Birding and Wildlife

There is a huge variety of wildlife, marine life, birds, flowers and plants which you may see on your trip.

Our memorable encounters with cetaceans are a special feature of our cruises – Basking Sharks, that gentle giant of the sea – charismatic Bottlenose Dolphins – incredible bow-riding White-beaked & Common Dolphins – breathtaking encounters with Humpback & Fin Whale in the Minch – Harbour Porpoises usually swimming solo – Minke Whales, their curved backs our usual tantalising view of these ocean wanderers – awe-inspiring experiences with our resident Orca pod – distinctive Risso’s Dolphins, a rare treat – & although not a cetacean, the equally amazing Sunfish, a unique denizen of deep waters.

Our mammals often allow a privileged glimpse into their lives & we’ve been lucky to witness – fascinating & charismatic Otters – both Brown & Mountain Hares – our incredibly cute native Red Squirrel – Common & Grey Seals gathering in sheltered waters or hauled out onto rocky islets, with females returning to breeding grounds in autumn – our elusive & agile Pine Marten – Red Deer herds, the spine-tingling roaring of the stags drawing the season to a close – unique Soay Sheep on St Kilda – feral Wild Goats – & last but not least, except maybe in size, the endemic St Kilda Field Mouse.

Scotland’s flora bursts into spectacular life in the spring & summer & we’ve recorded – many species of rare and distinctive Orchids – a haze of Bluebells – spectacular carpets of wildflowers on the Machair – with a supporting cast of species such as Grass of Parnassus, Thrift, Spring Squill, insectivorous Sundews & Butterwort, Devil’s Bit Scabius, Eyebright, Campion, Primroses & Cuckooflowers of particular interest to botanists

The dark skies we experience on board are always spectacular as the Hebrides are blessed with little or no light pollution. So each clear night we have a chance of the unbelievably bright Milky Way, coupled with meteor showers if we’re blessed with good timing & while the Northern Lights aren’t guaranteed, we’ve been lucky usually later in the season.

Follow the links on the right and below to see and read more:

Or go to our galleries to view images of:

  • gallery of bird photographs with separate galley of picturesque puffins
  • gallery (mainly four legged) land mammals like highland cows and red deer. Land-based, warm-blooded and normally with four legs, these mammals come in all sorts of sheeps, er, shapes, and sizes.
  • gallery of wildlife you’ll mostly never see though it’s all around – undersea marine life  What’s underneath the surface of the Hebridean sea? With troughs in coastal waters deeper than 1000 metres (well over ½ a mile) it’s not surprising there is such a diversity of species. The photos were taken by our diving guests.

We hope to have encounters with a wide variety of cetaceans, birds and mammals, undisturbed in their natural habitats. You don’t need to be any kind of expert to enjoy these encounters. The skipper’s knowledge is abundant and ever-increasing and many of our guests are a wonderful source of information too.

Our aim is to offer rewarding experiences which have a low-impact on the environment. We are WiSe (wildlife safe) accredited and we follow a strict Code of Conduct when it comes to human interaction with the natural environment striving to balance the needs and wants of our customers with the realities of the places we visit, some of which are fragile, wild locations.

What our customers say

Much friendlier than we thought it would be. We always felt safe. Good food. A great holiday!

Tessa F, Birmingham


A small bothy on Stac Lee was formerly used by St Kilda fowlers. It is big enough to accommodate two people and is dry inside.