WILDLIFE OF RAASAY
A home to a wide range of wildlife
Raasay has a rich diversity of habitats – from moorland, forest, fresh and sea water to coastal cliffs, rocky shoreline and skies. This, and the warming effect of the Gulf Stream, is reflected in the abundance of different species to be found in a small area so far north.
The island sustains a rich variety of wildlife. Raasay is a haven for sea eagles, otters, deer, sea birds, bats, the Raasay vole, and much, much more.
THE COAST & SEA
Otters are most easily spotted on Suisnish shore near the cattle grid and down at Fearns Beach. Oystercatchers, curlews, waders, red-throated and northern divers can be spotted on the lochs and rocky shoreline. Shags and cormorants can frequently be seen both in the water and resting on rocks, wings spread enjoying the sun. Arctic terns nest on Eyre beach.
Seals are plentiful and particularly easy to see next to Brochel beach in the early evening.
Look out for heronries at the tip of Borodale Woods, alongside The Avenue and at the edge where the woods of the Ardhuish meet the shore of Clachan Bay.
Dolphins can be seen regularly from the ferry and porpoise can often be seen in Loch Arnish. If you are lucky, basking sharks and whales along with an amazing array of jellyfish, such as lion’s mane and compass, can be spotted in the summer months.
Find out what has been spotted along our shores on the Hebridean Whale & Dolphin Trust website.
ON LAND & IN THE SKY
Bats are easy to spot around the steading on the road up from the ferry terminal and along the road to Oscaig in the early evening. These are usually common pipistrelle bats or, if you are lucky, the rare brown long-eared bat, thought to be the most north-westerly population in the UK. The brown long-eared bat is a key indicator species and was found in Borodale House which is now home to the Isle of Raasay Distillery.
Although said to be home to breeding mountain hares, the last sighting of one was a few years ago towards the north of the island.
In around October, you can hear the stags roar during the rut, especially on the path from Fearns to Hallaig. Deer can be seen on the road to Fearns in the early evening.
Sea eagles are frequently seen at Oscaig, Dun Caan, Brochel Loch and at Hallaig.
The Raasay vole roams all over the island; a subspecies of the bank vole, it is darker and heavier than the mainland variety.
HAVE YOU EVER?
Have you ever seen the forest floor?
Beautiful bugs, wonderful woodlouse and much, much more.
Bonnie birds singing their wonderful tunes, the graceful deer light footed in the blooms, creaking giants all around, lots more things to be found.
Yes! This is a peaceful place,
life is all about the pace.
By Alexander, Raasay Primary School
Isle of Raasay
Raasay.com is managed by Raasay Development Trust (RDT) on behalf of the Raasay community.
Photos credits: Calum Gillies :: David Carslaw :: Hannah Moore :: Copywriting: Linsay MacLean