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Birding Angus

Angus is one of the 32 local government council areas of Scotland, a registration county and a lieutenancy area. The council area borders Aberdeenshire, Dundee City and Perth and Kinross. Main industries include agriculture and fishing. Angus was historically known as Forfarshire from the 18th century until 1928.Angus can be split into three geographic areas. To the north and west, the topography is mountainous. This is the area of the Five Glens of Angus, which is sparsely populated and where the main industry is hill farming. To the south and east the topography consists of rolling hills bordering the sea. This area is well populated, with the larger towns. In between lies Strathmore (the Great Valley), which is a fertile agricultural area noted for the growing of potatoes, soft fruit and the raising of Angus cattle. Montrose in the north east of the county is notable for its tidal basin.It is bounded by a ring of hills on the inland side, with the river North Esk in the north and nearly to the river Tay in the South, with the North Sea on the east and the eastern peaks of the Grampian Hills in the west. This gives a good range of habitats from rocky coast through farmland with small woodlands up to the glens. The whole area is laced with rivers and streams.

The Angus glens are oriented roughly NW to SE and the main ones are (from the northernmost) Glen Esk (river North Esk); Glen Lethnot (West Water and Water of Saughs); Glen Clova (South Esk); Glen Prosen (Prosen Water); and Glen Isla (Isla). There are a further fifteen smaller glens leading off the main ones. The main glens rise from 100m to 939m (Mount Keen). The land from the 100m line to the coast is intensively farmed (mainly arable) but areas of woodland break up the scenery. This means a wide range of habitats and hence a good range of birds.

Below are listed some of the places to go birdwatching in Angus.

Top Sites
  • Arbroath

    Satellite View
    The shore from Pleasureland at the west to Whiting Ness at the east is good for gulls and waders. Mediterranean Gulls are regular in late summer with Roseate and Black Terns occasionally. During the winter Purple Sandpipers can be found on the outer harbour wall or nearby at high tide and Iceland and Glaucous Gulls are fairly regular. After stormy weather auks, divers and sea ducks may take shelter in the harbour.
  • Auchmithie

    Satellite View
    3 miles north of Arbroath, small numbers of Fulmars and Puffins nest on the cliffs in summer. The track down to the harbour can hold migrants in season.
  • Balgavies Loch

    Satellite View
    (SWT) 5 miles east of Forfar on the A932. Public viewing point with room for 5 cars and a popular hide with car park to the west, normally open. Circular walk around the loch. Ospreys and warblers in season, Red Squirrel, Water Rail, wintering duck.
  • Barry Buddon

    Satellite View
    Near Carnoustie on A930. This is an MoD training area and range, access on foot only when the red flags/lights are not showing. Waders on the beach, seawatching from Buddon Ness, migrants in season. Butterflies include Small Blue and Green and Purple Hairstreak.
  • Broughty Ferry Beach

    Satellite View
    Typical beach birds, including Bar-tailed Godwit. At Balmossie Station ducks, gulls and waders gather at the mouth of the Dighty Burn.
  • Caenlochan National Nature Reserve

    Satellite View
    Large mountainous plateau with arctic plants and sub-arctic birds. Access from Glen Clova and Glen Isla.
  • Crombie Country Park

    Satellite View
    6 miles north of Monifieth on B961. A man-made reservoir with surrounding woodlands. Dragonflies in late summer.
  • Fishtown of Usan

    Satellite View
    Coastal Site, seawatching and migrants
  • Forfar Loch

    Satellite View
    Car park at Leisure Centre. Path round loch with viewing platform on north side. Large winter gull roost with occasional white winged gulls. Migrant waders on spit by sailing club in season, Otter, Kingfisher.
  • Kinnaber Links

    Satellite View
    Coastal site, can be good for Skuas, Long-tailed Duck, divers and Scoter. Access on foot from Montrose beach or car parking areas off the A92.
  • Loch Lee

    Satellite View
    16 miles north west of Edzell. Natural loch set in dramatic mountain setting 20-minute walk from car park in Glen Esk. Redstart and Tree Pipit in woods on the way, Ring Ouzel on the slopes above the Loch.
  • Loch of Kinnordy

    WebpageSatellite View
    (RSPB) 1 mile west of Kirriemuir on B951 Open daily. Three hides (one accessible to wheelchairs) viewing the loch. There is a small black-headed gull breeding colony. Osprey and Marsh Harrier during summer, Pink-footed and Greylag Geese and occasional Bittern, Smew during autumn/winter. Water Rail, Otter and Beaver resident and occasionally seen.
  • Loch of Lintrathen

    Satellite View
    (SWT) 8 miles west of Kirriemuir on B951. A SSSI and Ramsar site. Two public hides, the one at the north east end has wheelchair access. There are several parking places on surrounding public roads with good views of the loch. Pink-footed and greylag geese, a large gull roost and ducks during autumn/winter.
  • Lunan Bay

    Satellite View
    Near Montrose, a superb beach, can be good for Skuas, Long-tailed Duck, divers and Scoter. Viewing platform on dunes at public car park, café in season. Note that the car park is on private land and may be locked at night.
  • Monifieth Beach

    Satellite View
    Waders, seawatching
  • Monikie Country Park

    Satellite View
    4 miles north of Monifieth on B961. A man-made reservoir with surrounding woodlands. Usual water and woodland species, Little Gulls on migration in April.
  • Montreathmont Forest

    WebpageSatellite View
    (Forestry Commission) 4 miles south of Brechin on A933. Open access from rides on foot only. Mostly conifer plantation with some deciduous trees, open moor and ponds. Usual woodland species including Green Woodpecker.
  • Montrose Basin

    WebsiteSatellite View
    The Montrose Basin Local Nature Reserve covers 1024ha in all. The majority of the reserve lies below the high water mark of ordinary spring tides but, particularly at the western end, there are slightly more elevated areas with zones of salt marsh, reed bed, brackish and fresh water, unimproved grassland and arable land. It contains SSSI's and is a Ramsar site and a Special Protection Area, so is well protected from development. The site is jointly managed by Angus Council, The National Trust for Scotland and the The Scottish Wildlife Trust (SWT). - SWT Montrose Basin Visitor Centre by the A92 on south side of the Basin open 7 days in summer, Friday to Sunday in winter. Viewing windows with scopes, friendly and knowledgeable staff and volunteers on hand to assist. Four hides and various walks around the Basin, locations from the website or Centre staff. Year round interest, including up to 80,000 Pink-footed Geese in autumn with thousands of duck and waders, Sand Martin and Tern colonies in summer.
  • Seaton Cliffs

    Satellite View
    Arbroath (SWT). There is a spectacular cliff-top walk from Arbroath to Auchmithie. Fulmar, Guillemot, Herring Gull, Puffin and Razorbill nest on the deeply sculpted red sandstone cliffs. Occasional cetacean sightings. Small Blue Butterfly colony.
County Recorder
Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 318

    County Bird - Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos
Useful Reading

  • Where to Watch Birds in Scotland

    | By Mike Madders & Julia Welstead | Christopher Helm | Paperback | 297 pages, b/w illustrations, maps | ISBN: 9780713656930 Buy this book from
  • Angus & Dundee Bird Club

    Angus and Dundee Bird Club was founded in 1997 and we now have almost 200 members; we have an active Birders Grapevine for our members, a sea watching hide at Lunan Bay Angus, Field Outings programme and Indoor Meetings programme.
  • Dundee Naturalists Society

    Open to anyone interested in Natural Science - from birds to insects via plants and geology. The summer excursion programme runs from April to September, while winter illustrated talks run from October to March.
  • RSPB Dundee Local Group

    The friendly Dundee local RSPB group holds regular indoor and outdoor meetings as well as running social events, helping with volunteering work and arranging Birdwatching holidays.
  • SOC Tayside

    We meet at Methodist Church Halls, 20 Marketgait, Dundee, DD1 1QR - Co ntact Brian Brocklehurst 01382 778348
  • SWT Angus & Dundee Group

    This is the website for the Scottish Wildlife Trust in the county of Angus and the City of Dundee. The Scottish Wildlife Trust is a membership organisation and this Group acts as the focus for Angus and Dundee members who want to participate in conservation, fund-raising, site visits or just attend local wildlife events.
  • SWT North Angus Group

    The North Angus Group is the voice for Scottish Wildlife Trust members in the Montrose and Brechin area of Angus.

Abbreviations Key

  • FC Montreathmont Forest

    WebpageSatellite View
    This fairly large area of (mostly) coniferous forest is about 5km south of Brechin. The network of tracks is popular with walkers, mountain bikers and, in winter, husky racers. Capercaillie can be heard and, more rarely, seen. Visitors are asked to avoid disturbing them. Owls, buzzards and deer might also be visible.
  • LNR Montrose Basin Wildlife Centre

    WebsiteSatellite View
    Montrose, on the North East coast of Scotland, is notable for its tidal basin. There is a variety of different zones on the Montrose Basin Local Nature Reserve ranging from the mud, fresh water, sea water, brackish water, saltmarsh, reedbed, unimproved grassland and arable land.
  • LNR Murton

    WebsiteSatellite View
    Open 5 days a week 10am to 4pm. Closed Monday and Tuesday. On the A932 Forfar to Arbroath road about 1.5 miles east of Forfar, postcode DD8 2RZ. The nature reserve features several ponds, three hides, wild flower meadows and woodlands, created from worked out gravel pits. Breeding waders and a thriving Sand Martin colony, best site in Angus for Little Ringed Plover. Migrant duck and waders, wintering duck. There is a children's farm (admission fee) and café also on site.
  • NNR Corrie Fee

    InformationSatellite View
    Like a giant stone armchair, Corrie Fee is a wild amphitheatre of rocky landscape sculpted by the power of ice and water. The area is now a haven for the plants, birds and animals that are equipped to cope with the challenges of this harsh mountain environment. If you're lucky you might spot a golden eagle soaring overhead. Large car park at the road end (fee) and Ranger Centre with maps and information.
  • RSPB Loch of Kinnordy

    WebpageSatellite View
    This shallow loch is situated in a natural basin surrounded by farmland and attracts all types of wildlife. One favourite summer visitor is the osprey, but you're just as likely to see otters, red squirrels and deer as wildfowl, not to mention butterflies and dragonflies aplenty.
  • SWT Balgavies Loch

    WebpageSatellite View
    Balgavies Loch has long been recognised by naturalists as an important site for wildlife. This inland loch is surrounded by reedbeds and willow carr, attracting water rail, great crested grebe and a number of wintering wildfowl, including goldeneye, teal and wigeon. The reserve is a haven for red squirrel.
  • SWT Loch of Lintrathen

    WebpageSatellite View
    This beautiful inland loch is a reservoir for Angus and Dundee. During the summer, the area is home to breeding songbirds, and in winter, large numbers of wintering birds, particularly greylag geese, visit the reserve.
  • SWT Montrose Basin Visitor Centre

    WebpageSatellite View
    Montrose Basin is an enclosed estuary of the river South Esk covering 750 hectares, home to over 80,000 migratory birds – including pink-footed geese, Arctic terns, knots and sedge warblers.
  • SWT Seaton Cliffs

    WebpageSatellite View
    Seaton Cliffs has spectacular red sandstone cliffs with numerous sea caves, stacks, blowholes and arches. The cliffs support a mosaic of habitats, including coastal grassland, sand dunes and woodland.
Forums & Mailing Lists
  • Angus Birding Grapevine

    The aim of the forum is to provide current information (and be a referral for past records) of Birds, Mammals and Cetaceans in the Angus and Eastern Scotland area. This is done via a forum open to public, where sightings can be posted and viewed freely. Sightings are obviously not guaranteed but filtered as best as possible and news regarding sensitive species may be edited if need be.
Places to Stay

Click on WAND to see Fatbirder’s Trip Report Repository…

  • The Haven B&B - Montrose

    Some of Europe's finest and unspoilt coastline awaits you on the North east Coastal Trail, and, starting at St. Cyrus, Montrose is close enough to embark on your adventure through rich heritage, breath-taking views and many harbour pubs!
Other Links
  • Angus Birding

    The aim of this web site is to provide the Electronic Birding Community with information at there finger tips of what birds are currently about, primarily in the area of Angus and the Eastern Side of Scotland (Aberdeenshire, Highland & Fife). If there is something of interest fairly nearby, then that will get put on too!
  • Angus Birding

    Facebook Page
    @angusbirdwatching - Angus is a FREE website that provides a News Forum for local Birds/Wildlife & Database. It also promotes the Angus & Dundee Bird Club. This Facebook page is not a replacement for the forum and sightings are still to be posted there for a historical & searchable database, but this FB page aims to be a good way to share photographs, chat and connect with other local birders and wildlife enthusiasts.
  • Angus Birdwatching

    Facebook Page
    @angusbirdwatching - Angus is a FREE website that provides a News Forum for local Birds/Wildlife & Database. It also promotes the Angus & Dundee Bird Club. This Facebook page is not a replacement for the forum and sightings are still to be posted there for a historical & searchable database, but this FB page aims to be a good way to share photographs, chat and connect with other local birders and wildlife enthusiasts.
  • David Adam - Sketchbook

    Artistic wanderings and nature diary from the Highlands of Scotland.
Photographers & Artists
  • Photographer - Mark Caunt

    Superb photos - the Latin American ones are particularly stunning!

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