As the leaves start to turn a wonderful golden and crunch beneath our feet with each step, the familiar colours and scents return to Scotland’s landscape. The wildlife around us also becomes heightened to the shorter days and cooler temperatures and many beautiful sites can be seen from our historic properties. Knowing what to look for-and when and where to see it- means that you could have a view that will leave you with lifetime memories.
Take an evening stroll through an expanse of parkland and around Linlithgow Loch, both overlooked by the ruins of Linlithgow Palace, and you could see the world’s only true flying mammal- the bat. It’s a big time of year for bats in the area as males start to look for mates. Most commonly spotted as the nights draw in is a ‘swarm’ of Daubentons bats. Often drawn to water to find food, at this time of year they also come to the Loch to attract females.
Overlooking the Moray Firth, the high grounds of Fort George in early autumn is one of the best places to spot dolphins. Look south-west from the ramparts to see bottlenose dolphins at Chanonry Point -one of the most renowned dolphin watching sites in Europe. If you’re really lucky you might even catch a glimpse of Minke whale too!
We may assume most animals give birth to their young in spring, but grey seals give birth right in the middle of autumn- around October/November time. 40% of the international grey seal population can be found in Scotland during autumn and winter and Inchcolm Island is a great place to start! So, if you catch a boat out before they finish for the season then you may be fortunate enough to see their cute, white babies. Although, the view is best enjoyed from a distance so that the new arrivals remain undisturbed.
Keep your eyes peeled when you pay a visit to Dryburgh Abbey or Doune Castle this leafy season, bushy red tails could be squirreling away as they stockpile for the winter months ahead. The red squirrel is one of Scotland’s most loved and popular animals and 75% of the UK’s population are found in Scotland. Autumn is the best time to spot this marvellous species, so don’t forget to look high and low for them on your next visit- they could be racing across the woodland floor or bounding up coniferous trees.
Find out more about some of Scotland’s wildlife and landscapes on our Rangers guided walks