Regular sightings of deer, pine martens, eagles and otters either from our properties or when out exploring the estate.

Wildlife at Kingairloch

The Morvern peninsula is one of the most sparsely populated areas in the British Isles amounting to great landmasses that have hardly been touched by modern living. Often described as “the best kept secret in Scotland”, the peninsula is a wonderful place for people to discover the rich wildlife found on our doorstep. Kingairloch is home to a wide range of animals, birds and flora throughout the year, with the winter months often having the most wildlife sightings.

We are extremely fortunate with the range of creatures at Kingairloch. Please observe our wildlife respectfully from a distance and minimise disturbance where possible.

Red Deer

Perhaps the most celebrated of all Scottish mammals, the red deer is also the largest and one of the most populous. Stags and hinds live in separate herds for much of the year but come together rather vocally each Autumn in the breeding season, or rut. The glens come alive this time of year with the stags bellowing across at each other, a sound like no other! A stag may mate with up to twenty hinds in a given year. Calves are born in June.

When to see this species: Year Round

Wild Goats

The feral goats are frequently spotted between Kingairloch and Kilmalieu, often on the cliff edges or eating seaweed on the shore. No two animals look the same, given the tremendous variety in coat colours and lengths. In some instances you may smell them before setting eyes on them! Mating takes place in late Autumn and kids are generally born into the chilly climes of January. Wild goats live together in herds, often in relatively large numbers.

When to see this species: Year Round

Phill Boyd Otter


Spotting these shy creatures usually requires luck or patience, and definitely stillness and silence. Look out for signs (such as droppings, known as spraint, or webbed footprints in the sand) and keep a close eye on still water in the early morning or evening. Picture taken by Phill Boyd at Kingairloch. 

When to see this species: Year Round

Pine Marten

One of the hardest Scottish mammals to spot in the wild (primarily due to its nocturnal habits), this sleek woodland predator pops up around Kingairloch quite regularly.

When to see this species: Year Round


The seal can be best observed along the rugged coastlines and remote shores of this breathtaking region. Look out for seals during low tide when they often bask on exposed rocks or sandy beaches, taking advantage of the sun’s warmth. Keep a watchful eye while embarking on coastal walks, as these curious mammals may appear in the waters or poke their heads above the surface. Seals are known for their playful nature, so be prepared to witness them frolicking and diving gracefully in their aquatic habitat. Picture taken by Phill Boyd at Kingairloch. 

When to see this species: During the low tide periods

Scottish Wildcat

Can you catch a glimpse of this rare Scottish Wildcat? The elusive and endangered Scottish Wildcat is a true gem of our wilderness, often referred to as the Highland Tiger but patience and a keen eye are essential, as these wildcats blend seamlessly into their environment. With its robust and muscular build, the Scottish Wildcat has a thick, bushy tail with distinctive black rings and a blunt, black tip. Its dense fur is a rich brown and grey with bold, black stripes, making it well-camouflaged in the forested and rugged landscapes it calls home. These solitary and nocturnal predators are incredibly shy, often avoiding human contact, which makes spotting one a thrilling and rare experience. They primarily hunt small mammals, such as rabbits and voles, and can be seen patrolling their territory at dusk and dawn. The Scottish Wildcat’s keen senses and stealthy nature aid in its elusive reputation.

When to see this species: Year Round, with increased chances at dawn and dusk.


The fox, a captivating denizen of the Scottish highlands, epitomizes both beauty and elusiveness. To catch a glimpse of this elusive marvel, one must embark on a patient and observant journey. The golden hours of dawn and dusk offer the best opportunities, as the fox emerges from its secretive den to explore the landscape. Silence and stillness become paramount, as keen eyes scan the underbrush and open meadows for fleeting movements.

When to see this species: During dawn and dusk


The porpoise, a captivating marine mammal of the Scottish highlands, can be encountered along the coastal waters of this stunning region. Keep watch as you explore the shoreline, as porpoises gracefully surface and glide through the waves. With patience and an appreciation for the wonders of the sea, you may be rewarded with the delightful sight of porpoises, adding to the rich tapestry of marine life in the Scottish highlands. This photo was provided by Coastal Connections, who offer private covered and comfortable boat charters exploring rugged coastline while viewing Scottish wildlife.

When to see this species: During calm and clear weather conditions

White-Tailed Eagle

The white-tailed eagle offers a thrilling spectacle for nature enthusiasts. With its impressive wingspan and distinctive white tail feathers, the sea eagle commands attention in the sky. Early mornings and late afternoons provide optimal viewing opportunities, as the sea eagle hunts for fish and navigates its vast domain. Embrace patience and a keen sense of observation, for it is within these moments that you may witness the awe-inspiring sight of the white-tailed eagle in its natural habitat, symbolizing the untamed beauty of the Scottish highlands.

When to see this species: During the spring and summer months

Golden Eagle

The golden eagle is a huge bird of prey. With its long broad wings and long tail, it has a different outline to the smaller buzzard. It likes to soar and glide on air currents, holding its wings in a shallow ‘V’. Eagles have traditional territories and nesting places, they are often seen in Glengalmadale and Ghardail as there is plenty open areas for them to hunt.

When to see this species: Year Round


The Osprey, also known as the sea hawk or fish eagle, is a magnificent bird of prey renowned for its impressive fishing abilities. With a wingspan of up to 6 feet, the Osprey is easily recognizable by its dark brown upperparts, contrasting white underparts, and distinctive dark eye stripe that runs across its white head. These birds are often seen hovering over water before diving feet-first to catch fish with their sharp talons. Ospreys are migratory birds, returning to our area in the spring to breed and raise their young. They build large, bulky nests on tall trees, cliffs, or man-made structures near water. Their remarkable eyesight allows them to spot fish from high above the water’s surface, making them skilled hunters.

When to see this species: Spring and Summer


Seen regularly in front of our loch-fronted cottages is the oystercatcher, often hunting for cockles and mussels. This is a fairly large body bird that is characterized with it’s orange-red bill, reddish-pink legs and black and white feathers. In flight, it shows a wide white wing-stripe, a black tail, and a white rump that extends as a ‘V’ between the wings.

When to see this species: Year Round


The ptarmigan is a plump gamebird, slightly larger than a grey partridge. In summer, it is a mixture of grey, brown and black above with a white belly and wings. In winter, it becomes totally white except for its tail and eye-patch, which remain black. Ptarmigans feed on shoots, leaves, leaf buds, berries and insects. To spot ptarmigan, is a very rare occurrence, however if you are out walking on our highest mountains you may well be lucky enough as they tend to reside in our Arctic-like landscapes.

When to see this species: Autumn, Winter


The curlew is known for its distinctive call that resonates across the Scottish highlands. These elegant birds can be observed year-round in the area, but the best time to spot them is during the spring and summer months. During this time, curlews engage in courtship displays, with males performing aerial acrobatics and calling loudly to attract mates. Patiently exploring the moorland and coastal areas during early morning or late afternoon hours increases the chances of catching a glimpse of these captivating birds as they probe the ground with their long, curved bills in search of insects and worms.

When to see this species: During spring and summer months


The lapwing, also known as the Northern lapwing or peewit, is a distinctive bird with its crested head, iridescent plumage, and acrobatic flight. During the mating season, lapwings perform their elaborate aerial displays, tumbling through the air while making their characteristic “peewit” calls. To increase your chances of seeing lapwings, explore the open grasslands and wetland areas during early morning or late afternoon hours, as they are more active during these times and can often be found nesting or foraging for insects and worms in the fields.

When to see this species: Year Round

Ringed Plover

The ringed plover, a small and charming shorebird, can be observed year-round, but the best time to spot them is during the breeding season, which typically occurs from spring to summer. Ringed plovers prefer coastal habitats such as sandy beaches and mudflats, where they nest and forage for invertebrates. To increase your chances of seeing them, visit the shoreline during low tide when more of their foraging areas are exposed, and be observant for their distinctive “ringed” markings on their chests.

When to see this species: Year Round

Golden Plover

The golden plover, a stunning upland bird with its striking black and gold plumage, can be found year-round in the Scottish Highlands. However, the best time to see them is during the breeding season in spring and summer when their characteristic melodic calls fill the air. Golden plovers prefer open moorlands, heathlands, and high-altitude areas, where they nest on the ground and feed on insects and worms. Their golden plumage shimmers in the sunlight, adding a touch of magic to the rugged Highland landscape.

When to see this species: Year Round

Great Northern Diver

The Great Northern Diver, also known as the Common Loon, is a striking waterbird known for its distinctive black-and-white summer plumage and haunting calls. This large bird is characterized by its dagger-like bill, red eyes, and elegant profile. In summer, the Great Northern Diver displays a patterned black-and-white checkered back, a black head, and white underparts. During the winter months, it adopts a more subdued grey and white appearance. These divers are expert hunters, feeding primarily on fish which they catch with swift dives. They are powerful swimmers, using their large webbed feet to propel themselves underwater with remarkable agility.

When to see this species: Spring, Autumn and Winter

Black Guillemot

The Black Guillemot, also known as the Tystie, is a medium-sized seabird easily recognized by its striking black plumage and vivid white wing patches during the breeding season. These birds are known for their bright red feet and legs, which add a splash of color against their dark feathers.

Black Guillemots are adept divers, using their wings to swim underwater in search of fish, crustaceans, and other small marine creatures. They are often seen close to the shore, nesting in crevices, under rocks, or in burrows along rocky coastlines. Their distinctive, high-pitched whistles are a common sound in their breeding grounds.

When to see this species: Spring and Summer

Northern Wheatear

The Northern Wheatear is a small, striking songbird with a distinctive upright posture and bold plumage. During the breeding season, males are easily recognizable by their pale grey upperparts, black wings and mask, and a white rump with a black “T” pattern on the tail. Females and non-breeding males are more subdued, with brownish tones replacing the grey and black, but they all share the characteristic white rump.

These birds are ground-dwellers, often found in open, rocky areas, and short grasslands where they hunt for insects and other small invertebrates. The Northern Wheatear is known for its long migration, traveling from sub-Saharan Africa to breed in Europe and Asia, including our local area.

When to see this species: Spring and Autumn

Grey Wagtail

The Grey Wagtail is a slender, elegant bird easily recognized by its long, wagging tail and striking yellow underparts. This bird has a slate-grey back and wings, a white throat, and a bright yellow belly and vent. Males are more vividly colored than females, especially during the breeding season when the yellow becomes more intense. Grey Wagtails are often found near fast-flowing streams and rivers, where they hunt for insects and other small invertebrates. They are agile fliers and can frequently be seen darting over water to catch their prey. Their constant tail-wagging behavior is a distinctive feature that helps in identifying them. These birds are year-round residents in our area, but they are more visible during the spring and summer months when they are breeding. Look for them along riverbanks, around ponds, and even in wet woodland areas.

When to see this species: Year round

Willow Warbler

The Willow Warbler is a small, delicate songbird known for its sweet, melodious song and its vibrant spring presence. It has olive-green upperparts, a pale underbelly, and a distinctive yellowish eye stripe. During the breeding season, its plumage can appear brighter with more pronounced yellow hues. Willow Warblers are typically found in woodlands, gardens, and scrubby areas where they forage for insects and spiders. They are active and agile, often seen flitting about in the foliage or hovering briefly to catch their prey. Their song, a descending series of melodious notes, is a sure sign of their presence. These birds are migratory, arriving in our area in the spring to breed and departing in the late summer or early autumn for their wintering grounds in sub-Saharan Africa. They are most commonly observed during these migration periods, especially in areas with abundant trees and shrubs.

When to see this species: Spring and Summer

Red-Breasted Merganser

The Red-Breasted Merganser is a striking and distinctive diving duck known for its spiky crest and vibrant plumage. Males in breeding plumage are particularly eye-catching, with a dark green head, a rusty-red breast, and a starkly contrasting white neck ring. Their flanks and bellies are grey, while their back is a mix of black and white. Females and non-breeding males are more subdued in appearance, featuring a rusty-brown head, a white throat, and greyish bodies. These birds are expert fishers, using their serrated bills to catch fish and other aquatic prey. They are powerful divers, often seen diving and swimming underwater in search of food. Red-Breasted Mergansers prefer coastal waters, estuaries, and large inland lakes, where they can frequently be spotted in groups. Red-Breasted Mergansers are winter visitors in our area, arriving in late autumn and staying through the winter months. They can often be seen along the coast, diving and feeding in sheltered bays and estuaries.

When to see this species: Autumn and Winter

Magical Place: Remote, enveloped in nature. The perfect highland retreat. The main estate is beautiful with beautiful cottages and a welcoming host.

The BEST place we have stayed in and we go to Scotland every year. We will be back for sure.

It is like a fairy tale place, a total dream.

Lots of walks from the doorstep in all directions. Close enough to shops and things to see. It is an amazing place.

– Guest of Ghardail Cottage, August 2021