Wildlife on the Loch
One of the Loch's more elusive inhabitants is "Seilag"
the Loch Shiel Monster, of which there have been several sightings
over the years. Seilag is reputedly about 70ft long with three
humps and one of the small islands has been named after her.
As the Loch is one of Scotland's deepest (145m) there is ample
room for monsters to avoid detection: so far Seilag hasn't
been spotted from MV Sileas but we keenly anticipate a friendly
Over the past 19 years there have been over 50 species of
birds observed from the boat. Jim Michie, the skipper of MV
Sileas keeps a keen eye out for any wildlife while cruising
on the Loch, Eagles being a distinct favourite.
There are three Golden Eagle territories that edge on Loch
Shiel and, weather permitting, there are regular sightings
of this beautiful and elusive bird.
Since their re-introduction from Norway in 1975 the White-Tailed
Eagle, or Sea Eagle, as it has become known, has flourished
in Scotland. A pair have settled at the south end of the Loch
and are regularly seen on the popular all-day Wednesday Loch
Another rare inhabitant of the Loch is the Black-throated
Diver. There are two regularly nesting pairs and it is always
a treat to see them in their beautiful breeding plumage. Red-throated
Divers are also seen on the Loch. These birds are most likely
to be seen between April and August on the Wednesday Loch
Less frequently observed
include Peregrine, Sparrow Hawk, Kestrel, Osprey and Hen Harrier.
Ducks on the Loch are Dabchick, Goosander, Red- breasted Merganser,
Mallard, Goldeneye and Tufted. There is a resident population
of Greylag Geese at the southern end of the Loch, joined occasionally
by Pink-footed and Canadian visitors.
Always good to see during June and July are the Common Gull
chicks which frequent the small islands.
There are large populations of Red Deer which graze on the
higher slopes of the surrounding mountains and despite their
fantastic camouflage can be seen by the avid observer.
The well-respected naturalist Mike Tomkies based himself in
a cottage at Gaskan for close to twenty years and from there
studied in depth the eagles, wildcats, badgers, otters, pine
martens and indeed any wildlife he came across on his daily
walks on the loch-side. From Gaskan he wrote many of his well-known
books, a classic being "A Last Wild Place".
Note: Passengers especially
interested in bird-life are advised to go on our longer "Loch