The Caledonian Canal runs through Scotland's Great Glen with
stunning scenery and plenty of exciting wildlife to discover.
On the wing
The Great Glen is a popular stop-off for migrating sea birds on
their way between the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea. Other birds
spotted are buzzards, siskins and lesser spotted woodpeckers. More
rarely you might catch sight of eagles and ospreys.
On the ground, foxes and red squirrels could cross your path -
or even a wildcat. And the Great Glen is also home to the UK's
largest land mammal, the red deer.
A hidden gem in Inverness, the Merkinch Local Nature
Reserve lies beside Muirtown Basin on the Caledonian Canal.
Home to roe deer, owls, weasels, herons, cormorants and various
types of wading birds. You may even spot kingfishers, and the
occasional Osprey. A variety of wildlife also live in the very
unusual blend of mudflats, brackish pools, salt water marsh,
freshwater pools, and wooded embankments.
Moray Firth Dolphins
The most northerly group of bottlenose dolphins can be
seen on the Moray Firth, as well as common seals, grey seals and
porpoises. The Moray Firth is also home to a wide variety of birds,
from wading birds along the shoreline to ospreys.
Some Sites of Special Scientific Interest along the
Glen Tarff Careful where you put your feet
while you walk through this woodland gorge. As well as
accommodating unusual flowering plants such as Wood Cranesbill and
Greater Wintergreen, Glen Tarff is also home to a rare insect
called Bolitophagus Reticulates!
South Laggan Fen Watch out for the birds and
plants that benefit from the lush cover provided by this rich
lowland fen, especially during the breeding season where you might
catch a glimpse of the shy Sedge Warbler or elusive Reed
Easter Ness Forest For approximately 11km (7
miles) along the banks of Loch Ness, rare butterflies and birds
inhabit the striking mix of trees that make up the Easter Ness
Forest. If you think you smell gin, that will be the juniper
Urquhart Bay Woods One of the best examples of
a swamp alderwood in the Inverness area. Alder tends to dominate
the wetter ground while the variety of other species on the gently
rising land include ash, gean, wych elm, white willow and bird
cherry. Shrubs include sallow and blackthorn. In addition there is
a good woodland and wetland bird community and characteristic
Inverfarigaig This gorge woodland, occupying a
deep ravine cut through red sandstone rock, is home to a number of
beetle species, characteristic of ancient forest of this type.
Beauly Firth The Beauly Firth has long been
considered an important site for its wildfowl and waders, while at
low tide the sand banks within the Firth are used as haul out sites