ORTSOY WAS ESTABLISHED
Pas a burgh in a charter signed by Mary, Queen of Scots in 1550, and is more famous for its worldwide sales of marble jewellery (actually serpentine rock) than its rare birds. But now even foreign birders are heading to this little village for sighting of the White-billed Divers that are regular here in spring. It’s not a one-species village, though, as seawatching has turned up a great mix of Moray Firth classics. Portsoy provides the mainland’s best chance to see White-billed Diver, once only seen in numbers off the Isle of Lewis. Up to 14 seen from the shore is a record, with as many as 20-plus seen from a boat tour up to three miles offshore. This has made the village a must each spring – I was amazed to bump into French birders in 2015, picking There is parking at several sites around the village. Look over the harbour for your first birds.
1 2up such goodies as King Eider and even Harlequin Duck en route to this village. Long-tailed Ducks are often found in good numbers along with Eider, Goldeneye and Common Scoter. Gannets are always passing by from their breeding area to the east at Troup Head and species of terns like Sandwich and Arctic Tern can attract patrolling skuas, with both Arctic and Great Skuas seen at this time of the year. Areas for waders surround the village, such as Links Bay, with common species like Redshank, Ringed Plover, Curlew and Oystercatcher, but the rocks can have both Turnstone and Purple Sandpiper. To the east of Links Bay is a Sand Martin colony, which can attract raptors such as Merlin and Sparrowhawk for you to enjoy. OTHER WILDLIFE Bottlenosed Dolphins in the Moray Firth, plus Harbour Porpoise