Where to see wildlife in Scotland

Grey seals on the West Hoyle Bank in the Dee estuary

You have decided you want to visit Scotland – what a fantastic decision! Scotland is a country to explore for many reasons: breathtaking scenery, local delicacies, and its wildlife. Our favourite reason is Scotland’s wildlife! Here at Wild Alba Tours, sharing where to see wildlife in Scotland is our passion.

Here are a few special species you might like to see on your Highland adventure to Moray Speyside this year:

Seals at Findhorn Bay
Newburgh: young common seal
Photo by Martyn Gorman

Both the Grey and Common Seals can be spotted at Findhorn bay. The Grey Seals (the ones with the longer snouts) on the bay are generally easier to see as they are much more numerous than the smaller Common seal. It is a fascinating site seeing both grey and common seals on the sand on either side of the mouth of the bay when they haul themselves and shimmy out at low tide. As many as 300 or more seals have been sighted at any one time!

If you enjoy walking your four-legged friends on the beach (like we do!), Findhorn Village Conservation Company charity asks all those who enjoy the beautiful area to be respectful of the wildlife.

Findhorn Bay is part of the Moray and Nairn Coast Special Protection Area, a designated RAMSAR site, a national Site of Special Scientific Interest, and a Local Nature Reserve. Findhorn’s seal population are also heavily protected. Basically, this means we are fortunate to have an extraordinary place for nature and it is important we look after it to ensure its future survival.

There are plenty of spots along the bay that are close enough to appreciate the magnificent mammals, yet far enough away to not cause any disturbance.

Crested tits at Abernethy Forest
a european crested tit perched on a stem
Photo by Erik Karits

If you want to experience an old, wild, and immeasurably special part of the Scottish Highlands, Abernethy Forest (near Aviemore) is the place to visit. It is said that Abernethy Nature Reserve is a place so extraordinary that it can feel like another country. Certainly, this is something you don’t want to miss!

One of the must-see native species at Abernethy Forest is the little but mighty crested tit. A Caledonian pinewood specialist, the soft trilling of the distinctive crested tit can be heard as you walk on the forest trails.

Harebell at Ballindalloch Estate
Harebells Beside the M25
Photo by Glyn Baker

Known as the bluebell of Scotland, the harebell is a national favourite. With its papery petal and delicate appearance you might think the harebell is a fragile little thing. You would be wrong. In fact, it is incredibly hardy and it needs to be given the dry, open and windswept places it grows. The grassy acid grasslands found on Ballindalloch Estate are the perfect home for the harebell.

Our Ballindalloch wildlife tour in late summer (Jul, Aug, Sep) is an excellent opportunity to see the flowers in the wild.

Cairngorms Dark Sky Park

Pull on a warm jacket, pop a hat on and grab a cup of your favourite hot drink. It’s time to let the night sky capture your heart.

Even on a blustery November night, it is worth visiting Ballindalloch in the Cairngorms Dark Sky Park to watch the twinkling stars. Our day-time guided walking tours are exclusive, meaning you get to choose a date and time that suit your schedule – all the more reason to stay up late and soak up some beautiful starlight!

Hello Angle Shades

Since we switched on the heating, we’ve made a new friend at Wild Alba Tours HQ. We found this Angle Shades moth sat on the office blinds!

Look who came to say hello!

Widespread across the UK, Angle Shades resemble a dried-up leaf, complete with crinkled wing edges and muted colours. Its caterpillar foodplant includes bramble, nettles, ivy, and tree leaves such as silver birch, hazel and English oak.

Unfortunately, our office isn’t one of the exclusive tours we offer🙃

Don’t worry, you won’t wish you were in our nature-friendly admin space when you know how much wildlife you could see on our #guidedtours!

Our guides cannot wait to bring you closer to nature – make a booking enquiry with us today!


Elder trees are ladened with berries here in the Highlands.

The richly coloured sour berries grow from late summer to autumn and provide a tasty meal for mammals like bank voles and birds like the mistle thrush. It was said that an elder planted by your house would keep the devil away. Luckily, we have one at Wild Alba Tours HQ ready for Halloween. Phew!

Have you spotted an elder tree with berries this autumn yet?

Magical Rowan

Of all the autumn spectacles, the changing colours of the rowan tree is a big favourite. The more common Scots Gaelic name is caorunn (pronounced choroon, the ‘ch’ as in loch).

In the Highlands, the rowan is steeped in folklore. It was seen as a tree of protection against witchcraft and enchantment.

Look out for the tiny five-pointed star at the tip of the berries. This charming characteristic may have contributed to its protective reputation.

Book your EXCLUSIVE autumnal experience with us today!

Fantastic Fungi

wildlife-tour-scotland-ballindalloch-bay bolete-mushroom-wild-alba-tours

As the leaves begin to drop, up pop the mushrooms!

Today we came across the shiny topped Bay Bolete (Imleria badia). As a native fungus, it is commonly found in Scotland, particularly beneath Pine, Oak, Beech, and Silver Birch.

Tell us what your favourite fungus is in the comments!

Dog friendly things to do in Scotland

funny dog sitting on grass with leash in mouth

Dog friendly things to do in Scotland 🐾

Are you searching for activities to do with your doggos on your holiday in Moray Speyside? You have come to the right place!

We know how special it is to share experiences with our four-legged friends. That is why most of our wildlife walks are dog friendly (look out for the happy dog stamp on our website). We look forward to meeting you and your furry best friend.

Share with your dog loving friends and family!

What the heather do you mean?

Do you know your cross-leaved heath from your ling and bell? Wild Alba Tours is here to help you learn about Scotland’s plant life.

Imagine a vast purple hillside in Scotland. You would think that just one plant was responsible for creating such a memorable late summer spectacle. When you have the opportunity, take a closer look… You will discover subtle differences in shades of purple, leaf, and flower shape. A little confused? Don’t worry. Wild Alba Tours is here to help!

Sara-Jane exploring the heather on Ballindalloch Estate.

At the weekend, we introduced you to the types of heather found on Ballindalloch Estate. Our guide, Sara-Jane, shared her knowledge on the sexy world of heather-promoting soil and what management techniques are needed for these plants to create a healthy place for wildlife to live.

Fancy yourself a heatherTASTIC experience? Head on over to our website to book your tour today!

If you love Moray Speyside as much as we do, there are lots of fun and educational experiences to fill your time. For more information on things to do, click here.

The USA meets The Highlands


Join us in Ballindalloch on our Woodland Wildlife & Heritage Tour today!

We were delighted to welcome Eugenia and Rick who travelled all the way from Washington DC to experience the beauty of the Highlands.

Our first (almost) wild encounter was Miss Ethal, The Haugh Farm’s jolly Gloucester Old Spot. The rummaging nature of the pigs helps wildflower seeds and tree nuts to get cosy under the soil. Over time, this allows parts of the woodland to thrive.

The birch wood came alive as we made our way upward toward the open heather hill. It was butterflies galore! A couple of the species we spotted include the striking Scotch Argus and the lovely Speckled Wood.

A morning walk with Wild Alba Tours would not be complete without a cup of tea and shortbread. Looking over Ballindalloch estate we sipped our tea of choice and nibbled our sweet treat as we admired the sunny landscape.

What Eugenia and Rick had to say:

We very much enjoyed the walk learning about the role of the pigs in the forest and the various plants and animals. Really like Wild Alba Tours’ stewardship and education message. Happy to recommend Wild Alba. 

Eugenia and Rick, Washington DC, USA

If you too would like to experience natural wonders on our Woodland Wildlife & Heritage walk, please get in touch.

Hill Walks in the Cairngorms

We are happy to announce that Wild Alba Tours and Cairngorms Glamping and Camping have partnered to create a special wildlife and heritage walking tour in the Cairngorms National Park.

Join us on a guided wildlife tour around Cairngorms Glamping and Camping’s beautiful highland grounds in rural Aberdeenshire today!
To find out more click here
Hill Top Walk at Cairngorms Glamping and Camping in Summer