BBC Winterwatch returns to our screens at the end of January, this time broadcasting from The Dell of Abernethy, right here in the Cairngorms National Park!

Presenters Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan and Gillian Burke will be following the fascinating wildlife of Strathspey and the Cairngorms, observing how it lives in and adapts to the harsh winter environment of the Cairngorms.

With a wealth of interesting species right here on our doorstop, the presenters will surely be spoilt for choice over which wildlife to feature. There are, however, some firm favourites that we’ll fairly sure will get a mention.

Red Squirrels

Unlike many small mammals, squirrels don’t hibernate. Instead they stash their food in the Autumn to prepare for the winter ahead. One of our favourite red squirrel facts is that they can hide their stash in up to 200 different places…. we often wonder how they can remember where they all are! While they are less active in the winter to conserve energy, squirrels can often be seen at Loch an Eilein in the winter – stand still on the path and listen for the scratching of the claws on the bark high up in the treetops or visit one of our new squirrel feeders stocked with special squirrel food (near the car park).

© Neil McIntyre


These largely nocturnal animals gorge on food during the Autumn to accumulate body fat reserves for the winter. Badgers also don’t hibernate, but since they don’t need so much food, they spend much of their time sleeping in their sett during the winter. Speyside Wildlife offer Wildlife Watching Experiences in a purpose built hide located within the ancient forest on Rothiemurchus which offer the perfect opportunity to observe these unique animals year round.

© Speyside Wildlife

Crested Tits

Winter is a great time to spot these distinctive birds as they tend to feed on lower branches and visit the ground more frequently to forage for food. Our feeder at Loch an Eilein is often frequented by Crested Tits as well as a variety of other bird species making this a great place to visit for winter bird viewing.

© Neil McIntyre

Pine Marten

Pine Marten can be hard to spot, usually preferring the cover of woodland and heights of the treetops. They are, however, another regular visitor to Speyside Wildlife’s Rothiemurchus hide making their night time Wildlife Watching Experience a must do for anyone keen to get a closer look at these shy and elusive animals.

© Speyside Wildlife

Red Deer

The largest of the UKs land mammals, these impressive looking animals are a firm favourite with visitors to Rothiemurchus. Our Feed the Deer Experiences are a truly magical experience the whole family can enjoy – get up close and personal and hand feed Red Deer with our of our friendly Rangers as your guide.

© Neil McIntyre


BBC Winterwatch starts on 29th January at 8 pm on BBC 2