The area now occupied by Culbin Forest used to be farmland, with the village of Culbin at its centre. However, a succession of storms caused the village to be overwhelmed by sand, which also engulfed the farmlands. The Forestry Commission created a forest here in the 1920s, and over the years this has become a haven for some of Scotland's most iconic wildlife species: ospreys, wild cats and the largest game bird in Britain, the flamboyant capercaillie. Those visiting during the Spring months may be lucky enough to witness the capercaillie's entertaining mating ritual, which consists of a good deal of preening and showing off of feathers accompanied by a cacophany of popping and "drumming", sounding for all the world like some strange piece of modern percussion music.
As for the shoreline adjoining the forest, there are dunes and an RSPB Reserve called Culbin Sands where twitchers can clock up species such as shelduck, ringed plovers, velvet scoters, bar-tailed godwits, greylag geese and knots. Winter is a particularly good time to visit, when the sands provide a safe haven for waders and sea ducks and are visited by pale-bellied brent geese.
Map of the area.
© 2009 Shardalow, via Wikimedia Commons