Wildlife and Conservation


Black Grouse or Black Game (Tetrao tetrix)

The all-black males have a distinctive red wattle over the eye and show a striking white stripe along each wing in flight. They have a lyre-shaped tail which when fanned out and raised shows white under-tail feathers whilst displaying. The smaller grey-brown females have a slightly notched tail.

Grouse are plentiful around the lower ground about Kirkan and the nearby forestry. They are also regularly seen near the sheep circles all year round

Red Grouse (Lagopus lagopus)

The red grouse is a medium-sized game bird. It has a plump body, short tail and a lightly hook-tipped bill. A reddish-brown, it’s legs and feet are covered in pale feathers. Birds breed in the UK in the uplands of the north and west. They are resident all year round, travelling very little distance in their lives living off a diet of Heather, seeds, berries, insects

The best place to see this bird is on upland heather moors... On Strathrannoch the aptly named ‘Grouse Hill’ is an absolute favourite for these elusive birds

The Ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus)

Ptarmigan are found on the high tops of the Estate. The picture above shows one in summer plumage; a mixture of grey, brown and black feathers with white bellies and wings. In winter, it becomes totally white except for its tail and eye-patch, which remain black. They like a Grouse do not travel far and be seen on the estate all year round - if you can find them!

Red Deer (Cervus elaphus)

Red Deer are the UK largest land-mammal. They are reddish brown in the summer and brown to grey in the winter. Males are known as Stags and have antlers. The females are called hinds, and the young calfs. They were originally a woodland dwelling species but with the deforestation of the British Isles, particularly in the Highlands of Scotland, they have adapted to life well on the Open Hill

You will often hear Stags roaring from the Lodge during the rutt. It is an enchanting sound, if a little bit eiry if you ever find yourself out alone. Hinds are also known bark when alarmed which always enhances the trill of the chase on a days  stalking and keeps the Stalker on his toes!

Blue Hare or Mountain Hare (Lepus timidus)

These are smaller than the common brown hare and moult twice a year. Their summer coat is greyish-brown, whilst their winter coat is white with black ear tips. Mountain hares are solitary animals and it is great to see them out in the wild on the Estate

They live in a 'form' (a depression in the ground), under the cover of heather or rock outcrops. You have to be rather quick to see one as once they leave their form they run faster than a bullet out of a rifle