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.

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