WE'VE just come back from a wonderful week on the Isle of Skye. There were many highlights and breath taking moments...the variety and accessibility of the charismatic wildlife is outstanding and the landscape is truly stunning.
|Neist Point lighthouse at sunset|
|Skye from the Ferry crossing looking back to Kylerhea|
We went for a number of walks to see specific beauty spots or sometimes to chase down those special species. One walk was a circuit of the Greshornish peninsula NW of Edinbane running into the Loch Snizort (great name!) on the SE foot of the Waternish Peninsula. We only met one couple all day. I was hoping to see an otter and only found a possible spraint, but whilst eating lunch we had an even better wildlife spot. I thought that the fin out at sea belonged to a dolphin, but the animal did seem rather large. When I returned back to our holiday cottage and looked on the web I realised that what we had watched and photographed was a Minke whale - how exciting is that. We did hear it blowing which was a bit of a whaley thing to do but the position and shape of the fin was the give away.
|Ferry going into Uig|
The end of the peninsula was very secluded and scenic with great views of the island to the north (see above). A delightful and trusting male wheatear (with female) was bobbing around in the sunshine.
|Jelly fish - a common sight in the sea|
|Lungwort on the trees - a lichen indicating clean air|
|Dunvegan peninsula looking west|
|View from Upper Edinbane looking west from our front window|
Neist Point is a great place to see cetaceans. There were reports of 40 basking sharks on the day before we went, so I was very excited at the prospect of seeing this species for the first time - I was not disappointed. Although the conditions were not great a number of individuals came up very close to the shore - I could hardly contain myself!!!
The gannets were a good give away of shoals of fish, and shoals of fish often mean dolphins and whales. Sure enough we did see another probable Minke whale.
|Gannet having dived about to take off|
At the capital town of Portree boats take you out to see sea-life. with the highlight being the white-tailed eagles. These have been reintroduced following their extinction at the hand of man. They are breeding and doing quite well. They are pretty huge with a 8 foot wing span...
|Shags and Portree|
During our visit I was constantly pleased to see rich moorland with heather flowering profusely, especially where grazing pressure is lower. Also the sward is rich with meadow species such a black-knapweed and devil-bit scabious, as shown below. There are many other interesting plants too, but to see these we will need to return earlier in the year - we definitely plan to do this; maybe next time I will see more than the very quick glimpse of an otter that this visit offered...