Scotland’s wildlife is incredible diverse, with birds, mammals and lizards to be found all over.
We’re presenting the third part of our handy guide, to help you know where to go, to see the wildlife you want to see.
21. River Esk, Musselburgh – Mute Swan
The mouth of the River Esk in Musselburgh is home to several nesting pairs of mute swans during the summer and is also one of the places favoured by the great congregations of immature birds that collect in the Lothians. More than 100 swans have been spotted at the river mouth.
22. Abernethy Forest, Strathspey – Scottish Crossbill
Not only is the RSPB’s Loch Garten reserve home to ospreys and capercaillie, but the wider Abernethy Forest in which it sits is also a great place to spot Scottish crossbills – small birds that use their distinctive beaks to break open pine cones and eat the seeds that lie inside.
23. St Abb’s Head, Berwickshire – Razborbill
The National Trust for Scotland nature reserve at St Abb’s Head is an exciting and noisy ‘seabird city’, with thousands of nesting birds in the spring and summer. One of the highlights are the views you get of razorbills, with their distinctive square jaw lines.
24. Loch Frisa, Mull – Whitetailed Eagle
White-tailed or sea eagles were hunted to extinction in the UK by 1918 but have made their reappearance through a series of reintroduction schemes from the 1970s onwards. Mull is one of the best places to catch a glimpse of them.
25. The Oa, Islay – Golden Eagles
The Oa is an RSPB reserve made up of rugged coastline and open moorland. The best time to spot these majestic, soaring birds of prey is during spring and summer. It is then that they are most active preparing their nests. Later in the summer you may be lucky enough to spot young eagles venturing out of the nest for the first time.
26. Shian Wood, Argyll – Roe Deer
One of the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s smaller reserves, Shian Wood provides an enjoyable walk through some of Scotland’s gorgeous Atlantic woodland. Roe deer bound about through the trees and surrounding fiels, with their wee white behinds often giving away their position.
27. Lochwinnoch, Renfrewshire – Teal
You’re spoiled for choice for water birds at Lochwinnoch, but teal are always a thrilling sight, with their bright green faces standing out against their brown and grey feathers. Lochwinnoch has a great visitors centre too.
28. Loch of Spynie, Moray – Reed Bunting
Cared for by Moray Bird Club, the hide at Loch of Spynie is ideal for watching ducks during the winter and terns during the spring and summer. Keep your eyes peeled for reed buntings hopping between the stalks in the surrounding reed bed, especially the males with their distinct black heads.
29. Speyside Wildlife Hide, Rothiemurchus – Pine Marten
One of the most thrilling experiences in Scottish wildlife watching – arrive at dusk and make your way into the spacious and comfortable hide to wait for night time visitors – including pine martens and badgers. Really special and a trip you won’t forget.
30. Loch Garten, Strathspey – Capercaillie
You have to get up very early in the morning but, during the spring, the RSPB runs ‘Caper Watch’, when visitors can use its hides to watch capercaillie displaying. Loch Garten is better known as the spiritual home of the osprey, but the capercaillie are worth seeing too.