Loch Lomond Wildlife & Nature
The Loch Lomond area is a haven for spectacular wildlife of all shapes, sizes and species from mighty red deer and golden eagle to tiny wading birds and delicate butterflies.
Every visit to our area provides unrivaled opportunities for wildlife spotting, but here are brief details of just a few of the best known places and species to look out for.
Ardmore is a small peninsula that juts out into the Clyde estuary to the south of Helensburgh.Scottish Wildlife Trust have developed visitor parking and footpaths that take you down to the shore where seals can often be seen basking on the rocks and a wide variety of wading birds are active at low tide. Porpoises are common visitors to the local waters and Ardmore is just one of many places along Loch Long and the Gareloch where seals and porpoises can be spotted.
Inversnaid RSPB Reserve
Inversnaid lies on the north east shore of Loch Lomond and incorporates a mix of oak woodlands and open moorland. It attracts a wide variety of bird species that vary from season to season. Autumn highlights include wildfowl, winter swans, wintering hen harriers and flocks of bullfinches. Feral goats also roam the reserve and the hills and moors can reverberate to the awesome sound of the red deer rut during the Autumn months.
Further details about Inversnaid can be found at www.rspb.org.uk.
Loch Lomond Bird of Prey Centre
Loch Lomond Bird of Prey Centre near Balloch is a fully licensed zoo with over 20 species of birds of prey that aims to educate the public about native species and the the global plight faced by many birds of prey.
As well as guided tours, the centre offers a range of activities that enable you to get close to the birds. These range from a short flying experience where a hawk flies to your glove to a three-hour Hunting Expedition with a hawk and a full day Introduction to Falconry. Full details can be found at www.lochlomondbirdofpreycentre.co.uk.
Loch Lomond National Nature Reserve (NNR)
One of over 50 national nature reserves in Scotland, Loch Lomond NNR covers over 400 hectares of diverse landscapes at the south east corner of the loch. The reserve incorporates woodlands, wetland, grassland and open water as well as five islands including the 50 hectares of Inchcailloch.
The NNR is an internationally important wintering centre for Greenland white-fronted geese and can also attract up to 3,000 wintering greylag geese. Summer visitors include osprey and an exceptional variety of breeding birds can be spotted including pied flycatchers that breed on Inchcailloch.
Otters can be seen fishing around the mouth of the River Endrick and the reserve boasts native species like fox and pine marten as well as introduced species such as fallow deer, allegedly introduced for sport in the 14th century by King Robert the Bruce.
Scottish Natural Heritage produce a guide to the reserve that gives full details of the extensive visitor facilities. This is available locally or can be downloaded at www.snh.gov.uk. Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority produce a detailed 24 page guide to Inchcailloch island, where they operate a ranger service. This guide is also available locally or can be downloaded at www.lochlomond-trossachs.org.
Loch Lomond Sealife Aquarium
This fun, indoor family attraction at Balloch is home to a wide and exotic variety of sealife and aquatic mammals including sharks, otters, seahorses and Cammy, the giant sea turtle. Many of the species are endangered and you can learn about conservation programmes as you enjoy getting close up to spectacular sea creatures, especially at feeding demonstrations.
The Sealife Centre is open seven days a week. Phone 01389 721500 or log on to www.visitsealife.com/Loch-Lomond for full details of all there is to see and do.