Scottish Field’s guide to 50 great hotspots at which to watch nature in Scotland continues.
This weekend we present another 10 locations that are worth a visit.
See our first 10 HERE.
11. Baron’s Haugh, Motherwell – Water Rail
An elusive bird that skulks around in reed beds, water rails can be difficult to see. But Baron’s Haugh, tucked away on the edge of Motherwell on Dalzell Estate, has a good hit rate for the bird and provides an enjoyable woodland walk
12. Loch of the Lowes, Perthshire – Greatspotted Woodpecker
It may be best known for its ospreys – including ‘Lady’,who nested there for 24 years – but Loch of the Lowes is also a great place to catch sight of a great-spotted woodpecker. Take a seat by the massive picture window in the visitor centre and keep your eye on the bird feeders outside. Red squirrels and even pine martens are other highlights.
13. Landmark, Carrbridge – Red Squirrel
Red Squirrels are a rarity in southern Scotland but they still have many strongholds in the Highlands and the feeding stations at the Landmark Forest theme park offer an almost guaranteed view of these tuft-eared cuties. Walk along the tree top trail, too, to see if you can catch a glimpse of them doing acrobatics among the pine trees.
14. Press Mains Cottages, Berwickshire – Badger
Watch badgers from the comfort of your bedroom! Pete and Emma have rigged up cameras on their farm so you can watch badgers on the television – but you can also use their cottages as a base to explore the wider area and its wildlife.
15. Brodie Castle, Moray – Bullfinch
The pond at Brodie is a favourite spot for feeding the ducks. But walk a bit further on along the circular path beside the pond and you’ll reach the woodland, where bullfinches are a regular sight in winter, with the males’ distinctive red heads and black caps.
16. Craignure ferry terminal, Mull – Otter
Otters are shy, retiring creatures and you often have to get up early in the morning or stay up later at night to be in with a chance of spotting them. But take some time out to sit on one of the benches at the ferry terminal on Mull and you’ve got a great chance of seeing an otter during the light, especially during the shorter winter days.
17. Loch Ruthven, Highland – Slavonian Grebe
It’s a trek to get there, but the reward of seeing Slavonian grebes at Loch Ruthven is worth the effort. These small water birds build floating nests in the spring that bob about on the water’s surface.
18. Tentsmuir, Fife – Grey Seal
There’s tonnes of wildlife to see at Tentsmuir National Nature Reserve, from the ducks at Morton Lochs to the waders on the nearby Eden Estuary. One of the highlights are the grey seals, which haul themselves up onto the sandbanks off the beach, along with their common cousins.
19. Nairn Harbour, Highland – Turnstone
If you’re not using the harbour as a site for trying to spot dolphins, then take a look along the shoreline for wading birds, including turnstones. As their name suggests, these small waders use their beaks to up-end stones in search of insects to eat.
20. Highland Wildlife Park, Kincraig – Barnacle Goose
Run by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, the same charity that operates Edinburgh Zoo, the Highland Wildlife Park is home to a weird and wonderful array of creatures, from polar bears and Amur tigers through to Scottish wildcats and northern lynx. But also watch out for some visiting wildlife, including barnacle geese in autumn.