The Smiddy
High-end quality self-catering accommodation with stunning views on Waternish Isle of Skye

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Wildlife
Waternish Mammals     
Birds  Plants

 Waternish has an interesting mammal fauna. Until the Isle of Skye bridge was opened in October 1995, Skye, a component of the Inner Hebridean Islands, was isolated from mainland Scotland by the sea.

Over the centuries, various native mammals have made the crossing to Skye, including Waternish, either deliberately, or by accident. Such animals include the red fox, red deer and roe deer. As an aside, the red deer is Britainís largest land mammal, and the pygmy shrew, our smallest   ~   both of them occur in Waternish   ~   but no prizes for guessing which is the easiest to see!

Other mammals, now present and well established here, were introduced by Man   ~   these include the rabbit, brown hare, and hedgehog. More recent introductions include the mole, now common in the north of the island, including Waternish, and the very unwelcome American mink.

Deer and red fox are very common and widespread in Skye, including Waternish, largely thanks to the extensive conifer plantations that now exist in Skye   ~   ideal habitat for such animals.

The Skye bridge has facilitated the arrival of other species too: the pine marten, an inquisitive mammal at the best of times, soon took the opportunity to cross over the new bridge and colonise southern Skye. They havenít quite reached Waternish yet but one animal got very close. It must surely be just a matter of time before the pine marten is also fully resident here in Waternish   ~   but it will be a mixed blessing. Pine martens are delightful creatures but, at the same time, they can be very destructive and will not hesitate to help themselves to any ducks and hens that havenít been securely locked up at night.

There is one more main element to the Waternish mammal component   ~   the aquatic element. A glance at the map will show that Waternish is a peninsula which is almost totally surrounded by water, mostly sea. Furthermore, being situated along the northern coastal fringe of Skye, we are well placed to see whales and dolphins that people further inland would not be likely to see.

It is pointless to list all the potential sea mammal species that one might see around the Waternish coast from time to time, but to give a realistic flavour of what one might hope to see during the course of a year, let us begin with the common or harbour seal and harbour porpoise   ~   both these mammals can be seen around Waternish at all times of the year, but are easier to spot if the water is calm.

Otters are resident around the Waternish coast, and in local rivers, as they are elsewhere in Skye. However, otters are generally shy and elusive and seldom seen by the casual observer. Nonetheless, there is always a chance of being lucky, especially if walking quietly along the coastline during an early morning or late evening stroll.

During summer months, common dolphins, perhaps a hundred, or more, at a time can sometimes be seen splashing and leaping about in the local sea lochs. If the fishing is good, they may remain in the local lochs for several hours. Bottle-nose dolphins and killer whales are also seen from The Smiddy occasionally.

And finally, during summer months, when the water is warmer, minke whales patrol up and down the west coast of Skye   ~   and frequently enter the larger sea lochs, such as Loch Dunvegan. Local boat trips, or a walk out to a headland, such as Waternish point, will significantly increase your chances of seeing one of these magnificent creatures.

 

 
 

For bookings and further information please contact:

Carmen Meier
Telephone:  0044 (0)1470 592375
Email:   carmen@waternishsmiddy.co.uk


   
 
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