Discover Scotland's Big 5 with Hannah Stitfall

By Hayley Allen

The wildlife filmmaker is on a mission to photograph Scotland’s most elusive animals.

We join Hannah on a search for Scotland’s big five – the top animals on any keen wildlife photographer’s wish list. She’s looking for the white-tailed eagle, the sea otter, the red squirrel, the red deer, and the orca. But these incredible animals aren’t easy to spot. We follow Hannah as she travels around Scotland, armed with her camera and bags of patience and enthusiasm, in search of that perfect shot.


On the Isle of Mull, Hannah scours the loch coastlines for signs of otters. She’ll be lucky to see one with miles of coastline to explore and bad weather to contend with. But after finding some fresh otter poo on the shore, Hannah spots an otter moving in the water.

Click here to watch Hannah’s search for otters.

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An otter
Hannah's photograph of an otter in the water. © Hannah Stitfall

I can’t believe how close he came to the shore."

Red Squirrel

Hannah is in the Cairngorms exploring pine forests in a search for the red squirrel. As she sits quietly in a hide, Hannah spots nuthatchers, woodpeckers, and coal tits, before finally seeing a group of red squirrels leap from tree to tree.

Click here to follow Hannah’s adventures in the Cairngorms.

A red squirrel in the Cairngorms
Hannah's shot of a red squirrel in the Cairngorms. © Hannah Stitfall

I’ve seen them before, but never like this."


The Shetland Islands are one the most remote and northerly parts of the UK. It’s here that Hannah hopes to see orca, also known as killer whales. After travelling the length and breadth of the island, Hannah’s about to give up when she spots a dorsal fin in the water.

Click here to find out what Hannah sees in the waters off the Shetland Islands.

Orca swimming in waters off the Shetland Islands
Hannah is lucky to spot orca from the shore.

To see orca that close, I’ll never forget it."

Red Deer

Hannah gets up at dawn to find red deer. After hours of only being able to hear the deer, she finally spots a stag and his harem of females and sees more than she expected when another stag appears in the distance.

Click here to follow Hannah's search for the spectacular red deer. 

Red deer in Scotland.
Hannah spots a stag in the distance, surrounded by females.

The red deer rut has to be one of our most magnificent wildlife displays."

White-tailed Eagle

Hannah travels to the Isle of Mull, which has highest density of white-tailed eagles in the UK. To maximise her chances of spotting these majestic birds, she travels around the coast by boat and is treated to a spectacular site when more and more eagles sweep down to pluck fish out of the water.

Click here to watch Hannah’s search for the white-tailed eagle. 

A white-tailed eagle
A white-tailed eagle plucks fish out of the sea. © Hannah Stitfall

They’re the largest bird of prey in the UK… absolutely magnificent."

You'll be able to watch all episodes of Big 5 here on BBC Earth Kids You Tube channel. 


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