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Orkney's Wildlife

Since we are the only tour company in Orkney owned and run by professional archaeologists we do specialise in archaeology. However we are also qualified and accredited Green Badge Orkney Tourist Guides - this means in effect that our other speciality is Orkney and everything that goes to make up the Orkney experience -  archaeology, wildlife, people, culture, history - whatever interests you, our guest.


On our private tours  you may choose what you want to see and do - and we are happy to include as much wildlife watching as you want.


On our one-week small group holidays we always include some wildlife watching too. The Brough of Birsay has an amazing Pictish/Norse monastic site, but its cliffs are home to breeding seabirds - last year we had diving gannets below us, with puffins scooting in and out of cliff crevices.


Our holidays also include ferry rides to Orkney's smaller islands, with wildlife spotting opportunities from the boat. Last season on every trip to Hoy we had diving gannets all around, and we had porpoises escorting us too on several memorable occasions.


We visit the Broch of Gurness for its archaeology - but there's a colony of Eider ducks there and usually seals too. The sea cliffs at Marwick Head are home to a huge colony of breeding seabirds - guillemots in their thousands, as well as the Kitchener Memorial. Puffins can be seen in small numbers in the Mainland during their breeding season (the best months are May - July). The hen harrier is our commonest raptor and can frequently be seen hovering close to the road whilst driving through moorland areas. Short eared owls are also fairly common and can be spotted just about anywhere out in the countryside. There are now a pair of white tailed sea eagles nesting in Hoy and they  can often be seen soaring above the Dwarfie Stane.


Seals are always a favourite - Orkney waters are host to around 4300 or about 15% of the British population of the Common (or harbour) seal Phoca vitulina, and around 25000 – 40000 or about 25% of the estimated British population of the Grey seal Halichoerus grypus - we usually see plenty of seals in Rousay. We've also seen otters in Rousay but we can't guarantee them!



Seals basking on the rocks at the base of the Old Man of Hoy