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RSPB Osprey Centre - Cairngorms National Park, Scotland

Great tit ( Parus major ) perched on a tree trunk at the Loch Garten Osprey Centre in Cairngorms National Park, Scotland.

Great tit (Parus major) perched on a tree trunk at the Loch Garten Osprey Centre in Cairngorms National Park, Scotland.

Last month I spent a month in Scotland. It was incredible. I had always dreamed of visiting Scotland, and my expectations were met. Especially in Cairngorms National Park.

Cairngorms National Park is the largest national park in Scotland and located a few hours north of Glasgow. Animals that inhabit the park include roe deer, red deer, fallow deer, reindeer, red squirrels, hundreds of bird species including pheasant and capercaillie, pine martens, lynx, and stoats. I was lucky enough to see quite a few of these species on my trip, but one of the highlights was the photo blind at the RSPB Osprey Centre.

Despite its name, I did not see any osprey while I was there. That was fine with me though, as I was there for red squirrels. Sitting in the photo blind for several hours a day, I never got a photo of a red squirrel in the perfect position I wanted. I did get some photos, however, and also some photos/video of great spotted woodpeckers, a crested tit, and some other small songbirds. You can see the video of them all on my YouTube channel.

Common chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) male perched on a branch, ready for take off at the Loch Garten Osprey Centre in Cairngorms National Park, Scotland.

Common chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) male perched on a branch, ready for take off at the Loch Garten Osprey Centre in Cairngorms National Park, Scotland.

For only £5 adults can get a ticket to sit in the blind throughout the day. I was able to get some great photos, completely filling the frame with even small songbirds. I was using my Sigma 120-300 f/2.8 lens with a 2x teleconverter. There are a lot of staff there that are extremely knowledgeable and often spot small birds and let the guests know what to look for.

Down at the welcome hut, there is a small area where birds and red squirrels frequent a patch of forest. It is free to stand here and easy to get some really close photos, though it is quite dark. This is where I got all of the photos of red squirrels. Fun fact, only in Scotland do a population of red squirrels develop a blonde tail! This makes for great pictures.

Eurasian red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) nibbling an itch in the bend of a tree at the Loch Garten Osprey Centre in Cairngorms National Park, Scotland.

Eurasian red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) nibbling an itch in the bend of a tree at the Loch Garten Osprey Centre in Cairngorms National Park, Scotland.

All in all, I highly recommend visiting the RSPB Osprey Centre if you visit Cairngorms National Park. I spent about four days there total and got some great pictures by doing so. Whether or not you see a ton of wildlife, the park is gorgeous and you will have a great time.