|Curlew Numenius arquata ©David Whitaker http://www.highlandwildlifephotography.com|
Abernethy ForestSatellite View
The prime pinewood site and a RSPB reserve. All pinewood specialities can be found here, and if you are lucky and are willing to start early, with no real effort. It is an excellent site for getting to grips with crossbill identification. Please take care if looking for Capercaillie, keep to the tracks and do not search for leks. Birds often come to grit on the tracks and allow for superb views in the open. Perseverance is the key. This species is in rapid decline and a lot of work is going into maintaining a viable population. There are several theories explaining the cause for the decline including climate and habitat loss, however the population is probably at the stage where disturbance of the leks could cause problems in breeding success.
The highest plateau in Britain. Rapid changes in weather can cause problems for the under-prepared, please take precautions. This is also a very sensitive area for wildlife so take care. Visitor numbers are likely to increase after the building of the new funicular in the next few years. Montane species can be found during the summer with time, although they are not straightforward, this is not a quick stop site and plenty of time should be allowed. Dotterel, Snow Bunting and Ptarmigan are the star species and in recent years lucky observers have seen Snowy Owl.
Findhorn ValleyThe place to look for eagles. The long skylines and spectacular open glen offer excellent conditions, if the weather prevails for raptor watching. Wandering Golden Eagles are never far away and in recent years it has been a regular place for seeing re-introduced White-tailed Eagles. This is also an excellent site for Ring Ouzels, Red Grouse, breeding waders and upland river species including Dipper.
Glen MoreSatellite View
This extensive area of forest holds an impressive mix of exotic plantations and ancient pinewood. All the pinewood specialities occur here and is a good place to compare Common and Scottish Crossbills. Loch Morlich is always worth spending a bit of time as it is often used by fishing Black and Red-throated Divers.
Handa IslandSatellite View
Famous seabird colony which is now a Scottish Wildlife Trust reserve. Guillemot, Razorbill, Puffin, Black Guillemot, Kittiwake and Fulmars breed on the cliffs while inland both Great and Arctic Skuas hold territories. Access through organised boat operators from Scourie and Tarbet.
Insh MarshesSatellite View
A RSPB reserve with visitor facilities including hides. A huge flood marsh on the River Spey just to the north of Kingussie. Many pairs of breeding wildfowl and waders use these wet meadows, marshes and pools. The birch woods hold a typical selection of Highland woodland species.
Loch GartenSatellite View
Remnant Caledonian Pine Forest holding many of the forest specialities. However the main attraction is the pair of breeding Ospreys. Major investment by the RSPB have improved visitor facilities with a purpose built visitor centre offering excellent views of the Osprey nest but is also an superb site for watching pinewood species including Capercaillie, Crested Tit, Scottish Crossbill and Common Redstart.
Loch RuthvenSatellite View
A RSPB reserve with visitor facilities. To see possibly the most beautiful Highland species, the Slavonian Grebe, this site is a must. Regular scanning of the loch will not only produce the grebes in breeding plumage but also Red-throated Diver which use the loch for fishing.
Moray FirthSatellite View
Complex estuary system with numerous bays, saltmarshes and inter-tidal flats. The majority of the smaller firths have industrial developments, which have resulted in major encroachments at key sites. Huge numbers of wintering waterfowl and waders use this whole complex as a wintering and passage site. Many sites and watchpoints around the coastline, two major sites are; Nigg Bay NH790730 - Extensive area of mudflat and saltmarsh. Important winter numbers of Dunlin, Redshank, Knot, Bar-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Oystercatcher, Wigeon and Pintail. Udale Bay NH71/65 - Sheltered mudflats and saltmarsh. RSPB hide overlooking saltmarsh west of Jemimaville. In winter Oystercatcher, Knot, Dunlin, Curlew, Redshank, and Bar-tailed Godwit use the saltmarsh as a high tide roost. Large numbers of Wigeon and Greylag Geese also present. This is also an excellent place for passage waders. Offshore scan for wintering Slavonian Grebes, Scaup and Long-tailed Duck.
County [Sutherland] Bird - Red-throated Diver Gavia stellata
Best Birdwatching sites in the Scottish Highlandsby Gordon Hamlett Buckingham Press 2005
See Fatbirder Review
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Birds of the Outer Hebridesby Peter Cunningham, Paperback - 243 pages (June 1983) The Mercat Press
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In Search of Birds in the Scottish HighlandsBrian O'Shea, John Green Paperback - 86 pages (1990) Artery Publications
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Skye BirdsBy R L McMillan, 2005
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Where to Watch Birds in ScotlandMike Madders and Julia Welstead - 297 pages, b/w illus, maps - Christopher Helm
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Aigas Field CentreWebsite
Wildlife, Birdwatching, History & Nature Holidays in the Highlands of Scotland...
East Sutherland Bird Group
Contact: Alan Vittery, 164 West Clyne, Brora, Sutherland KW9 6NH Tel: 01408 621827
Highland Foundation for WildlifeWebsite
The Highland Foundation for Wildlife is a non-membership charitable trust dedicated to wildlife conservation and research, with a special emphasis on species recovery projects and the restoration of natural ecosystems. It was set up by Roy Dennis in 1995...
Highland Ringing Group
The Highland Ringing Group are based in the north of Scotland. Local HRG members are scattered around the Moray Firth coast with a few living in remote straths and glens inland or on the coast. Political boundaries embrace Moray/Nairn, Inverness, Lochaber, Ross-shire, Caithness & Sutherland, Skye & Lochalsh.
Scottish Ornithologists Club - Caithness BranchWebsite
Angus McBay 01847 894663
Scottish Ornithologists Club - Highland BranchWebsite
Kathy Bonniface , Alt Dubh, North End, Tomatin, IV13 7YP, Tel 01808 511740 email@example.com
West Highlands & Islands, Loch Lomond, Stirling & Trossachs...
Cairngorms National ParkWebsite
The Cairngorms was made a National Park in September 2003 because it is a unique and special place that needs to be cared for - both for the wildlife and countryside it contains and for the people that live in it, manage it and visit it. It is Britain's largest national Park...
Forestry Commission - Blackmuir WoodWebsite
If you walk through ther wood and up onto Knockfarril hill this will give the visitor a good chance of watching the Red Kite...
Forestry Commission - Culloden WoodWebsite
This local woodland consists mainly of conifer trees such as Scots Pine, Norway & Sitka Spruce and Douglas Fir, of which there are several huge examples here in Culloden Wood. Broadleaved trees are retained throughout the forest during all operations, and Beech, Alder and Birch are planted to enhance the conservation and landscape value of the area...
Forestry Commission - Daviot WoodWebsite
Look out for Siskins, Crested tit, Crossbill and the Common Buzzard, souring majestically above the forest...
Forestry Commission - Glenmore Forest ParkWebsite
A walk in these woods will give you the opportunity to spot Crested Tits and the Scottish Crossbill...
Forestry Commission - Inshriach ForestWebsite
This Pinewood is home to Crested Tits and Crossbills...
Forestry Commission - Lael ForestWebsite
There maybe an opportunity to spot the magnificentGolden Eagle as soars above the Forest. As the Dusk begins to take a hold start looking out for the Tawny Owl...
Forestry Commission - Ord Hill, North KessockWebsite
The Black Isle gives the observer a great opportunity to watch the Red Kite. This area is also very good for the Common Buzzard. Within the forest look out for Crested Tits and Crossbills...
Forestry Commission - Reelig GlenWebsite
The burn gives an opportunity to spot Dippers and Grey Wagtails...
Forestry Commission - SlattadaleWebsite
Black Throated Divers can be seen on the Loch...
Forestry Commission - Torrachilty ForestWebsite
These woods gives the observer a chance to spot Crossbill, Crested Tit and Buzzard...
RSPB Reserve - CorrimonyWebsite
..Loch Comhnard which in summer attracts common sandpipers, greenshanks and curlews, along with occasional red-throated divers and ospreys...
RSPB Reserve - Fairy GlenWebsite
A typical range of woodland and stream birds are present, including dippers and grey wagtails...
RSPB Reserve - Forsinard FlowsWebsite
Forsinard lie at the heart of the internationally important Flow Country of Caithness and Sutherland. Birds including golden plovers, dunlins and merlins breed on the reserve...
RSPB Reserve - GlenborrodaleWebsite
In spring, wood warblers nest, along with a range of woodland birds such as redstarts and spotted flycatchers...
RSPB Reserve - Insh MarshesWebsite
The Insh Marshes are the most important flood plain mire in Britain and have a very distinctive flora plus important populations of breeding and wintering wetland birds as well as nationally scarce mammals and invertebrates.
RSPB Reserve - Insh MarshesWebsite
In spring, lapwings, redshanks and curlews nest here. In winter, the marshes flood, providing roosting and feeding for flocks of whooper swans and greylag geese...
RSPB Reserve - Loch GartenWebsite
Loch Garten is famous for the ospreys that can be seen from the Osprey Centre in summer. As well as an excellent view of the nest, live video pictures are relayed back to the centre, where staff are on hand to explain what is happening...
RSPB Reserve - Loch RuthvenWebsite
It is the most important site in the UK for the rare Slavonian grebe...
RSPB Reserve - Nigg BayWebsite
Large numbers of wading birds, such as bar-tailed godwits and knots, use the bay for feeding and roosting from October to March...
RSPB Reserve - Udale BayWebsite
From late summer to April the reserve supports large numbers of wildfowl and wading birds. Best visited within two hours of high tide, there can be spectacular views of flocks of birds. In autumn, up to 5,000 wigeons feed on the beds of eel-grass...
1999 [Aug/Sept] - Peter Jones - SpeysideReport
I arrived at a rain-soaked Loch Garten only to be told The last of the Ospreys left the reserve 3 days ago, and Capercaillie are virtually impossible to see this time of year by the RSPB Warden. Hardly an ideal start to my short holiday in the Speyside region of Scotland!
2005 [June] - Chris Cameron & Julie Dawson - SpeysideReport
This morning the weather had cleared and blue sky and sunshine made the view from our hotel towards the mountains a beautiful sight. As we ate breakfast we were distracted by a Red Squirrel in the garden. Having finished we headed for the Abernethy Forest...
2007 [August] - David BrownReport
The trip started wet and windy, which was to remain with us throughout this two week trip to Scotland visiting areas such as Loch of Strathbeg, Speyside, Applecross Peninsula...
2009 [May] - Mark FinnReport
...Summer migrants were generally thin on the ground although excellent views were obtained of Common Redstart and Wood Warbler. In Wester Ross and Sutherland we were treated to exceptional views of Great Northern, Red-throated and Black-throated Divers and returning Great and Arctic Skuas on Handa Island...
2009 [October] - Mark FinnReport
...Unusual and scarce species were in short supply although Whooper Swans, Greater Scaup and Pink-footed Geese had arrived earlier than expected. During the week we had exceptional views of Red Grouse, Rock Ptarmigan, White-tailed Eagles, Velvet and Common Scoters and a host of the more common species...
2010 [May] - Mark FinnReport
...Along the coast we visited the seabird cliffs of Handa along with Great and Arctic Skuas and further north in Durness where we found a pair of Garganey and two lingering Black-tailed Godwits of the islandica race. In the woodlands and forests we observed Crested Tit, Common and Scottish Crossbills, Wood Warblers and all too brief views of Capercaillie....
2010 [September] - Mark FinnReport
...Off Wester Ross two groups of Black-throated Divers numbering 55 birds was a highlight for many. In the same area Grey Phalaropes and a wide selection of seabirds. Black Grouse at Corrimony was another highlight as was the sheer number of terns at Burghead which may be a record count for Moray...
2011 [February] - Peter Welch - Cairngorm & InvernessReport
When my better half asked what present I wanted to mark a significant birthday it didn’t take me long to suggest a birding trip. Having been coached in photography as well as birding by Marcus of e-birder a few times previously I booked three days with him in the Inverness and Cairngorm area. I was keen to see some of the Scottish specialities, some of which would be lifers: on the list were Ptarmigan, Golden Eagle, Snow Buntings, Crested Tit...
2011 [June] - Peter Welch - Handa IslandReport
In late June I was fortunate to be able to take some leave whilst in the far north of Scotland and after studying Gordon Hamlett’s excellent guidebook and doing some research, decided the best plan would be to visit the Island of Handa...
Aigas Field CentreTour Operator
Wildlife, Birdwatching, History & Nature Holidays in the Highlands of Scotland...
Birding EcosseTour Operator
Welcome to Birding Ecosse, the new way to bird in the Scottish Highlands. From an afternoon or morning trip to a full day in the field or even just a spare hour don't feel like you are part of a crowd...
Heatherlea Birdwatching ServicesTour Operator
Every birdwatcher loves the special birds of the Scottish Highlands. Capercaillie, Ptarmigan, Golden Eagle, Dotterel, Scottish Crossbill, Osprey, Crested Tit, Blackcock at the lek, Divers and Grebes in breeding plumage… the list goes on and on! Heatherlea organise birdwatching holidays in Strathspey throughout the year, and we think this gives us an unbeatable knowledge of the area and its bird life. Our expert guides use first-hand local knowledge, and our wide range of contacts help us find the birds that others simply won't see.
Highland Nature - John PoynerGuiding
Professional Birding & Wildlife Guide Service based in the Scottish Highlands. Based in Nethybridge at the heart of the Cairngorms National Park along with my wife Lucka, and sons Mattias and Jakub, I work as a professional Tour Guide and freelance Field Ornithologist. For the past twelve years I have led many tours for two of Scotland's leading Wildlife Holiday companies, both in Scotland and abroad, while undertaking survey work between this and during winter months...
MV Chalice - Hebridean Wilderness CruisesCruises
A fantastic opportunity to experience the birdlife of the Hebrides, including the remote St Kilda. A variety of cruises and programmes are available…
North Coast Marine AdventuresTour Operator
Caithness coastal cliffs and the surrounding clear, unpolluted sea are teeming with life. The cliffs are covered in seabirds during the breeding season and you can expect to see guillemots, razorbills, puffins, terns, skuas, gannets, shag and of course several types of gulls. There are 125,000 guillemots and 30,000 razorbills nesting on the East coast of Caithness and on Stroma alone. The young birds literally see our boat daily from hatching and are pretty well unconcerned when we approach them. From mid-April until late June/early July our local cliffs offer a seabird spectacle which can only be appreciated properly from a boat.
Puffin ExpressTour Operator
Special interest holidays and trips...
Speyside WildlifeTour Operator
Speyside Wildlife - Friendly, fun and number one for guides to the Scottish Highlands. They know the terrain, are great for beginners and can find the specialities. Golden Eagle, Slavonian Grebe, Scottish Crossbill, Capercaillie, Ptarmigan, Bottlenose Dolphin, Pine Marten, Red Squirrel and, well, everything else (!) with a day among Sea Eagle and Puffin, Otter and Minke Whale. Or go travel the world with them in search of wildlife!
Swallow BirdingTour Operator
On Swallow Birding trips we are enthusiastic, relaxed, friendly and fun. Small groups mean Leader Steve Grimwade can give the time and attention necessary to make your trip a great birding experience!
The Birdwatching and Wildlife ClubTour Operator
Birding and wildlife breaks in the Cairngorms. Millions of people now enjoybird and wildlife watching. For some it’s a consuming passion. For others it is just an excuse for a good walk...
Situated 21 miles north of Lairg and 17 miles south of the north coast village of Tongue, on the A836. Whilst this is primarily for anglers it does say It is also a birdwatchers paradise with the full range of birds of prey including osprey and golden eagle as well as waterfowl such as divers, swans and ducks. Game-birds are plentiful too. Other animals to see are otters, deer, roe buck, seals, rabbits, foxes, badgers and the occasional pine marten.
REMOTE but easily accessible, the Ardnamurchan Peninsula hosts a huge range of rare animals, birds and plants. Within just 25 by 40 miles, you will find all of Scotland`s breathtaking scenic variations, based on a glacial and volcanic geology - mountains, moors and white sandy beaches; forests of ancient oaks and woodland reserves. Crystal waters tumble in countless burns and waterfalls; the River Shiel meanders gently past wild flower meadows.
Ardverikie Estate - Kinloch Laggan, Newtonmore, Inverness-shireAccommodation
The houses and cottages are scattered within the bounds of the estate which is situated mostly on the southeast side of Loch Laggan, set amid striking scenery with lochs, woods and mountains, blending to produce some of the most spectacular landscape in Scotland... [BBC`s Monarch of the Glen - Glenbogle]
Auchendean Lodge Hotel - AbernethyAccommodation
Small owner-run countryside hotel in Strathspey backing onto Curr Wood with it`s rare Twin Flowers, capercaillie and scottish Crossbills, overlooking the Spey and Dulnain rivers and the Abernethy Forest to Cairngorm Mountains. Interesting home cooking, often with game and wild fungi, organically home grown fruit and vegetables in summer. Good Hotel Guide, Egon Ronay Guide, Which Hotel Guide, Best of Scotland Guide, Taste of Scotland Scheme, Michelin.
Beechwood Lodge offers confortable Bed and Breakfast accommodation in the small village of Ardross in Easter Ross in the Northern Highlands of Scotland.
Belladrum - Nr. Loch NessAccommodation
Luxury self-catering cottages and lodgings in romantic settings on an 1100 acre family estate in the Scottish Highlands - near to the Highland capital of Inverness, Loch Ness and some of Scotland's most stunning scenery. The perfect place to base your Highland holiday - and available all the year round.
Ben View Hotel - ArdnamurchanAccommodation
Haunt of finches and capercaillies and even the occassional pine marten or wildcat, the Ben View's setting is a renowned view in an area where stunning panoramas are plentiful.
Brora Holiday CottageAccommodation
Situated in its own three quarters of an acre in the quite settlement of East Clyne, Dromia lies one mile to the north of Brora overlooking the Dornoch Moray and Cromarty Firths with stunning views out to sea, over the village of Brora itself and west up Strath Brora. The area also provides rich and diverse interest for bird and animal and the Loch Fleet National Nature reserve is only 8 miles away. Dromia itself is a wild life haven with roe deer and owls making the croft their special home, quiet early risers will see them from the house....
Dunallan House - Grantown on SpeyAccommodation
Dunallan is a splendid example of Victorian elegance, oozing with the charm of a bygone era. Original period fireplaces in the residents lounge and dining rooms exude extra warmth to cheer you on those cooler evenings. Beautiful cornice work, pitched and Oregon pine woodwork and magnificent stained glass windows also feature in this lovely Highland villa.
Hoki Mai CottageAccommodation
Hoki Mai means “keep coming back” and reflects a New Zealand heritage. Our holiday cottage in Glenborrodale, on the west coast of Scotland, is surrounded by beautiful woodland of larch, rowan, oak, birch and rhododendron. It is located in over an acre of ground and has a sunny south facing aspect with views to the surrounding hills and Loch Sunart. Wildlife abounds with red deer and pine martens as regular visitors to the garden. White tailed sea-eagles from Mull are sometimes to be seen. Telephone Colin George: 01786 831054...
Inchbae Lodge HotelAccommodation
The owner is a well-travelled birdwatcher. The hotel is on the main Inverness to Ullapool road, A835, six miles north west of the village of Garve. For those travelling from south of Inverness, the new A9 stretching from Stirling via Perth to Inverness provides for quick and comfortable travelling. En route, the villages of Dunkeld, Pitlochry, Blair Atholl, Dalwhinnie and Carrbridge provide historical interest and tea, lunch or coffee breaks, and all have good dog walking paths. Birders can easily spot the re-introduced red kites on the Black Isle, although every year they get closer to the hotel. Local stalkers now regularly see eagles, ospreys and kites in the same day - buzzards abound. There are five RSPB reserves within easy reach.
Insh House Guest House - Nr. KingussieAccommodation
With views to the Monadhliath and Cairngorm Mountains, Insh House is at the edge of an extensive birchwood which now forms part of the RSPB Insh Marshes Reserve and only a few hundred yards from Loch Insh and its extensive watersport activities.
Lazy Duck Hostel - NethybridgeAccommodation
Location - have a look at our maps of Nethybridge and Strathspey. Find us by the Fhuarain burn & waterfowl ponds in a 3 acre forest clearing homestead, 300 metres off the Nethybridge to Tomintoul road, at the village boundary. OS map Landranger Series Sheet 36 Grid reference 016204. Sheltered by pine trees we look south across a neighbouring 100 acre grazing moor of heather, Caledonian pine, birch, rowan and juniper to Cairngorm (1245m) and Bynack (1090m) just 9 miles away. Nearest neighbours – aylesburies - chiloe wigeon – mandarin - red billed and bahama pintails - brecon buffs – then roe deer – a family of red squirrels – and (rare but there) crested tit & capercaillie.
Mount View Hotel - NethybridgeAccommodation
Located in Nethybridge in the heart of Speyside - Heatherlea Birdwatching and The Mountview Hotel are the ideal choice for your group holiday. We cater for groups of two to twenty, and can offer you a full range of services.
Mounteagle Self-catering CottagesAccommodation
4-star Luxury self-catering accomodations on the beautiful Mounteagle Estate. Buntings to bullfinches, linnet to lapwing, songthrush to skylark and siskin - feathered friends too numerous to mention take up residence at Mounteagle and Loch Eye. Whooper swans in their hundreds glide effortlessly across the loch...
At the head of Loch Inchard on the beautiful North West Coast of the Scottish Highlands. Close proximity of wonderful wildlife; Golden Eagles seen soaring in pairs and deer on the hill. They are close to the Scottish Wildlife Trusts Handa Isle Bird Sanctuary where Sea Birds flock in their thousands to nest on the cliffs and the great stack...
The Birdwatching and Wildlife Club - Grant Arms Hotel - Grantown-0n-SpeyAccommodation
BWWC has recently taken over the imposing 55 bedroom Grant Arms Hotel in Grantown-on-Spey in the Cairngorms National Park, one of the best birding and wildlife areas in the UK. Few places can offer the year round range of diversity. Golden Eagles, Capercallie, Pine Martens, Red Squirrels, Mountain Hares, Ptarmigan, Otters, Red and Black Grouse, Red Deer, Crossbills and, of course, Ospreys in Spring and Summer...
Tom-na-Creige B&B - Nr fort WilliamAccommodation
A family run B&B with stunning views over Loch Linnhe- an ideal base for the keen bird watcher...
Dave Slater - Birding EcosseBlog
Birdwatching for beginners Workshops. These relaxed and enjoyable workshops will be held on dates at end of March beginning of April 2011 in the Moray area....
Bird photography workshops, tours and holidays based in the Scottish Highlands...
Pelagic birding work voyages/local patch & occasional twitch birding news…
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Birdwatching in SutherlandWebsite
Sutherland is a large district with a wide variety of habitats offering opportunities for good bird watching at any time of the year. Being only sparsely populated by humans there are many aspects of the birds of the area remaining to be discovered though there are a number of well known hot spots such as Loch Fleet, Dornoch Firth, Embo, Brora, Handa and Cape Wrath...
Caithness Bird WatchingWebsite
Links to local sies etc...
A comprehensive guide to birding on the Island of Skye in the Scottish Hebrides. The site features an interactive map, constantly updated sighting reports andan events diary...
Photographer - David WhitakerGallery
Welcome to HIGHLAND WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY, a web site dedicated to the appreciation of the wildlife and environment of the Scottish Highlands...
Photographer - Neil McIntyreGallery
Being based in Strathspey in the Scottish Highlands makes it ideal for me to make the most of the fantastic scenery and wildlife that surrounds me. Over the years I have concentrated on many of the local species...
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This site was last updated on Wednesday, 11th December 2013.
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