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The wonderful woodlands, heathlands and amazing meadows of the crofting landscape at Balmacara offer a diverse and rich home to a variety of wildlife.

Birds aplenty feed and breed on the estate, and we also get large quantities of migrant species visiting. Flittering flocks of twite and linnet hunt for seeds amongst the flowers, whilst yellowhammers (with their flash of yellow) and grasshopper warblers (with their unusual call) can all be heard and seen on the crofts.

Otters abound on the coastline and are often seen on the Crofting and Coastline walk from Duirinish, where the local Highland cows also regularly make an appearance. Badgers live in the woods, leaving snuffle holes in their wake especially in the Coille Mhòr woodland. The elusive pine marten is another resident, often leaving their scat (poo) on paths. The newly introduced (and thriving!) red squirrels scamper in the branches overhead.

Around 300 types of moth and 18 butterfly species fly at night and day, including the rare narrow-bordered bee hawk-moth (Hemaris tityus), a large bee-like creature that does not buzz. Colourful dragonflies and damselflies fly and hover over the lochs, burns and bogs, with common blue damselflies (Enallagma cyathigerum) appearing in clouds on the banks of Loch Achaidh na h-Inich.

The carpet of saltmarsh sea pinks (Armeria maritima) in early summer is a sight not to be missed. Don’t forget to send any interesting sightings to us at balmacara@nts.org.uk or post them on social media #balmacaraestate

You can also check out our wildlife spotter’s guide for Balmacara, and see how many you can spot during your next visit:

Wildlife spotter’s guide: Balmacara Estate