known for their many endearing and fascinating attributes but just as much so is their shy and sensitive nature. Some of the best places to see sea eagles include: Seals can be seen year-round resting ashore on rocks between their deep-sea fishing trips. The everlasting summer sun and the beautiful Shetland simmer dim. Find out more on EU Exit information at NatureScot. I did some filming of Otters in Scotland, in the film you will see the male Dog Otter, and the female bitch Otter at play. In the wild, they tend to live between 5-10 years. Sitting at the northwest corner of the spectacular Cairngorms National Park, Aviemore is one of Scotland's most popular… Isle of Lewis, Isle of Harris & Stornoway, Where and when to see marine wildlife in Scotland, Kerrera island, the Inner Hebrides – Try a 2-hour boat trip round the island with, The Minch, between the Inner and Outer Hebridean islands – Try a 2-hour boat tour with, St Kilda – See this incredible island situated to the farthest reach of the Outer Hebrides with a day tour by, The Treshnish Islands, just west of the Isle of Mull –. See all of our listings for wildlife tours by boat, and be sure to select your chosen month for the most relevant options. We are an island country after all! Take the time to get up close to some of nature’s most incredible beings in their beautiful coastal and marine habitats, and experience awe-inspiring moments of connection with nature. We take our responsibility to otters along with our professionalism and reputation as leading otter guides very seriously, which is widely recognised through guest recommendations and the many film crews and Television documentaries we have worked on. To see an otters in the wild on the shores of Skye you simply need patience. Only 12 spaces on each RIB. Growing to around 6-8 meters, basking sharks are the second largest fish in the world! Book online at Seabird.org #northberwick #seabirdcentre #seabirddays #boattrip #mothersday #gifts #giftideas #lastminutegifts #lastminutegiftideas, A post shared by Scottish Seabird Centre (@seabirdcentre) on Mar 20, 2017 at 1:11pm PDT. Knots and other waders There are many affordable day trips on offer, starting from just £10 per adult! We also actively support The International Otter Survival Fund and make a donation from every guest on our Shetland Otter Experience Holiday packages as well as help out with any activities, events or promotions as and when we can. The island is known for appearing white due to the sheer number of birds and their droppings! A rare but widespread animal, now found almost throughout the country, but absent from parts of central and southern England, the Isle of Man, the Isles of Scilly and the Channel Islands. Why not stay in a castle, a lighthouse or on a working farm? There is no change to the protection of European protected species as a result of EU Exit. They became extinct in the UK in 1918, but thanks to successful reintroduction programmes, they are now thriving in several hotspots! You can now search our website to see what businesses are open and signed up to the Good to Go scheme. Try a scuba diving tour with Basking Shark Scotland around Oban, from just £45 per adult. The good news is: just about everywhere! That said, otters are very shy animals! When is the best time to see otters? Along with the thrill of seeing otters in their natural environment our tours are structured in a way that our guests learn about their fascinating lives and understand how, where and when to find and watch them responsibly. Copyright © 2007 - 2021 Shetland Nature Limited. https://www.visitscotland.com/blog/wildlife/marine-life-when-where They can be spotted rearing their chicks in cliff-top burrows from late March to late August on numerous cliff tops around Scotland. From puffins to orcas, Scotland has no shortage of fascinating marine life. The largest colony is found on the remote bird-haven isle of St Kilda. There are healthy populations of both bottlenose and common dolphins in Scotland, and they are quite easy to spot, particularly from small islands on the west coast. We study Otters all year round and our working lives essentially revolve around them and the rhythms of the tides that their daily routines follow. The species that is found in Scotland is the European Otter (Lutra lutra) part of the weasel family, which grow to a size of 3 foot in length. If you’re feeling brave, the most memorable way to see these sharks in Scotland is to get in the water and swim with them! Their diet is predominantly based on fish, however they also eat frogs, toads, crabs and some small birds. "Otters are now found in watercourses throughout the country and it is especially cheering to see them thriving in the heart of our major urban areas. . We run otter watching experiences all year round and are proud to delight more visitors with otter encounters than any other and hope we can do the same for you. A percentage of each guest we take out on our otter watching day tours is donated to support The Hillswick Wildlife Sanctuary who care for and rehabilitate otters and also seals. Skye and the Isle of Mull, within the Inner Hebrides, are good spots for otter watching as is Shetland to the north. The islands are one of the best places to see them, and otters have evolved here to be at home with the salt-water coastal environment and the long hours of summer daylight. Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice. It’s estimated that there are 8,000 living in Scotland. I’ve worked with many guides while filming, and I could see he had real sensitivity and all the patience. Shetland has the highest density of otters in Europe and probably one of the best-studied populations in the UK. 3. A rare video has captured an otter hunting and eating his breakfast in Holyrood Park.. Some of the best places to see seals include: In spring, these absolutely adorable yet hardy little birds return to Scotland to breed at their favourite nesting spots. Otters live along the seashore and in rivers or lochs, more commonly in the north or west coast. They eat a huge variety of things such as small fish and frogs. Orcas, also known as killer whales, are actually the largest member of the dolphin family. Other sea lochs along Scotland's west coast are similarly rich in otters, which can be seen foraging for food on the water's edge. Sometimes it would just be a brief glimpse, but then on a couple of occasions that were really special. You’re also likely to see more than one type of animal when you take a tour. Knowing this and how to watch them without revealing our presence to them is essential. The video, shot by a Holyrood Park ranger yesterday morning (Monday August 3) shows the creature catching food in Dunsapie Loch. Here’s our guide on where and when to see Scotland’s marine wildlife. In this video oliver is on the Isle of Mull in Scotland looking at where and how to see wild otters. On the west coast are myriad Inner Hebridean islands from Canna and Colonsay to Tiree and the Treshnish Islands, each unique and visually stunning.The Isle of Mull, and the adjacent mainland, are excellent places to watch otters, white-tailed and golden eagles and some of Scotland’s tamest puffins on the Treshnish Islands. Leading otter tours and working with them all year round is a true privilege. The afternoon slipped by effortlessly. With five full days of otter tracking time and evening discussions and presentations all on otters – this holiday provides an unrivalled insight into the lives of otters. Rest assured no one will try harder or with more passion or enthusiasm. These incredibly intelligent animals live and hunt together in family pods. Want to get this close? They can be seen throughout the year, although they may be more visible in the spring and summer when the sea is calm. Cricklepit Mill (Devon Wildlife Trust) An urban site with easy access and regular … You know the great thing about Brydon? See the Scottish Marine Wildlife Watching code for more information on how to minimise disruption of Scotland's marine life. They are also occasionally spotted around the Hebridean islands. What a treat! Some of the best places to see minke whales include: Very obliging of this basking shark to indicate it was turning left before it passed in front of my camera! Mainland Scotland is in Level 4, where by law, you can only leave your home (or garden) if you have a reasonable excuse. Holyrood is home to a number of species including otters, owls and pheasants as well as the usual park staples like ducks, swans, crows and squirrels. Be one of the first to head out to the Bass this season! . All rights reserved. 50% of Scotland's Otters are Coastal Inhabitants - Hence The Name "Sea Otters " 50% of Scotland's otters are of a coastal variety - otters that feed almost exclusively in the sea, which is why they are often referred to as "sea otters", yet really they are the same animals that inhabit freshwaters further inland. Sometimes I wouldn't see them at all. Some of the best places to see gannets include: It’s Friday and this amazing capture from @mattwaterston should put a smile on your face; a minke whale breaching against the dramatic Cuillins of Skye. 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