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Dundee & Angus

House of Dun, Garden & Estate

House of Dun has been a long-standing haven for wildlife. From the twisting, almost gorge-like Den of Dun to the expanses of Montrose Basin, House of Dun is home to many habitat requirements, both cultivated and natural – it’s a dynamic and biodiverse place.

Here are our top five wildlife species to try and spot when you’re out and about on our trails. Each has a ‘how easy to see?’ rating, a fun fact and a top tip for when and where to look.

Pink-footed goose

Often seen (and heard) flying overhead, these elegant birds can also be viewed from the Scottish Wildlife Trust hides south of Dun Farm.

These geese make a 5,000-mile migration and are a signal of the season’s change, arriving in mid-September and departing in early April.

Fact: The Scottish Wildlife Trust have made a handy map to show you how to get to their hides.

A goose stands in a short grassy field, with its head turned towards the camera. It has a short neck and pink legs. Its pink bill has a black tip.

How easy is it to spot?

MEDIUM

Pink-footed geese are seen at Montrose Basin in autumn and winter.

Monterey pine

A close-up of a large pine cone still attached to the tree. It appears almost solid, with no gaps between the cone flakes.

In an area where plants have been introduced from around the world, you might expect to see some odd species here and there. The Monterey pine near to the entrance to Den of Dun is an unusual pine with extravagantly huge cones.

Fact: Monterey pines are native to the coast of California and Mexico.

How easy is it to spot?

EASY

The Monterey pine can be seen all year round – look for the pine cones on the ground nearby.

Common pipistrelle bat

The common pipistrelle bat is a small mammal, but makes up for its size by its spectacular acrobatic flying ability. These animals are frequent flyers at night, and it is a breathtaking spectacle to see them take to the sky at dusk.

They enjoy the woodland environment and use the edges of buildings and trees to collect insects on the wing.

Fact: Common pipistrelle bats can eat up to 3,000 midges in one night!

A pipistrelle bat rests on a brick surface, its wings tucked into its furry body.

How easy is it to spot?

EASY

Common pipistrelle bats can be seen between May and September.

Dipper

A small brown bird with a white chest perches on a rock in a stream.

The dipper is a fascinating bird that feeds on insects below the water’s surface. It is splendid-looking in its chestnut coat with white bib. It has the ability, with the aid of its specially adapted feet, to walk underwater along the river bed.

Fact: Dippers can stay submerged, walking against the current, for more than a minute before coming up for air.

How easy is it to spot?

EASY

Dippers can be seen all year round in the burn that runs through the Den of Dun.

Wood wasp

The giant horntail, or wood wasp, is a large member of the wasp family. It looks quite ferocious but is, in fact, harmless. The female has an ‘ovipositor’, a tube which looks like a stinger but is actually used to ‘saw’ in order to lay eggs in dead or dying pine wood.

Fact: Horntails get their name from the spike at the end of their body.

A large wood wasp crawls along the bark of a pine tree. Its brownish wings are folded over its yellow and black body. It has yellow legs and yellow antennae.

How easy is it to spot?

MEDIUM

Wood wasps can be seen in the summer in the woodlands at House of Dun.