MARINE LIFE AROUND SKYE
by Nigel Smith (SeaProbe) 

Dear Andy,

I haven't seen a White-tailed Eagle yet, but many others have. I think Mull is one of the nest sites, at least I have heard of farmers receiving compensation for lost lambs due to sea eagles. Regarding otters, we have seen two otters underwater through our glass atKyle of Lochalsh.

Otters are very abundant around Skye. The area I am most familiar with has quite a few. Around the railway pier at Kyle of Lochalsh there are regular sightings of otters as they have learnt to scavenge from the fishing boats, any fish left in the nets are consumed, one fisherman told me that they will knock over stacked boxes to get to the fish in the bottom-most box. They can also climb the vertical pier ladders. Head first on the way up and head first on the way down !! It is not that extraordinary to have the otters climbing up onto fishingboats for tit bits as Portree harbour (North Skye) has also had a regular visitor to the boats.The otters I've seen in Kyle harbour were at 5 pm and 9 pm, they can turn up any time apparently ! The Forestry Commission have created a hide overlooking Kylerhea near Glenelg on the Skye side (South East Skye).

Apart from common, Grey Seals and Otters, Golden Eagles can also be seen, It would be an ideal location for a Sea Eagle too. Whilst I have the time to write I should mention the Porpoises in Broadford Bay. They are regular visitors to the bay and I have known of there visits over a 27 year period. In the last 5 years I have noticed a marked increase in there numbers, last year beingthe most I have ever seen approx 60. Just now (September 1998) we have around 40 - 50. They arrive usually in June although this year they were late and stay through out the summer the numbers reducetowards October-November, but I have still seen stragglers in December and even January last year. After that they go and are not seen again to my knowledge within the bay until June. We have been taking folks out to see them and we have been able to get some pretty good sightings underwater as well.

Cheers for now

Nigel.



 
 
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