Finding wildlife in Loch Lomond, Trossachs, Stirling & Forth Valley

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Year of Natural Scotland 2013
Year of Natural Scotland 2013

Celebrate Scotland's natural beauty throughout 2013

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  • Looking over a calm Loch Achray towards Ben Venue
    Loch Achray with Ben Venue in the distance
  • An oystercatcher standing on a beach
    An oystercatcher
  • A red kite soaring high up above Scotland
    Red kite
  • A red squirrel nibbling on some food
    Red squirrel

The rich habitats of Loch Lomond, The Trossachs, Stirling & Forth Valley provide a haven for a variety of wildlife species. Visit nature reserves or take to the many trails and hides over diverse terrain to spot spectacular ospreys, pink-footed geese and waders, as well as red deer, red kites and red squirrels.

The region's many lochs, including beautiful Loch Katrine, and munros, such as Ben Lomond, provide a spectactular backdrop for wildlife spotting in the area. Britain's largest expanse of freshwater, Loch Lomond, has many wildlife trails surrounding it and through the developing woodland at Cashel and at Inversnaid at the end of the B829. Set on the eastern shore of the loch, the RSPB Reserve at Inversnaid provides shelter to black grouse, pied flycatchers and redstarts. You might also see red deer and pine martens in the area.

Head to Gartmorn Dam Country Park and Nature Reserve which is an important site for migratory wildfowl in the winter months or Jupiter Urban Wildlife Centre in Grangemouth where birds, butterflies and wildflowers flourish in this urban nature oasis.These aren't the only species you can hope to see while in the region.

Birds of prey

To the east, but also in the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, Aberfoyle is a good place to begin exploring the huge network of trails in the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park. Ospreys use the area to nest and the The Lodge Forest Visitor Centre  at Aberfoyle has live CCTV of the birds between April and September. You can also see red squirrels, pine martens, buzzards, peregrine falcons and barn owls in these parts. Osprey can also be spotted at many lochs in the park including Lake of Menteith, Loch Eck and Loch Venachar during the summer months. For more raptors, Loch Lomond Bird of Prey Centre near Balloch is home to 28 species of bird including buzzards, hawks, falcons, eagles and owls.

A project run with the help of the RSPB and Scottish Natural Heritage, Argaty Red Kites is central Scotland’s only red kite feeding station and has daily ranger-led visits to the hide along with spring and summer guided walks. The Argaty estate also forms part of the Trossachs Bird of Prey Trail, a 25-mile circular driving route on which you can see up to 13 different species of bird of prey including sparrowhawks and kestrels.

Seabirds and waders

The nature trail at Ardmore Point near Helensburgh was laid by the Scottish Wildlife Trust and offers opportunities for sighting oystercatchers and other wading birds, as well as seals in the water.  Enjoy many different kinds of woodland trails in the Trossachs. Then witness the sheer expanse of SNNR Flanders Moss - the largest surviving raised bog in Britain, located between Aberfoyle and Stirling. View it from interpretation points along the A873, and watch for big pink-footed geese flocks in autumn and winter.