We highlight where to find Scotland’s beautiful wildlife in the final part of our feature.
We’ve brought you 50 great places to see the nation’s top creatures, from the fast and the furry, to the beautiful and sleek.
41. Aberlady Bay, East Lothian – Curlew
Britain’s oldest local nature reserve is a beautiful tidal bay, with mudflats and a saltmarsh. There’s a lovely walk over the bridge from the car park up to the beach. It’s a great place to watch wading birds, including curlews, with their long curved bills.
42. Loch Insh, Kincraig – Goldeneye
Goldeneyes are really special birds, small diving ducks that were given a boost by conservationist Roy Dennis, who developed nest boxes for the species. Loch Insh is a great spot to see these birds in the summer, before they head to the coast for the winter.
43. Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh – Kingfisher
An urban setting might seem a strange place to look for an elusive bird like a kingfisher, but the ponds in the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh are a great starting point, especially in the winter.
44. Mar Lodge, Royal Deeside – Snipe
More of a wildlife sound than a sight, the noise made by ‘drumming’ snipe in the spring by vibrating their tail feathers as part of their courtship displays sounds like it comes from another planet. With their long straight bills and bright yellow eyes, snipe look a bit like aliens too.
45. Machair, Outer Hebrides – Great Yellow Bumble Bee
Machair is the Gaelic word meaning low lying, grassy plain. One of the rarest habitats in Europe, machair habitats run up the western shores of Uist, Harris and Lewis and are renowned for their wildflowers, birds and insect life. This is one of only a handful of places in the UK to spot the rare Great Yellow Bumble Bee and the unusual Belted Beauty Moth.
46. Atholl Estates, Blair Atholl – Salmon
Salmon can be seen in the rivers that run through this 145,000 acre estate in Highland Perthshire. The rivers Tummel, Garry and Tilt are all great places to spot these beautiful fish. The Tilt in particular offers stunning scenery and an abundance of other wildlife too. The headwaters of the river are important spawning grounds for the mighty River Tay.
47. Noss, Shetland – Puffin
It’s an adventure getting to the island of Noss – take the ferry from Lerwick then drive across the island of Bressay and finally take an inflatable dinghy across to Noss itself. You won’t be disappointed. If you sit quietly then the puffins will walk past the tips of your toes.
48. Linlithgow Loch, West Lothian – Great Crested Grebe
Beautiful birds, especially during spring, when their crested plummage is on display as they rise up out of the water and do a ‘weed dance’ with their mate. Linlithgow Loch and the surrounding Peel are great places for a walk too.
49. Sea Life Surveys, Mull – Basking Shark
James Fairburns and his dad, Richard, run amazing boat trips, offering guests the chance to see dolphins, porpoises and whales. One of the most dramatic sights from a Sea Life Surveys boat is a basking shark, the second largest fish in the world and a gentle giant that simply sifts plankton.
50. Glenlivet Wildlife, Tomintoul – Mountain Hare
David Newland knows the Glenlivet Estate like the back of his hand and takes guests to the best spots to watch a variety of animals, from black grouse to rutting red deer. One of the highlights of the estate is watching the illusive mountain hare, with its coat changing colours to suit the season.