Walking through afforested country can be rewarding, especially if it is in mixed woodland or the indigenous birch or Caledonian Pine areas,as there is every chance of siting wildlife.The more open Pine forests with carpets of Blaeberry can be favourite habitats of Capercaillie or Black Grouse, which are both now endangered species. At tree top level the miniature "Scottish Parrot" or Crossbill can be seen in yellow and orange flocks searching for cones to prise open.
On the forest, floor large ant hills can be found, composed of thousands of pine needles forming a community up to 4ft high. Sightings in summer and autumn of red squirrels and pine martin make a special talking point, whilst, in winter, one is almost guaranteed to encounter roe deer or red deer foraging for food in open woodland. Walking off-track there is a chance of seeing a goshawk or sparrowhawk and buzzards are now very common.The crested tit is another rare bird found in larch and pine forests. Blanket afforestation ,on the other hand, in the form of conifer or spruce plantations can lead to sterile landscapes devoid of wildlife.These impenetratable commercial tree areas with tracks purely for management purposes make orientation by compass and/or map very difficult. OS maps showing forests are soon out of date and sighting distant features for navigation purposes negated by tree height.This is where a GPS can come into it's own if enough satellites can be located in the limited sky "window".
The Forestry Commission, in recent years, have, under Government guidance, laid out waymarked trails through their forests with appropriate explanatory leaflets informative of local flora,fauna and bird life. Access Trusts, too, are advertising recommended walks on websites with downloaded descriptions and maps. landscape photography ScotlandForest Walks | Scotland in Print.co.uk