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Top 5 locations to see wild birds in the Highlands and north-east


By Features Reporter


The north and north-east is a haven for wildlife, especially birds. Here are some of the top spots to see them in action

Black grouse at Corrimony.Picture: Andy Hay (rspb-images.com)
Black grouse at Corrimony.Picture: Andy Hay (rspb-images.com)

Corrimony, near Cannich

Set in stunning moorland and Caledonian forest, the RSPB Corrimony reserve, near Cannich is a treasure trove for anyone who loves birds. In fact, this beautiful reserve is visited by some of the UK’s finest, ranging from black grouse to Scottish crossbills, crested tits to soaring golden eagles. In woodland and moorland black grouse have ‘lek’ sites where the males put on an extraordinary display. You can see black grouse all year round and in spring, you may see them in the larch trees and woodlands. The reserve is open all year. www.rspb.org.uk

Red kites can be seen at Tollie.Picture: Ben Hall (rspb-images).com
Red kites can be seen at Tollie.Picture: Ben Hall (rspb-images).com

Tollie Red Kites, near Dingwall

Tollie Red Kites visitor centre provides close-up views of this graceful bird of prey, re-introduced to north-east Scotland after being absent for decades. Visitors can see volunteers feed the birds every day from a specially-converted farmstead building, an ongoing partnership between RSPB Scotland and the Brahan Estate. www.rspb.org.uk

Ospreys are magnificent birds of prey.
Ospreys are magnificent birds of prey.

Loch Garten, Strathspey

These magnificent, fish-eating birds of prey have been nesting at Loch Garten since the 1950s and can be viewed from the comfort of the Osprey Centre. The wider reserve and woodland trails are open all year round and the centre is open from April 1 to the first Sunday in September. There are also nest and feeder cameras.www.rspb.org.uk

Puffins have made a home at Drum Hollistan.
Puffins have made a home at Drum Hollistan.

Drum Hollistan, Caithness

Puffins are among the most popular species to be captured on camera by visitors. Why? Let’s be honest, it’s because they are extremely cute. Caithness is one of the best places to view them. Try Drum Hollistan – or Puffin Cove – just off the north coast between Melvich and Reay.

Gannets are among the species that nest at Troup Head.
Gannets are among the species that nest at Troup Head.

Troup Head, near Crovie

Troup Head is a coastal reserve offering the visitor a walk over clifftop grassland full of wildflowers to view a wonderful seabird spectacle. Colonisation by gannets, starting in 1988, increased its significance as a birdwatching site, making it until recently Scotland’s only mainland gannet colony. The first gannets and fulmars start returning in mid-January. There are several other species including kittiwakes. www.rspb.org.uk



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