How to spot unusual birds during your wintry walks this festive season

Scotland is home to more than 550 species of birds, but during the winter months, populations swell with the return of thousands of migratory visitors.

Top ten birds to spot during winter walks over the festive season from robins to pink-footed geese NatureScot

As the temperatures get colder and the temptation to stay indoors rises, the last thing many Scots will want to do over the festive period is go outdoors.

However NatureScot is encouraging Scots to bundle up for a spot of birdwatching over the festive period.

While Scotland is home to more than 550 species of birds, the winter months see thousands of migratory visitors popping into gardens and wooded areas.

From skies full of geese honking their arrival from Svalbard and Iceland to the chatter of thrushes, drawn to Scotland from continental Europe on the promise of well-stocked berry trees, winter brings a host of bird species to admire in Scotland.

As the festive season approaches, NatureScot ornithologist Dave Parish says its a great time to bundle up for a frosty walk with loved ones in order to spot some unusual species.

Redwing bird in Dumfries and Galloway.NatureScot

Mr Parish believes birdwatching is the perfect low-cost activity to incorporate into wintry walks over the festive period, and say people may be surprised at the variety of birds they are able to spot.

“Winter is a great time for birdwatching, especially if you’re new to it,” he said.

Grey Partridge in snow. NatureScot

“Many trees and hedges will have dropped their foliage, making it much easier to spot birds among the bare branches.

“Birdwatching is an easy, low-cost activity that anyone can try, and you might be surprised by the variety of birds you can spot in your garden or local park.”

Mr Parish added that it can be a chance to “switch off” from the pressures that come with the festive season.

Top ten birds to spot in Scotland

NatureScot has collated a list of winter birds that can be spotted during the winter months in Scotland.

The agency has ranked the birds in terms of difficulty to spot, from the easiest (one) to the hardest (ten).

  1. Robin
  2. Blue tit
  3. Blackbird
  4. Fieldfare
  5. Redwing
  6. Pink-footed goose
  7. Redshank
  8. Whooper swan
  9. Grey partridge
  10. Waxwing
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