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RSPB launches special mountain "grouse-watches" for wildlife enthusiasts

Last modified: 06 October 2014

Ptarmigan, male moulting, Cairngorms National Park, Highlands

Ptarmigan are often seen on CairnGorm Mountain

Image: Tom Marshall

RSPB Scotland has launched its Autumn programme of wildlife visits to CairnGorm Mountain. The programme provides visitors with the chance to see some of the area’s most sought after wildlife including black grouse, ptarmigan and snow buntings. The Glenmore Grouse Watches begin at 6.30am to maximize the chance of seeing the famous “lekking” display of black grouse at a traditional lek site. The viewing takes place at a purpose-built stone viewing butt at the Coire na Ciste car park on the CairnGorm Mountain road where an RSPB guide will be on hand to help point out the birds.

Following this early morning rendezvous visitors may wish to take a trip up the CairnGorm funicular and a guided walk down to explore the mountain for other species such as the mountain-dwelling ptarmigan and snow bunting.  Spaces on the walk are limited so prior booking is essential see www.cairngormmountain.org/birdwatching-2 for more details and prices.

RSPB guide Brad Chappell said, “Although it’s an early start, the experience of seeing this wildlife at such a special time and in such a special place is quite unique and very memorable. The grouse species are very charismatic birds with distinctive calls and habits while the snow buntings, with their white-flecked wings, are true Arctic birds and very special to see. It is also, of course, a truly magnificent location to see wildlife amid the mountains and Caledonian pine forest.”

The event takes place at a number of dates in October and early November. For the latest information please check out: www.rspb.org.uk/highlandblackgrouse.

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