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Western Isles Wildlife has been running tours in the Outer Hebrides since 2007. We have an un-paralleled knowledge amongst wildlife tour operators of the local wildlife and are available for trips that concentrate on either, birds, otters or wild flowers. We also offer general wildlife tours that provide an overview covering all of the above.
Day Tours - See Tripadvisor Reviews
Time: normally start around 09:00 and finish at 17:00 although it is possible to arrange different times.
Where: the day trips are only available in North Uist, Benbecula and South Uist.
What we do: generally we drive to a number of sites during the day and take short walks at each; normally no more than a couple of miles with frequent stops to search for wildlife.
Cost: £55 per person with a minimum of 2 people or £110 for a lone individual. Lunch can be provided at £5 per head.
Booking: Please contact Steve by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on 07867 555971 / 01876 580619.
Bird Tours: on a typical day tour we usually see a selection of raptors which may include Hen Harrier, Golden Eagle, White-tailed Eagle, Peregrine Falcon and Merlin; whilst on a good day we occasionally see all eight resident species of birds of prey. Black-throated Diver, Red-throated Diver and Great Northern Diver are often seen year round with particularly good numbers in late autumn and early spring. Corncrakes are best seen in May and early June whilst Red-necked Phalaropes are also easiest in late May and June. Spring and autumn passage is excellent for a variety of waders and wildfowl with rare species turning up regularly.
Otter Tours are led throughout the year and seen on the majority of trips. We not only look for the animals themselves but we also spend time examining signs and attempting to interpret just what they are doing. We will visit a number of sites that contain Otter territories and although patience is generally needed in seeing them we don’t spend all day waiting at one spot. We also regularly encounter a good variety of birds plus Grey and Harbour Seals whilst looking for Otters.
Wild Flowers: the best time to come to appreciate the machair in full flower is July but there is also a good variety of flowers around from June – September. The flora found along the alkaline coastal plain compared with the acidic moorland provides us with two very contrasting habitats that make for a fascinating day out. Some of the species we look for: Bog Orchid, Irish Lady’s Tresses, Lesser Twayblade, sundews and Pale Butterwort amongst many more.
I studied Applied Biology at Bangor University and graduated in 1998 with a 2:1 but gained much of my wildlife knowledge over years of being out in the field. I started showing an interest in birds at the tender age of 7 and have pursued this interest ever since, travelling widely in the UK and further afield such as South East Asia, India, North America, Ecuador and Argentina, amongst others. The pursuit of birds led to many other interests including cetaceans, wild flowers, moths and butterflies. I now run a regular moth trap at home and act as the moth and butterfly recorder for the Outer Hebrides.
Before leading tours I worked for a number of years for various conservation organisations including: Lincs Wildlife Trust (at Donna Nook); National Trust (on the Farne Islands); South and West Wales Wildlife Trust (Skomer); the RSPB (Shetland); and Scottish Natural Heritage (Hermaness, Shetland and here in the Uists, Western Isles).
I now live with my partner, Johanne Ferguson and my two children Finlay and Freya at Carinish, North Uist. We are lucky to own two crofts, close by with one at Carinsh; where we have a number of hens and a small flock of Hebridean Sheep and one at Claddach Baleshare. We try to grow at least some of our own food and lunches provided on tours often contain any produce that we may have during the summer (mostly fresh eggs). Some of the proceeds from the tours are then put into developing the crofts, making them more attractive to wildlife whilst trying to provide wind breaks for vegetable production. Since 2010 thousands of trees and shrubs have been planted to provide the much needed shelter from the salty winds whilst making new habitat for insects and birds.