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Osprey flying into nest

© Dan Brown

Royal Deeside, Cairngorms

Pine Martens to Puffins — Summer Wildlife in Deeside

The Best of Highlands & Aberdeenshire 21-23 June 2023 Pine Martens, Beavers, Eagles, Ospreys, Red Squirrels, Grey Seals, seabird cities and much, much more await you on this 3-day guided wildlife tour.

  • Both Rachael & Dan as leaders even with groups of four (best leader:guest ratio around)
  • This is a self-drive tour
  • Golden & White-tailed Eagles, Ospreys, Peregrine & Goshawk are all possible
  • Incredible invertebrates including Northern Brown Argus, Dark-bordered Beauty and White-faced Darter
  • Exploring some of the best bits of Caledonian Forest remaining in Scotland holding rare plants such as Twinflower
  • Search for Mountain Hares and Ptarmigan on the peaks
  • Explore further afield for Beavers and Bottlenose Dolphins, and Puffins within the huge seabird colonies
  • Great chance to pick up identification and photographic tips
  • Every one of our short tours donates to an exciting, local conservation project
  • BEST VALUE wildlife experiences on a budget that suits you
Deeside is the undiscovered side of the Cairngorms National Park. This royal valley is home to swathes of Caledonian forest that hug the fringes of munros and shelter the delightful villages of Braemar and Ballater. It is also a haven for wildlife and the perfect place to get a real feel for just how diverse and spectacular wildlife is in Scotland. 

Day 1:

We will start the day looking up to the central massif of the Cairngorms surrounded by Caledonian Forest. Here Scottish, Parrot and Common Crossbills may be found whilst Red Squirrels scamper along the boughs. Torrents of water descend from the peaks through dramatics clefts and one cannot help but be awed by the landscape. Golden and White-tailed Eagle can both be found as well as Peregrine. Herds of Red Deer graze the hillsides whilst in the valley bases we should find Roe Deer. As we ascend we will search for Red Grouse, Mountain Hare, Ring Ouzel and a number of Arctic-alpine plants. In the late-afternoon we will explore the fringes of the southern side of the national park, an area where Eurasian Beaver have taken hold and with any luck we will see them out foraging.

Day 2:

In stark contrast to the previous day we will head east to the coast, home to hundreds of thousands of seabirds. Guilliemot, Razorbill, Fulmar and Kittiwake cram the ledges full and we will look out for Puffins as well. All along the coast we will keep our eyes peeled for Common and Grey Seal as well as the resident pod of Bottlenose Dolphins and maybe even Harbour Porpoise. 

Moving north we will explore an exceptionally rich estuary, dune and farmland area where we can hope to see a variety of wading birds, thousands of breeding Sandwich, Common, Arctic and Little Terns and a large haul out of Grey and Common Seals. Eider breed in large numbers and are occasionally joined by a King Eider. The agricultural areas along the coast are home to Corn Bunting, Tree Sparrow and Grey Partridge whilst the sand dunes should be alive to the sound of Skylarks and abuzz with insects over the wildflowers. 

Day 3:

Our final full day will be spent back in Royal Deeside where we will enjoy the foothills of the Grampians home to Green Woodpecker, Redstart, Tree Pipit, Cuckoo, three species of Crossbill, Merlin, Fallow, Red and Roe Deer and with luck the enigmatic Black Grouse. Ospreys hunt for fish along the River Dee and over the lochans whilst Dippers forage in the riffles. The forests are home to a variety of fascinating plants including Twinflower, Creeping Ladies Tresses and Intermediate Wintergreen. Capercaillie lurk in the quietest corners and in open glades we may find Northern Brown and Scotch Argus butterflies. We will also explore some stunning glacial relics including a fine kettle-hole surrounded by rich Caledonian forest and Aspen stands where we can hope to find Adders and a number of dragonflies and damselflies.

Optional extra: We can arrange a visit to a Pine Marten and Badger viewing hide for an additional charge. Contact us for details. 

Why not add additional days to this short tour and tailor it to your wildlife preferences?

Wild Discovery Short Tours: Great for your budget, sensitive to your health

For the full itinerary refer to our website here.

Info coronavirus

Safe Travels

Cet établissement a confirmé et garanti sa conformité continue envers les protocoles de sécurité du World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC). Le label « Safe Travels » repose sur l’auto-évaluation de l’établissement concerné et ne constitue donc pas une certification.

À partir de £325 par adulte

Dates de départ

  • Lundi
  • Mardi
  • Mercredi
  • Jeudi
  • Vendredi
  • Samedi
  • Dimanche

Mai — Juillet


Wild Discovery

4 Fergach Cottages
AB35 5UL

Tour information

Point de départ

  • Aberdeen
  • Balmoral


3 Days


  • Self drive

Type de circuit

  • Bespoke
  • Private
  • Small Group (1-16)


  • English


  • Adventure
  • Outdoor Activities
  • Photography
  • Walking
  • Walking/Hiking
  • Wildlife

Covid 19 Facilities

  • Advance booking essential
  • COVID-19 refund and cancellation policy in place
  • Capacity limit
  • Online booking only


À partir de £325 Par adulte

Réserver maintenant

Les prix peuvent varier selon la saison

Étapes de l’excursion

Wild Discovery

Information sur le prestataire

Wild Discovery

A pioneering wildlife-watching tour company run by experts for wildlife enthusiasts. Conservation and sustainability are at its core; travel with purpose, tread lightly and experience more. Founded by husband and wife team Dan & Rachael Brown, they bring passion and expertise to every expedition. Reconnect with nature through our fully inclusive, small-group tours, self-drive short breaks or custom-made tours around Scotland and beyond.

Horaires d'ouverture

Open all year.

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