The Cairngorms is one of the best places in the UK to see wildlife. Due to the mix of different habitat types and generations of low intensity management we are blessed with a staggering 25% of the UK's threatened species.
Some of these species are found nowhere else in the UK. Loch Garten was famously the place where ospreys made their comeback to Scotland. Strathspey is also home to at least 75% of the UK's remaining capercaillie. The woodlands here are host to many other favourite and must-see species (or at least hope-to- see) such as crested tit, wildcat and red squirrel. The high mountain tops are home to golden eagle, ptarmigan and mountain hare all year round as well as snow bunting, some of which stay to breed and dotterel in summer. As well as the glamourous fury and feathered inhabitats, the area is also host to a diverse array of insects, lichen, fungi and plant species.
It is one of the most important places in the UK for aspen, which itself is host to many rare species including the gorgeous dark-bordered beauty moth. Twinflower and alpine sow-thistle are found here along with rare montane willows and the wonderfully named scarlet splash fungi and powdered sunshine lichen. Dragonflies and damselflies are plentiful as are some of the best wood ant colonies in the country. All this in stunning scenery - considering that the National Park is less than two percent of the UK's landmass, you can certainly see why this area is top of the list for many wildlife watching enthusiasts.
So where to start? Take a virtual tour through our habitat menu bar for a few pointers...