The diversity of the Scottish Highlands, with hundreds of miles of coastline, beautiful mountains, expansive forests and glens, is a real haven for wildlife.
From migrating seabirds to the autumn stag rut, there is an abundance of wildlife to enjoy at all times of the year. Each month offers a chance to experience its own seasonal flora and fauna.
At Tigh Ruaraidh there is no shortage of wildlife either, whether on land or at sea. You don’t even have to stray beyond the comfort of your armchairs! And you’d have to be very unlucky during your stay here not to see anything of interest. Otters are regularly seen throughout the year in the sea and along the rocks below the house, and if you’re really lucky you may even see one exploring the garden! In season, seals, dolphins, basking sharks, pilot and Minke whales are frequently seen from the house in the waters of the Inner Sound.
Red deer roam free throughout the Applecross Peninsula and may be seen at any time of the year while pine martens are regular visitors to Tigh Ruaraidh in search of a snack!
The number of bird species recorded in our visitors’ books is diverse and sometimes surprising. It is possible to see anything from the awe-inspiring white-tailed sea eagle or golden eagle to tiny wrens. Watching gannets fold their wings and dive is a sight one never fails to marvel at. Siskin, greenfinch and goldfinch are regular visitors to the bird feeders outside the sitting room window along with most of the common garden birds. Wheatear, snipe, ringed plover, red and black throated and great northern divers, warblers ... the list goes on and on!
The Red Deer Rut
One of Europe's most spectacular wildlife phenomenon, the annual red deer 'rut' takes place each autumn as stags battle for dominance and the chance to mate. Stags and hinds live in separate herds for much of the year but come together rather vocally in late September or early October at the start of the breeding season that is known as the ‘rut’. Hinds (females) are only fertile for a day or less each year so the competition to mate is incredibly high. During the rut, younger newcomers will challenge the current dominant stag for the attention of the herd hinds (females) with elaborate and noisy clashes of antlers and 'roaring' which can be heard from quite some distance. The effort involved in the head-to-head battles means that over the course of the rut, stags may lose as much as 20% of their body weight as they wrestle for control of their harem. The ultimate victor will mate with as many females as possible, usually up to 20, with calves being born the following June.