Wildlife

Isle of ArranGeology
Red Squirrel

Arran abounds in interesting, diverse, flora and fauna, or, as an estate agent might say – there’s a wealth of wildlife. It’s an ornithologist’s paradise, a botanist’s heaven, a biologist’s nirvana. The distinct geology, of course, provides many habitats for many species; Golden Eagles and Red Deer in the rugged mountainous North. The South of the island is more gentle with its topography, there is more farmland and more woodland providing shelter for Red Squirrels (there are no Grey Squirrels on Arran), Otters and Barn Owls; and Hen Harriers on Machrie Moor and at the top of the Ross Road, in fact, the largest population of Hen Harriers in the Kingdom.

There are no foxes on the island, which might account for the rich variety of over 200 species of birds, although predatory feral mink and cats do some damage to the bird population. On the crossing from Ardrossan you’ll have the chance to see about 30 different kinds of seabirds. Here are a few to watch for, both from the ferry and on land at the other side:

Golden Eagle

Golden Eagle

Manx Shearwater

Manx Shearwater

Hen Harrier

Hen Harrier

Puffin

Puffin

Sea birds:
  • Gannets
  • Puffins
  • Guillemot and Black Guillemot
  • Red-throated divers
  • Kittiwakes
  • Cormorants
  • Shags
  • Eider Ducks
  • Lesser and Great Black-backed Gulls
  • Herring Gulls
  • Red-breasted Merganser
  • Razorbills
  • Herons
  • Greylag Geese
  • Manx Shearwaters
  • Fulmars
  • Oystercatchers
  • Waders
  • Ringed Plovers
  • Goosanders
  • Turnstones
  • Great Northern Divers (Loons)
Land birds:
  • Golden Eagles
  • Buzzards
  • Kestrels
  • Sparrowhawks
  • Hen Harriers
  • Short-eared Owls
  • Nightjars
  • Warblers
  • Spotted Flycatchers
  • Blackcaps
  • Songthrush
  • Siskin
  • Bullfinch
  • Tawny Owls
  • Redshanks
  • Curlews
  • Shelducks
  • Rock Doves

To name but a few...

Marine Mammals

Common Seals, Grey Seals, Dolphins, Porpoise, Basking Sharks and Minke Whales: all can be seen in the seas around Arran.

Dolphins

Dolphins

Basking Seals

Basking Seals

Basking Shark

Basking Shark

Minke Whale

Minke Whale

The Isle of Arran Wildlife Festival

The Arran Wildlife Festival takes place every year during Mid-May.

As you will know if you've perused other pages on our site, Arran is one of the most accessible and spectacular of all west coast islands. It can be reached in just under an hour from the mainland - and less than two hours from Glasgow. It is home to some of Scotland's most iconic wildlife from the majestic golden eagle, to the imposing red deer - and a UK stronghold of one of our rarest birds of prey, the beautiful hen harrier. Its waters are a haven for seals, porpoises, basking sharks and even dolphins - and during the first Arran Wildlife Festival, we aim to bring you closer to some of these amazing creatures with four days packed with events.

For more information on the walks, wildlife safaris and boat trips, family event, talks and films, please visit the festival website at www.arranwildlife.co.uk

Isle of ArranGeology