Ythan Estuary

Aberdeenshire | Newburgh | Wildlife reserve | ★★★★

[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), with fabulous sunsets from the upper estuary's Waulkmill hide. 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. This is one of the best spots for watching the pinnipeds anywhere in the UK; only once out of our several visits have the seals been absent here, so the odds should be in your favour too as long as 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 (15/1/12)]

Location & info

📌 Waulkmill hide ★★
Off minor road 3 mi west of Collieston, G.R.: NK 003290 ///arise.describes.brownish
Always open | Free

💬 Car park by the hide is accessed by a rough track signposted from the Bridge of Forvie.

📌 Ythan seal colony ★★★★
South bank viewpoints are at the mouth of the River Ythan, half a mile southeast of Newburgh, G.R.: NK 006244 ///mostly.posed.lifeboats
Always open | Free

💬 From the car park at the end of Beach Road, follow sandy paths east or southeast, 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 (2/9/12)]


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