• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Rattray Head - BirdForum Opus

Stub.png This article is incomplete.
This article is missing one or more sections. You can help the BirdForum Opus by expanding it.

Photo by TWM
Rattray Head


To do


Notable Species

SEA WATCHING: Birds seen offshore include Cory's, Great and Manx Shearwaters, Surf Scoter, Little Auk, Mediterranean Gull, Great Northern Divers( up to 20 in early Spring), Storm Petrel etc etc.

There is usually a Peregrine Falcon sitting on the Lighthouse on the railing by the light.

MIGRANTS: The list of birds seen at Rattray is Mega, however since the expansion of the St Fergus Gas Terminal there has been a considerable reduction in the number of migrants seen at Rattray in both Spring and Autumn.

For migrants the garden of the lighthouse Cottages are good as is the area between the B&B and the dunes, beyond the concrete gun shelter. In Spring (late April to June) there is often a flooded area towards the dunes which is good for Waders and Ducks. Bluethroats were regular in early May but haven't been seen so often lately. Red-backed Shrike is regular as is Eurasian Wryneck, Icterine Warblers turn up most years and last year (2008) a stunning male Rosefinch put in a brief appearance. Redstarts, Flycatchers (including Red-breasted) and Warblers can usually be found after an east wind and some rain.

In the Autumn (late August to early November) Yellow=browed and Barred Warbler are regular. Dusky Warbler and Arctic Redpoll (to name just a couple) have been seen there.


Steller's Eider (years ago), Bonaparte's Gull,

Temminck's Stint, Garganey, Green-winged Teal and even White-winged Black Tern have been seen in the flooded area.

Rarer Spring birds include Greater Short-toed Lark, Little Bunting, Rustic Bunting, Subalpine Warbler, Greenish Warbler etc.


Birds you can see here include:

To do

Other Wildlife

There are good numbers of Grey Seals to be seen with up to 80 frequenting the rocks north of the Lighthouse at low tide. Bottle-nosed Dolphins are regularly seen as they commute between the Moray Firth and Deemouth. In late summer Minke Whales are usually seen--just look for 'feeding frenzies' of seabirds and a Minke might well appear.

Site Information

History and Use

It is likely that the Lighthouse attracted birds to Rattray in the past but now St Fergus is lit up like Blackpool Illuminations and there can be little doubt that many migrants make landfall inside their security fence nowadays.

Areas of Interest

Photo by TWM

The road takes you past the South end of the Loch of Strathbeg and there is a car park by the ruined Church from which you can view the Loch. Birds which have been seen from here include Barrow's Goldeneye, Snow Goose, White Stork, Great Grey Shrike, Crane, Rough-legged Buzzard, Sea Eagle, Avocet, Smew etc etc.

Access and Facilities

Rattray Head is in Aberdeenshire between Peterhead and Fraserburgh. To get there take the first turn to the right north of the St Fergus gas terminal, by Greenmyre Cottage turn right and follow the road to Rattray head.

Beyond the Church (see Areas of Interest) the road is NOT good with lots of potholes but all but the lowest of Sportscars will not have a problem (just take it slow).

After just under a mile you will arrive at Rattray Head, just beyond the Lighthouse Cottages B&B (highly reccommended) is a small car park.

Contact Details

To do

External Links


It is a great patch and midweek most times of the year you have about 10 miles of beach to yourself (except for me).

Content originally posted by TWM