Best time to travel to Scotland

Osprey Watching in Scotland

Once ospreys seemed to have left Scotland forever, but a pair of the fish-eating birds returned to the Highlands and restored its population

Best time: April–August

Osprey Watching
Osprey Watching

In the 19th century, these beautiful birds disappeared and were no longer found in the UK. A true miracle happened in 1954 when a pair of ospreys came to Loch Garten and these two restored the osprey population in Scotland. Today Loch Garten is considered a natural reserv​e and a hotspot for oprey birdwatching. The rare fish-eating birds might be also observed in the Cairngorms National Park near Aviemore.

During winter the ospreys fly to Africa but return to the Scottish Highlands starting in April. The greatest chances to spot the wild birds are from June to August, though the prices are also higher in comparison to less costly safaris held between April and May.

Practical info

What is the history of ospreys in Scotland?

By the 1950s, ospreys had returned to Scotland after being nonexistent in the UK since the early 19th century. A great contribution to this was the fact that a couple of ospreys came to the Loch Garten and revitalized the community. Currently, the Loch Garten is a notorious natural reserve, particularly for osprey bird observing. Show more

Where can I go osprey watching in Scotland?

Osprey watching can be enjoyed at the Cairngorms National Park near Aviemore and Loch Garten in the Scottish Highlands. In addition, the Scottish Owl Centre and Loch Insh are also wildlife reserves where osprey watching is possible, but seasonal. If interested in observing the rare fish-eating ospreys, it is wise to check with the locations beforehand. Show more

When do ospreys migrate from Scotland to Africa?

During the winter period, ospreys in Scotland journey to Africa but always return to the Scottish Highlands from April. From June to August is the peak of the osprey migration, making it the busiest season for the observatory. Touring between April and May provides a less expensive and less crowded experience for osprey observing in Scotland. Show more

When is the best time to observe ospreys in Scotland?

For an improved chance of spotting the marvelous fish-eating birds, one should visit Scotland's osprey observatories primarily between June and August, although this season is the busiest and the most expensive. The low season is from April to May with fewer tourists and reduced expenditures. Both periods offer amazing sceneries with fantastic bird sightings. Show more

Are there other wildlife reserves in Scotland that offer osprey watching?

Aside from Loch Garten and Cairngorms National Park, there are additional wildlife reserves where observing ospreys is possible, such as Loch Insh and the Scottish Owl Centre. However, it is vital to note that these locations offer osprey watching exclusively during their respective migration seasons, so it is wise to contact them before visiting. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin