The Cairngorms National Park is in the Highlands of Scotland and is the largest national park in the UK, it is home to many rare species of birds, animals, and plants. The Cairngorms National Park has a hugely diverse landscape from heather moorlands and peatlands, ancient Caledonian pine forests, wetlands and rivers, and a vast wilderness at its plateau and is a fantastic place to watch wildlife. Most of our lodges have bird feeders and many species visit everyday, the main places to watch birds and wildlife are Loch Garten and Insh Marshes although you will see them everywhere even at the side of the road.
Loch Garten, Abernethy
Abernethy is a nature reserve that protects an ancient landscape around Nethy Bridge and Boat of Garten. Within Abernethy is the Loch Garten Nature Centre which is the perfect spot to experience this amazing forest and fresh water loch. It is renowned for its breeding population of ospreys. The team are very helpful and there are boards in the centre and online with what to look for and what has been spotted that day and when. There are exhibitions, daily talks and family activities so something for everybody and a good place for anybody wanting some advice on how to look for birds and wildlife. The centre shop sells gifts, binoculars, books, sandwiches, snacks and hot drinks. Outside the hide there are bird feeders where you can spot siskins, chaffinches, and great spotted woodpeckers, and sometimes crested tits and Scottish crossbills.
Insh Marshes is an (The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) RSPB reserve and a haven for wildlife all year round. It is a vast flood marsh with wet meadows and pools and an important area for both breeding and overwintering birds. Breeding waders include lapwings, redshanks, curlews, and snipe, while whooper swans, wigeons, greylag geese, and tufted ducks visit for the winter months.
In spring you can see osprey fishing in Loch Insh and the River Spey, as well as buzzards circling overhead, and during autumn and winter look out for hen harriers who gather to roost. There are beautiful birch and aspen woodlands, home to woodcocks, great spotted woodpeckers, redstarts, and tree pipits, and in summer be sure to visit the gorgeous wildflower meadow where hundreds of orchids grow.
Anagach Woods, Grantown on spey
Anagach Woods is a beautiful native Scots pine wood in the northern hills of the Cairngorms National Park. There are plenty of well-marked trails through the woods where you can see capercaillies, crossbills, crested tits, and woodcocks. Along the River Spey at the edge of the woods look out for grey herons, dippers, goosanders, as well as dragonflies, otters, and an abundance of wildflowers.
In autumn, the woods are a great place to forage for mushrooms and blaeberries, and spot a deer amongst the trees, or a red squirrel tucking into nuts that the rangers leave out for them.Back to all posts