Wildlife in and around Speyside
Speyside is a natural haven for lovers of wildlife and the great outdoors. You do not necessarily have to brave the elements to see rare species. We often spot Ospreys over the fish farm at Rothiemurchus from the bar of The Old Bridge Inn at Aviemore!
A sighting is more likely at the Abernethy Forest Nature Reserve Osprey nesting site from a specially equipped and unobtrusive visitor centre. Ospreys have nested here every year since the early 1960’s and are resident between April and September with offspring from late May onward. You may also see other rarities like the Capercaillie, Crossbill or Crested Tit from the lookout posts if you are patient.
red deer in winter sunshine
You will often see Red deer on the hills or Roe deer moving quietly through the scrub. Watch out for the latter on minor roads at dusk – they have a nasty habit of leaping out from woodland fringes. You never quite know what you might see next. Just this year, travelling to the river, I have seen a Goshawk, Merlin, Peregrine Falcon and Hen Harrier.
When on the river Avon look out for the turquoise flash of a Kingfisher, an Otter boiling in the tail of a pool at dusk and the rustling of a Red squirrel in the bankside trees. If you are very fortunate you might see a Pine Marten.
In the upper reaches of the Avon, Spey and Findhorn look out for Mountain Hare, Red deer, Sika deer, Ptarmigan, Peregrine and even the Golden Eagle. A day on the river is never just about fishing.
Down at Spey Bay there is always movement of Salmon in the lower river. Keep a lookout for Ospreys overhead and Bottle nose Dolphins out in the Moray Firth.
The Moray Firth Wildlife Centre on the estuary’s east bank is an excellent Visitor Centre and vantage point and is well worth a visit.
Other helpful Links:
Thanks to Peter Keyser Photography and Mike Boyd Photography for their stunning wildlife photographs.