Biodiversity on Raasay
Raasay has a variety of habitats from acid moor to limestone cliff and from coastal areas to freshwater lochs to bogs. This, and the warming effect of the Gulf Stream, is reflected in the diversity of life to be found in a small area so far north.
The following examples are just a taste of what is to be found here.
There are about 40 different native ferns and fern allies found on Raasay, from the aptly named small adder's-tongue to bracken, great horsetail and royal fern.
Many different orchids grow and, in some cases hybridise. Bird's-nest orchid has not been seen for many years but the rare Lapland marsh orchid has a strong presence in one area.
The limestone cliffs on the east side of the island are home to many ferns and flowering plants such as holly fern, dark-red helleborine and mountain avens as well as many commoner plants such as wild thyme, wall-rue and fairy flax.
Different species of dragonflies and damselflies are widespread with the largest dragonflies often seen patrolling their territory like miniature helicopters. Emperor and northern eggar are large day-flying moths with spectacular caterpillars that are often found on the moor.
2005 is the last year of a five-year recording exercise for bumblebees in the Highlands. Raasay has several species but further work is in progress.
Beetles are present in many varieties and one visitor comes every year to study them.
Golden eagles nest on the island and white-tailed eagles are frequent visitors. Red-throated divers nest by several lochans and great northern divers visit during the winter - though in recent years they have stayed into spring and early summer. On the moors you will very likely see (and especially hear) golden plovers; ring ouzels are also present.