Coastal Culbin provides a superb range of food sources and sheltered habitats for waterbirds and waders to enjoy.

Some species like oystercatcher, redshank and curlew stay here all year round, others fly in to feed and rest in the sheltered saltmarsh and mudflats at particular times of the year.

Permanent residents

Beaks are a giveaway when it comes to what birds eat.  The three species you are most likely to see at Culbin all year round have magnificent beaks: redshanks with their long red bills – and legs – ideal for feeding through the muddy water; oystercatchers probe the mud with their even longer orange bills; and curlews, the largest waders of them all, have elegant curved beaks perfect for finding all kinds of insect life in the seashore mud and sand.

Spring and summer visitors

Spring and summer are great times of year to look for ringed plovers – but watch out for their most basic of nests on the high, dry shingle as it’s easy to step on them by accident.

Migratory terns – sandwich, common and arctic varieties - call at Culbin to feed too, and their aerial acrobatics and splashy plummets into the sea in search of small fish, shrimps and molluscs are delightful to watch.

Spring is also the best time of year to see an osprey as it fishes to feed its young: Findhorn Bay is a favourite haunt.

Autumn and winter crowds

The wettest and windiest time of year at Culbin is also when coastal birdwatching is at its best.  Long-tailed ducks, common scoter, pale-bellied brent geese and other waterbirds such as knot, dunlin, bar-tailed godwit and sanderling arrive here in the Autumn, often in very large flocks, and their aerial displays can be breathtaking.  Dress warmly and enjoy the spectacle!

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) website has images of all the species mentioned above.

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