April 2019 – Weekend

 A Highland Weekend getaway

With Birding Ecosse and The Grant Arms Hotel

Thursday 18 April to Monday 22 April 2019

Spaces available 4  

The magnificent Grant Arms Hotel, Grantown on Spey

Join Birding Ecosse for a long  weekend at the luxurious Grant Arms Hotel situated in Grantown on Spey, deep in the Scottish Highlands

Thursday

Arriving on Thursday afternoon why not treat yourself to a couple of “local brews” in the hotels stunning Capercaillie bar, prior to you enjoying your evening meal in the beautiful dining room.

Friday

Male Long Tailed Duck

Brora, Golspie and Loch Fleet.

Today we head “way up North” to the beautiful Loch Fleet, taking in Brora and Golspie, we may even pay a visit to Hawaii! (this little surprise will be revealed on the day!)

Starting at the quaint village of Brora, we explore the River mouth, a great place to see Little Gulls, along with Knot, Turnstone, Dunlin and Redshanks.  Offshore flocks of Long Tailed Ducks and Eiders mingle with Cormorant and Shags. A great way to start this full day Birding tour in the true Scottish Highlands .

Heading down the coastline, through Golspie where we stop to look for Divers and Auks we arrive at the stunning Loch Fleet. Here we meander around the southern end of the Loch, an area with ample pull over and parking spots, Large rafts of Red Breasted Mergansers winter here along with Wigeon, Teal, Oystercatchers and Shelducks to name a few, it is also a great location to pick up the elegant Greenshank the larger, paler cousin of the more common Redshank. A couple of set aside fields near to the Loch give a great chance of Twite, Linnet, Chaffinch and Brambling.  It has also recently been home to two over Wintering Shorelarks…. An added bonus!

Saturday

A magnificent Golden Eagle, one of todays target birds.

This is a “must do” trip when you visit the Highlands of Scotland!  The day starts off with a visit to a traditional Black Grouse Lek, and at the same time the “Go Back Go Back Go Back” calls of its Red Cousin fill the air.

Next it is off to a beautiful classic Scottish Loch, complete with ruined castle in search of Black Throated and Red Throated Divers, 2018 was the first successful season in four years and it was a great feeling to see these two birds finally get off some young, hopefully securing the breeding in this area.

Calling in at the hotels very own superb hide we will check for the arrival of another speciality, that being the beautiful, colourful and charismatic Slavonian Grebe, before heading South to a hide with the definite “Wow” factor, this is one of the few remaining sites where we might, if we are lucky see Hen Harrier.  Being surrounded by grouse moors they are a very very scarce birdy up here.

We finish the day in a what has to be one of the most beautiful valleys in Scotland, and it is here we will search for two of the “Big Ones” they are White Tailed and Golden Eagles.  This area is probably the most productive sites in this part of Scotland to see these iconic birds, and the reason they are here?  Herds of Red Deer roam the hillside, Britain largest land mammal is very common as its it smaller relative the Roe Deer, we may even stumble across the secretive Sika deer. White Mountain Hare, Brown Hare, Feral Goats and Red squirrel are also often encountered.

Great Birds, great Scenery and fantastic experiences it really is a day not to be missed.

 

Pick up 0815 – Drop off 1700

 Sunday

Gannet

Moray Coast

The Moray coast, as yet a much undiscovered Gem in the Highlands of Scotlands birdwatching scene. Beautiful fishing villages perched right on the coastline, historic castle steeped in local folklore, Typhoon Jets from the RAF giving a bit of excitement and lots and lots of Birds!

This area can host an amazing 25000 Long Tailed Ducks, Rafts of Common Scoter with their scarcer cousins the Velvet Scoter in double figure numbers.  Red, Black and Great Northern Divers are all relatively common and White Billed Divers are becoming more and more regular.

Waders are another draw to this stunning coastline, Purple Sandpipers, Turnstones, Sanderlings, Redshanks and Knot are all common and some will be sporting breeding plumage prior to heading North for their “nuptials”.

Now the Moray coast is not all Sandy and Rocky Beaches, oh no! it has amazing estuarine habitats, fresh water Lochs and plenty of Farmland, woods and scrub to keep us fully occupied on this full day Birdwatching Tour, and it can produce some great passerines. 2017 saw the arrival of a Shorelark, a species not at all common up here in the North, Twite and Snow Bunting are regular and Corn Bunting and Tree Sparrow are easy to find, if you know where to look! All in all a great place to visit and with an expected 60+ species list for the day it a brilliant way to bring on your bird identification skills along with your year list.

 

Pick up 0800 – Drop off 1630/1700

Monday

Give yourself a treat!  Enjoy a long lie before you head down for your last breakfast at the Grant Arms. Sit back and enjoy the memories of the past three full days birding in the glorious Scottish Highlands, and start planning your next trip North!

***All this for only £575 per person!***

So what is included?:

Full board at the Grant Arms Hotel, Grantown on Spey.

Delicious packed Lunch on Friday, Saturday and Sunday

Tea/Coffee morning and afternoon on Friday, Saturday and Sunday

All transport on outings

All guiding fees.

Use of binoculars if required.

Whats not included:

Drinks at hotel

Personal insurance

Items of a personal nature

No deposit required, however the full amount of your weekend must be paid at least four weeks prior to start date (preferably by bank transfer)

Interested?  Then please feel free to contact Birding Ecosse for more information or to book your place.

Please note, spaces are very limited so book early to avoid disappointment