From the bitterness of the snow-swept Arctic Cairngorm plateau to the milder south-western coastline, Scotland’s winter climate is diverse.
The mountains of the Highlands are home to one of the hardiest birds in Scotland. Reflecting its winter habitat, the plumage of the ptarmigan is completely white. In the region’s glens and forests, the courting season begins for red squirrels and wildcats and wildcats have a very distinctive screeching mating call which can often be heard on still nights.
In the Cairngorms in particular, reindeer can be spotted who start to shed their antlers at this time.
At lower levels across Scotland, specifically around Spey Bay, the Montrose Basin and around the Solway Firth, huge numbers of geese, swans and ducks can be found. During January and February, look out for the impressive sight of courting ducks including mergansers, goldeneye and eider.
Towards the end of winter, mountain hares moult their white camouflage winter coat to reveal a brown coat for spring.
For more information about where to view wildlife in Scotland, visit Wild Scotland and the Scottish Seabird Centre.