The Isle of Arran is also known as “Scotland in Miniature” thanks to its diverse range of landscapes and wildlife condensed into one island. Out of all of the Arran wildlife, one of the biggest attractions on the island is the 250 different species of birds on Arran that reside in the craggy hills and green moors. Bird watchers can spend the morning watching Golden Eagles soar above the mountains then hear warblers in the moors in the afternoon. Wherever you go on the island, make sure to bring the three most important items for bird watching in Scotland: a good camera, sturdy hiking boots and a waterproof jacket! As all bird watchers know, location is everything so to help you make the most of your bird watching trip, we’ve prepared the ultimate guide to the best bird watching opportunities in Arran:
Standing 874 meters above the quaint town of Brodick, Goat Fell is one of the best places in Scotland to see Golden Eagles. The island’s compact size makes it easier to spot these magnificent creatures on Arran than anywhere else in Scotland. The lack of foxes on the island also makes Arran a perfect breeding ground for raptors like Buzzards, Peregrines, Merlins and Sparrowhawks. The best time to spot Arran’s birds of prey is during the spring or autumn, when they are most likely to be spotted swooping through the mountainous terrain. If you’re planning on climbing to the top of the mountain don’t forget to bring a camera as you might be lucky enough to catch a photo of one of these fantastic birds against the panoramic views of the island.
Brodick Castle Country Park
You don’t need to climb Goat Fell to see Arran’s birds! At the foot of the mountain is the Brodick Castle Country Park, home to the largest broadleaf woodland on the island. If you take a stroll through the shady woods early in the morning or late in the afternoon you’re likely to get a glimpse of Warblers, Song Thrush, owls and more. If you take a walk from the castle to the nearby shore you can also find Sandpipers, Redshanks and Curlews. While you’re on Brodick Castle grounds, make sure to take a look around the castle and its selection of historic artefacts.
Visit the National Trust for Scotland’s website to find out more about Brodick Castle.
On the southern side of the island, the gentler landscape is home to smaller species of birds on Arran. On a sunny day, find a spot on the sandy Kildonan beach, sit back and watch out for Purple Sandpipers, Dunlins and Ringed Plovers to appear. Although the best time to visit Kildonan Beach is during the summer, you’ll find a large variety of Arran’s birds all year round. If you visit the beach on a clear day, make sure to look out to sea as Arran has been named a site of national importance for migrating Black Throated Divers.
Kildonan Beach is also an ideal base for exploring the nearby moors on the southern side of the island. If you travel just a few minutes inland, there are fantastic opportunities to spot wild Harrier Hens and Warblers in their natural habitats.
If you’re planning to visit Arran, take a look at our fantastic range of holiday houses and holiday cottages in Arran.