Stunning new images have highlighted the thousands of wild birds who migrate to a north-east nature reserve from near the arctic circle.
Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has revealed a series of photographs documenting the mass migration of wild birds from Iceland, Greenland and the Norewgian archipelago of Svalbard, near the North Pole, which arrive at Forvie Nature Reserve in Aberdeenshire.
Thousands of waders and wild geese call the north-east beauty spot their home over the autumn.
There are about 5,500 waders, including 12 different species, on the Ythan estuary at the moment along with a variety of other birds.
A Terek sandpiper graced the shores and sand at Forvie earlier this year – the second ever spotted in the north-east.
SNH Forvie reserve manager, David Pickett, outlined the best places to see the wildlife in action.
He said: “The best places to watch them are from the hide at Waulkmill or the two laybys that overlook the estuary north of Newburgh on the A975, where you can use your car as a hide and watch the undisturbed birds.
“There are also good views to be had by parking at the car park at Waterside and walking down the north side of the river on the Dune Trail.
“These fantastic viewpoints make the Ythan one of the most accessible birdwatching spots in Scotland for waders.
“The best time to watch these amazing waders is approaching high tide, as the water is moving the birds closer to you.”
SNH has also released images from nature reserves at Loch Leven, near Kinross, and Caerlaverock, beside Dumfries, to showcase the scale of the migration.
Stuart MacQuarrie, SNH’s head of nature reserves, added: “To see a flock of geese as they lift off from their night-time roost is one of Scotland’s greatest wildlife spectacles.
“It’s such a remarkable aerial display, made even better by the chorus of their high-pitched calls.
“These amazing birds migrate as far as 3,400 miles to reach Scotland for their winter feeding, before returning to more northern climes in the spring.
“And there’s plenty of time for people to come out to one of our nature reserves over the next few months and see this marvellous display for themselves.”
For more information about Forvie, as well as the other 42 nature reserves throughout Scotland, see www.nnr-scotland.org.uk