TAYSIDE AND CENTRAL SCOTLAND
The extensive enclosed estuary of the South Esk river. Virtually untouched by industrial development and pollution, the reserve provides a rich feeding ground for thousands of resident and migrant birds.
Location: The Wildlife Centre is on the A92 Montrose to Arbroath road just one mile south of Montrose. Well signposted.
Animals: eider duck, pink-footed and greylag geese.
Opening Times: 1st April-31st Oct Daily 10.30am-5.00pm. 1st Nov-31st March Daily 10.30am-4.00pm
Facilities: Wildlife Centre, ranger service. Parking. Toilets.
Contact: Montrose Basin Wildlife Centre, Rossie Braes, Montrose, ANGUS, DD10 9TA.
Tel: 01674 676336
NB - the Centre will be closed until 31 March 2003
During this period, contact telephone number is 01674 810709
Isle of May
Lying at the mouth of the Firth of Forth, lighthouses on the Isle of May have been a beacon to seafarers for centuries. It now serves as an important centre for research into the ecology of the many birds which breed there.
Location: Access is by ferry from Anstruther in the East Neuk of Fife. Ferry times vary depending on tides, call for sailing times on 01333 310 103. Allow one hour each way for ferry crossing, and two to three hours on the island - five hours in total.
Animals: 200 bird species - puffins, guillemots, razorbills, fulmars, kittiwakes, shags, terns and passage migrants, including a number of records of rare species.
Opening times: May-September, though June-July is highly recommended for birdwatching as this is peak breeding season.
Facilities: Scottish Natural Heritage staff meet the boat party and give advice on touring the island. There is a small visitor centre with toilets. Well-marked paths allow easy access to most of the island. Suitable for the slightly adventurous wildlife enthusiast and family. Take waterproof jackets as the weather is very changeable!
Contact: Scottish Natural Heritage, 48 Crossgate, Cupar, Fife KY15 5HS. Tel: 01334 654038
Loch of the Lowes
The Loch of the Lowes Wildlife Reserve is one of Scotland's most popular sites for watching ospreys.
The reserve covers 98 hectares, nine tenths of which is open water, fringed with semi-natural deciduous woodland and sheltered bays.
Location: The reserve is situated 16 miles north of Perth, 2 miles north-east of Dunkeld, just off the A923 Dunkeld to Blairgowrie road (signposted).
Animals: osprey, otter, roe deer, red squirrel, variety of wild- and water-fowl.
Opening Times: Open April to September inclusive, 10am-5pm, except mid-July to mid-August when hours are 10am-6pm.
Facilities: The star attraction from early April to late August is a pair of breeding ospreys. Telescopes and monitor allow observation of osprey family life. Parking. Toilets.
Charges: A contribution of £1.00 per adult and 50p per child is requested for entry to the Visitor Centre.
Contact: Loch of the Lowes Visitor Centre, Dunkeld, PERTHSHIRE, PH8 0HH. Tel: 01350 727337.
This is one of the most popular RSPB nature reserves in Scotland. The visitor centre overlooks the loch where pink-footed and greylag geese, whooper swans and thousands of ducks spend the winter. The wet grassland is managed for nesting redshanks, snipe, lapwings and ducks. One trail leads visitors to hides overlooking the loch. The second, longer nature trail guides visitors through woodland to the view from the top of Vane Hill. A summer walk often gives views of willow warblers, tree pipits and perhaps great spotted woodpeckers.
Location: Leave M90 at junction 5 near Kinross. Visitor centre 3 miles along B9097 at RSPB Vane Farm.
Opening times: Reserve open at all times; visitor centre open daily, 10am-5pm. Closed 25th/26th December and 1st/2nd January.
Facilities: Nature trails, hides. Visitor centre with observation room. Refreshments. Toilets. Parking.
Contact: SNH, The Pier, Kinross KY13 8UF. Tel: 01577 864439.
RSPB, Vane Farm Nature Centre, Kinross KY 7LX. Tel: 01577 862355.