Ythan Estuary

[Seals on the Ythan Estuary]

The Ythan isn't a particularly large river, but it balloons in size to the east of Ellon as extensive areas of mud flats open out either side of the main channel. This is a hotspot for wading birds (winter), breeding eiders and terns (late spring and early summer). For many visitors, though, the main attraction is the seals, which often haul out in their dozens as the tide falls at the mouth of the estuary. Only once out of our several visits have the seals been absent here, so the odds should be in your favour too - just pray there aren't any walkers with dogs around, which can scare them off. The sands form the southern part of Forvie National Nature Reserve: the massive dunes to the north are well worth exploring too.

[Sunset at Waulkmill hide (January 2012)]
Name: Waulkmill hide ☆☆☆
Description: Good viewpoint on the upper estuary for spotting wading birds, with fabulous sunsets.
Location: Off minor road 3 miles west of Collieston, G.R.: NK 003290 / arise describes brownish
Anything else? Car park by the hide is accessed by a rough track signposted from the Bridge of Forvie.

Name: Ythan seal colony ★★☆
Description: One of the best seal-watching locations in the country, where seals haul out on the beach opposite Newburgh golf club.
Location (viewpoint): South bank of the mouth of the River Ythan just south-east of Newburgh, G.R.: NK 006244 / mostly posed lifeboats
Anything else? From the car park at the end of Beach Road, follow sandy paths east or south-east, then south once on the beach itself, a few hundred metres to the best viewpoints.

[The seals haul out on the opposite bank, but often swim closer (September 2012)]

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