Find a wonderful wealth of wildlife in Orkney, from puffins on the cliff edges, to whales in local waters. All year round, the islands are abuzz with the sights and sounds of various creatures, with 36 sites of special scientific interest and 13 special protection areas spread across the county.

The Orkney vole is a small rodent which has evolved seperately from the common vole, over thousands of years. Birdwatchers will delight at the sight of hen harriers, red-throated divers and corncrakes, all of which are part of the essential colour in our island landscape, which is host to 13 RSPB nature reserves, many with viewing hides.

Seals, known locally as “selkies” are a common sight on shorelines —  and it is thought that 15 per cent of the world’s grey seal population resides in Orkney! Whale watching has also become a popular local pastime, and numerous sightings are photographed and shared on social media. Orca pods are often spotted in Orkney waters, along with pilot whales, dolphins, and on rare occasions, maybe even a walrus!

You can also find some not-so-native specimens, at the UKs most northerly wildlife sanctuary, Fernvalley Wildlife Centre. Meerkats, racoon dogs and many other rescued animals shelter here, and are always keen to welcome visitors! Follow the link below for more information.