Birding in Perth and Kinross by Scott Paterson, Perth & Kinross Recorder
Perth and Kinross offers a wealth of good birding in a variety of wonderful habitats, from montane and upland species in Highland Perthshire, to wildfowl and waders in superb wetlands. An ornithological highlight of late autumn in Perth and Kinross is the arrival of tens of thousands of wildfowl at wetlands within easy reach of Perth. Loch Leven is 30-minute drive, heading south from Perth down the M90, and can hold exceptional and spectacular numbers of wildfowl, particularly Whooper Swan and Pink-footed Goose. Searching through the massed ranks of wildfowl can prove rewarding, with Great Northern Diver and up to 15 Slavonian Grebe recorded in recent years. Best viewpoints are at Burleigh Sands near Milnathort, Kirkgate Park in Kinross or Findatie on the southern shore. Of course, the RSPB Loch Leven reserve (formerly known as Vane Farm) is well worth a visit and can be excellent for wildfowl and waders, plus there’s a good chance of connecting with a White-tailed Eagle from the East Scotland re-introduction programme.
Carsebreck Loch is another fine wetland well worth a visit. Located 20 miles south west of Perth, just north of the A9 near Blackford, it is an excellent wetland with an impressive birding pedigree boasting records of Red-necked Phalarope, White Stork and Long-tailed Skua in recent years, in addition to good numbers of wildfowl.
Closer to the ‘Fair City’ is Scone Palace, which lies two miles to the north of Perth on the A93 and is justifiably renowned for the population of Hawfinch which frequent the Palace grounds. The best approach is to search is the Hornbeams at the north end of the grounds, following the main ride towards the Palace. Nuthatch, which is rapidly colonising the county, can also be seen in the grounds.
Immediately east of Perth lies Kinnoull Hill, where a series of splendid woodland walks offer a good chance of seeing Peregrine and Raven.
East from Perth towards Dundee, Port Allen near Errol provides a chance of seeing Bearded Tit and other wetland and reedbed specialities. Green-winged Teal and Smew are regularly recorded here. Further west along the Tay towards Dundee, Invergowrie Bay can sometimes produce Little Gull, Avocet and Spotted Redshank. A hide overlooks the bay, and a walk along the shore towards Kingoodie can also be rewarding, with Little Egret and Red-throated Diver recorded here in recent years, along with a good variety of waders such as Spotted Redshank and Ruff possible.
The following sites are listed in the publication Where to Watch Birds in Scotland (by Mike Madders and Julia Welstead):
* Burleigh Sands
* Kirkgate Park
* RSPB Loch Leven Nature Reserve
* River Tay at Perth
* Scone Den
* Tay Estuary – Port Allen
* Loch of the Lowes
* Loch Faskally
* Ben Vrackie
* Linn of Tummel
* Rannoch Forest
* Rannoch Moor
* Stormont Loch
* The Hermitage
Visit the SOC Tayside branch page
Find out our recommended birdwatching sites across Scotland. Visit our Where to birdwatch pages
Visit the Perth & Kinross recording area page