The following is a rough guide to birding on Findhorn Bay and the surrounding area. Much of it is very dependant on the tide, with the best times usually 2-3 hours either side of low tide. However, even at higher water there are still some areas that are good particularly where the waders are roosting.
Burghead Bay from Findhorn beach. Best area tends to be east of the car parking area. In winter plenty of Velvet Scoters, Common Scoters, Long-tailed Ducks, Eiders and Divers.
Findhorn east dunes area is often used as a roost at high water for waders such as Dunlin, Ringed Plover and Golden Plover. The point at the mouth of the Bay is also sometimes used as a high tide roost for the Dunlin and Ringed Plover during the spring.
Foreshore south of Findhorn will usually contain large numbers of Redshank in winter together with a few others such as Dunlin and the occasional Greenshank. Along the village foreshore a group of around 30 Turnstone can usually be seen in winter. In summer it is a good area to watch Ospreys fishing. Whimbrel can sometimes be seen on the sands and grass near the bird hide. The channels running along the eastern half of the Bay will usually have plenty of Goldeneye and Mergansers in winter.
The south east corner of the Bay by Kinloss village will usually contain good numbers of Black-headed and Common Gulls feeding by the channels. Waders on the sands will include Golden Plover in winter and Black-tailed Godwits when they are on passage in spring and autumn. It is also an important high water roost for many waders including Curlew as it is one of the last parts of the Bay that gets covered on an incoming tide.
The central area of the Bay is the main feeding area for large numbers of waders at low tide, including Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Knot and Sanderling. Oystercatchers and Curlew will be widely scattered around the Bay. Bar-tailed Godwits feed by the channels in the northern central area.
The Mosset Burn will usually have a number of wildfowl in winter such as Teal, Wigeon and Mallard. The grassy areas either side will often have significant numbers of Geese feeding in spring. The southern end of the Bay is also the main overnight roost for Pink-footed Geese during the winter.
The southern shore of the Bay is a good area for waders just as the tide is receding. At low water there is less to see, although most of the Shelduck will stay along these sands in winter. On the fields near Netherton Farm there are often Lapwing, and Grey Partridge can sometimes be seen by the hedgerows. Also worth checking the pools on the southern edge of the embankment – Green Sandpipers are occasionally seen here.
The western side of the Bay has the main gathering of Wigeon and Pintail in winter as well as Mergansers and Goldeneye. Probably best viewed from the village at lower water levels. As the tide rises most of these duck will move back to the southern end of the Bay.
The channels of the Findhorn River in the south western corner are some of the hardest to get to but some of the birds that can be seen here include Little Grebe, Common Sandpiper, Greenshank, Grey Wagtail and on rare occasions Kingfisher, Little Egret and Spoonbill. In winter there will also be good numbers of Teal, Mute Swan and Grey Heron present.