and Basking Sharks
The Treshnish Isles in the Inner Hebrides off the
west coast of Scotland were formed 60 million years ago when volcanic eruptions
on the nearby island of Mull caused lava to flow into the sea.
- a wildlife wilderness and one of the natural wonders of the world|
eight islands, situated about three miles off the mainland, are internationally
recognised as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for their wildlife,
which includes seals, cliff and burrow-nesting seabirds and wintering wildfowl.
main islands - Lunga, Fladda and Bac Mor or the Dutchman's Cap - are completely
uninhabited and provide a safe haven for birds and grey seals.
way to visit the islands is by taking a special boat trip from the mainland, and
on approaching Lunga the views of nesting seabirds are spectacular.
miss a trip to Fingal's Cave on Staffa, one of the top natural spectacles in the
British Isles, and the inspiration for Mendelssohn's classical overture - The
A bird's-eye view
nesting colonies of Puffins can be seen during late spring and summer, before
they leave to spend the colder months out at sea.
mate for life and return to the same cliff-top year after year, where they nest
underground using their beaks to excavate old rabbit burrows or even digging new
These comical birds are at their best during the breeding season,
when their rainbow beaks are their brightest before they dull again to brown in
The islands are also a breeding ground for other seabirds like
Razorbill, Guillemot, Shag, Fulmar, Cormorant, Kittywake and Skua.
all these birds around there's always a scrabble for food - watch carefully and
you might even see a Guillemot snatch a sprat out of its neighbour's beak!
surrounding seas are also a prime spot for Basking Sharks so it's just as well
that boats are the only way to travel.
Basking Sharks take their name from
their fondness of feeding at the surface and in calm water - it's easy to spot
their enormous dorsal fin cutting through the water.
They're the largest
fish in Britain and the second largest in the world, measuring anywhere up to
12 metres long and weighing up to seven tonnes.
These endangered gentle
giants may look imposing but are actually harmless, feeding on plankton filtered
through their enormous jaws.
In fact, Basking Sharks can filter up to 2,000
cubic metres of sea water in just one hour!
These gentle creatures can live
up to 50 years.
Shark copyright and courtesy of the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust/Rob Pickering.
bird pictures and Staffa/Treshnish images courtesy and copyright of Turus Mara.
Discover nature activities. Summer is a great
season to enjoy wildlife during long daylight hours.