There is plenty of wildlife to be seen in and around the Forres area. Wild deer can be seen grazing in fields, red squirrels are so common there are signs on the road to alert you, and birds of prey fish in the rivers, lochs and seashore.
As you might expect, there is also plenty of marine wildlife to see from the shore and by taking a boat trip.
Dolphins, seals and even whales can be see from the shore, and there are regular tours by local experts that take you into the places where animals make their home.
There are plenty of opportunities for birdwatching in the area. With a mix of farmland, sea cliffs and shallow tidal basin, the area is home to many species.
Read more from our guest writer, David Slater, who runs birdwatching trips locally, about birdwatching.
The coast around Findhorn to Burghead is a good spot for sighting dolphins. You’ll get a better chance if you go to a promontory such as Burghead, or further afield at Fort George or Rosemarkie.
However, undoutedly the best chance of seeing them close is a boat trip from Findhorn, Nairn or Lossiemouth.
These are operated by North 58º Sea Adventures, and provide the best opportunity to see the friendly creatures which are sometimes just a few metres from the boat.
There are nearly 200 dolphins in the Moray Firth, and they often swim in groups, known as pods, sometimes leaping out of the water or catching fish by flipping them into the air.
Marine wildlife abounds
Dolphins isn’t all you’re likely to see. Large whales have been spotted and are occasionally beached in the shallow waters along the beaches round here. It is no coincidence that there is a Whale Disentanglement Unit based at Findhorn.
Seals, sharks and porpoise
Common and grey seals are plentiful, and can often be seen on the west side of Findhorn Bay lying on the sandbanks in large groups.
Basking sharks are to be seen floating under the surface, and nearer to inlets and estuaries, look out for harbour porpoises. They’re easy to confuse with dolphins, but much smaller, and more shy.
The River Findhorn along by Randolph’s Leap is an important area for wildlife and is designated a Special Site of Scientific Interest (SSSI).