Nature and Wildlife Nature and Wildlife

Nature and Wildlife

With its mild climate, fertile green land and stunning coastline, Orkney is a paradise for nature lovers all year round.

Orkney's rolling and fertile landscape
Orkney's rolling and fertile landscape

Every season has its own charm and beauty, from the endless days of summer with seabirds clamouring on the cliffs, to the short days of winter when the land is free of visitors and you can enjoy the quietness and rugged beauty of our coastline.

Unique animals live here, including the Orkney vole, while rare plants thrive in the pollution-free air. A pair of Sea Eagles are attempting to make Hoy their home, and sealife is abundant.

Nature is all around you in Orkney. View our film and explore our seperate sections below to get inspired.

Inside Nature and Wildlife

The famous seaweed eating North Ronaldsay sheep

Animals

Orkney is a wonderful place to spot wildlife and is home to some very rare species of animals.

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Waxwing in trees in Stromness

Birds

The RSPB looks after 13 nature reserves across Orkney, so it’s clear the islands are a very important area for birds. Large numbers pass through in spring and autumn on migration, with a number of r...

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A still winter night in Burray, Orkney

Climate

As well as the 'four seasons in one day' saying, many folk describe Orkney as having only two seasons a year! Long, bright days in the summer, and short, dark days in the winter. But there is a lot more to our weather than that...

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Rousay's spectacular coastline - image by Max Fletcher

Coast

Orkney’s stunning coastline has a rich variety of habitats - from the high red sandstone cliffs of Hoy to the sheltered beaches of Sanday, the gentle shoreline of Scapa Flow to the storm-battered, rugged coast of West Mainland.

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The tiny and extremely rare primula scotica, which can be found in Orkney

Flora

Wildflowers carpet the cliff tops, wetland, heaths and even roadside verges in Orkney with a colourful display from April to September. There are 500 native plants and 200 more that have been introduced, making Orkney a flower-lovers haven.

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Seals on the beach in Birsay

Sealife

Orkney's abundant sealife makes the islands a wildlife lover's paradise.

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A hazy summer day in Orkney

Seasons

Although it's often said that you can experience all four seasons in a single day in Orkney, there are still clear distinctions as the months pass by. From the appearance of lambs and cows in the fields during Spring and the long, hazy days of Summer, to the harvest of Autumn and the wild and invigorating Winter, Orkney has a season for every mood.

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