Wildlife and Nature

Moorland, bog, mixed woodland, forestry plantations, lochs, hills tidal shores and rivers, as well as farmland and grazings, contribute to the great diversity of wild flowers, as well as ferns, sedges, mosses, lichens and fungi.

The Kyle and Loch Fleet  provides feeding and breading grounds for water birds and waders. Rivers and lochs, forestry plantations and the few areas of mixed woodlands all supply food and shelter for the many resident species, and migrants which come here to breed. As winter comes many birds leave for the South. In turn, others move in, such as geese, whooper swans, goldeneye, fieldfare and redwing.

In the height of summer, red deer are likely to be elusive, with the stags high on the hills and the hinds with calves in remote glens. In autumn,  when stags round up the hinds, their roaming can be heard from the hills. Sika deer are now widespread, darker in coat and smaller than the red deer and the much smaller roe deer are present in the woods.  Foxes thrive on the plentiful rabbits.

On the moors there are mountain hares which, like the stoats, grow a white coat in winter. Unfortunately the red squirrel seems to be declining in numbers.  Seals frequent the tidal waters, and otters may also be seen on the waterways.

In the many rivers there are Atlantic salmon, brown and sea trout, eels, lampreys and sticklebacks.  In the Moray Firth there Bottlenose Dolphins, Harbour porpoise and Minke Whale.