Royal Deeside and the Cairngorms is home to some of Britain's rarest and most spectacular wildlife. Braemar Highland Safaris offer spectacular half day land rover safaris deep into the heart of the Cairngorm mountains. Contact them for wildlife activity holidays and breaks.
Golden eagles are resident in the area and can often be seen in the skies in areas such as Glen Muick, Glenshee and Upper Donside. Ospreys are becoming more widespread and can be spotted fishing at Muir of Dinnet National Nature Reserve, along the River Dee and at many of the small fishing lochs in the area. .
The magnificent and endangered capercaillie is found in our pinewoods, along with the Scottish crossbill - a bird that is unique to the Cairngorms. Our higher mountains are home to species such as dotterell, ptarmigan and snow bunting and you should also be able to spot mountain hares, which are fairly common in areas such as Glen Muick, Morrone Hill near Braemar, and Gairnshiel on Donside.
Our lower moorland terrain supports large numbers of red grouse and breeding populations of hen harrier, golden plover, dunlin and short-eared owl. You may also see crag-nesting species such as peregrines and ravens on our rocky hillsides and steep corries.
Magnificent red deer frequent the higher ground throughout our area. In October, the hills can reverberate with the roars of rutting stags as they clash antlers and vie to maintain their herds of females. Particular vantage points include Glen Muick and the main A93 road between Braemar and Glenshee Ski Centre. Watch out - deer sometimes come down onto the road creating a somewhat unusual traffic hazard. If you come face to face with a huge stag in the middle of the road, stay in the car and let him decide when you can drive on!
If you are lucky you may glimpse otters, pine martens and even wildcats in our pinewoods, which are also home to red squirrels. Once widespread throughout the UK, their numbers have been steadily declining so that Royal Deeside is one of the last places where they can be seen frequently.
They are smaller than the more common (and less attractive) grey squirrel and can sometimes be seen in local gardens raiding the food put out for birds.