Known as the ‘Valley of Raptors’, Findhorn Valley is a secretive glen hidden away in a spectacular corner of the Scottish Highlands. Surrounded by steep cliffs on all sides, it attracts a huge diversity of birdlife including ring ouzel, dipper, and curlew. The real draw, however, is the sheer number and diversity of raptors that the valley attracts. Kestrels, ospreys, peregrines, merlins, buzzards, white-tailed eagles, and golden eagles can all be found soaring above the valley sides. A perfect combination of accessible yet remote, Findhorn Valley is a special place, and of the best spots to see golden eagles in all of mainland Scotland.
Average rating: 4.5 (very good)
Average cost: free!
Best time to visit: the Scottish Highlands are spectacular at any time of year. The (notoriously bad) weather is best from May to September although the warmer months are also the most midge heavy. If you want good weather and no midges go for May or September.
How to get there: the valley is around 10 miles from Carrbridge in Speyside. To get there you need your own vehicle. Take the A9 north to Inverness and turn off at the road signposted to Findhorn Bridge. Follow the small, single-track road through the valley along to Coignafearn where you can park.
Typical activities: bird watching, walking
Number of reports: 2
WILDLIFE IN Findhorn Valley
According to reports submitted to WildSide, the most popular species that can be seen here are:
Golden eagle – 50% OF WILDSIDE USERS (1/2) REPORTED SIGHTINGS
You can spot golden eagles at any point in the valley. Visitors often spend their time driving up and down the single lane track trying to get lucky (we didn’t)! If you head to the end of the track at Coignafearn there is a nice spot where you can park your car, have a picnic and a cup of tea, and wait with the other birders for the eagles to appear over the ridge.
The best chances of spotting eagles are sunny days when they can be seen out soaring on the thermals. Check out this nice sighting on YouTube. It’s also worth looking out for ravens which often mob eagles – especially if there’s a deer carcass up on the ridges of the valley. It can be tricky to tell eagles apart from buzzards so check out this useful guide.
Photo credit: WildSide team member Chris White