The Scottish Highlands has some of the most diverse and unique wildlife in Europe. In particular The Cairngorm area boasts a wealth of mamals, birds, flora and insects that can only be found in the mountains lochs and forests of this National Park.
Having lived in the area for many years and gaining excellent local knowledge, I can offer you guided walks to appreciate many wonderful species. Knowing exactly where and what will be the best time of year or even day can help (but not guarantee!) your chances of seeing some remarkable wildlife.
If you are a keen photographer like myself then this is an excellent way to get those special images that you have always longed for!
The wildlife tours I provide will give you a whole day of walking and appreciating the forests, moors and mountains of this beautiful part of Scotland.
As with all my days out and courses, they are bespoke and tailored to everyones differing needs.
I can offer everything from high mountain days or lower level, much easier trips which will give lots of time for your photographing and observing.
Below are just some of the beautiful wildlife you are likely to see on one of my guided wildlife walks.
Ptarmigan, Lagopus mutus
My favourite bird and the name given to my company (Tarmachan is the Gaelic spelling). Only found on high ground, above 550m and only in The Scottish Highlands. The Cairngorm mountains has the biggest population of these wonderful mountain birds. A member of the grouse family their plumage turns to white in the winter months. They actually have 4 molts through the year and well camouflaged. When the weather is wild and windy they dig themselves a small hollow in the snow or hide behind the many rocks and boulders scattered on the hillsides. I love photographing these characters, they are often on the ground so good opportunities for some nice photography. Having studied them for many years I have got to know almost exactly where they can be easily found. Join me on a guided walk and photography workshop in the Northern Cairngorms. As we can drive up to a high car park there isn't too much walking involved to get sight of them.
Snow Bunting, Plectrophenax nivalis
Another regular sighting to see high up in The Cairngorms. This hardy wee bird is alway a delight to see and especially pleasing is it's song call in Springtime.
Dotterel, Charadrius morinellus
Yet another rare and beautiful bird in which you get a very good chance of observing in the Cairngorm mountains. This migratory plover returns to the high plateau of The Cairngorms every Spring to breed. By late summer it returns to West Africa. On the 'Red' status by the RSPB. We must be aware not to interfere with their habitat and so should always observe them from a safe distance. Often mistaken for Golden Plover, these birds are actually very different. Another beautiful and unmistakable song and call.
Mountain Hare, Lepus timidus
Also known as Blue Hare, White Hare, Snow Hare, Alpine hare and Irish Hare! Only found on high ground, mountains and moorland. The Romans introduced the Brown Hare to Britain which forced the Mountain Hare onto higher ground where they can now hold their own. There are small pockets to be found in other areas of Britain but once again The Scottish Highlands is the best place to observe these wonderful characters. One of the fastest mammals in the UK, reaching in excess of 40mph. Their coat changes to pure white in winter for camouflage.
Capercaillie, Tetrao urogallus
If you are really, really lucky we may get to see this unmistakable forest bird. A member of the grouse family and in real danger of extinction. Loss of habitat being the main cause of it's demise in the UK. The Cairngorms again being the best place to see this unique bird.
Osprey, Pandion haliaetus
One of the great success stories of a bird species increasing. Almost persecuted to extortion, thankfully with a lot of dedication and hard work it's numbers are slowly on the increase. A migratory bird from the west coast of Africa, nesting and breeding in the Scottish Highlands every summer. The 'famous' sites of Loch Garten and Loch of the Lowes are great places to see these magnificent birds of prey close up. If you prefer to get away from the visitor attractions and TV monitors then a day looking at the Osprey at a couple of places I know is a great experience.
Red Squirrel, Sciurus vulgaris
Everyone loves a red squirrel! These super cute animals are an absolute joy to watch. Scotland is the main stronghold for the indigenous squirrel. The American grey as yet to encroach upon The Highlands and drive out the Red.
Slavonian grebe, Podiceps auritus
One of the finest and most distinctive of the grebes on our shores. This migratory as several breeding sites in the Cairngorms. For a relaxing morning or afternoon why not join us for some very easy walking amongst fine scenery and get to see this spectacular bird.