Autumn Tour 2019

 

The Autumn Tour!

With Birding Ecosse

Thursday 24 to Wednesday 30 October 2019

(6 nights -5 Day)

**** This Tour is now Full ****

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!

Red Throated Diver

Saturday

 Highland Birds

This is a “must do” trip when you visit the Highland 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.

The Highlight at this time of year for many people are the fantastic views we get of Crested Tit.  In extreme cold they have even been known to come down and feed off your hand! It is not uncommon to have three or four individuals hopping around your feet, whilst the more common Coal Tits have no such reservations and will fight and clamour all over you to get to the seed, it is a magical experience, and no matter how many time I do this it always gives me a buzz!

Snow Buntings are another sought after speciality bird.  And the high tops and car parks are the perfect place to pick up these wee beauties, present throughout the winter they also come readily to seed, and standing with a nice hot coffee in a wintertime wonderland watching them go about their daily lives is something quite special.

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 one of 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 and provide lots of food for the above raptors.

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

Pick up 0815 – Drop off 1630

Sunday

The stunning Bay at Poolewe.

Today we head over to the glorious West Coast of Scotland and some of the most beautiful scenery on mainland UK, Birding en-route.

                                                                                        Black Throated Diver

Arriving on the West Coast we expect to see Red, Black and Great Northern Divers, very often close to shore, Red Breasted Mergansers and Goosanders loaf about on the water giving great comparisons.  The Lunch time stop is always a great location allowing us to scan remote Inlets and sheltered bays, what will they turn up?

This area regularly turns up both White Tailed and Golden Eagle so always keep your eyes scanning the skies!

Not forgetting the small stuff either! Here we stand a great chance of Twite,  So all in all a great day out.

Pick up 0800 – Drop off 1730/1800

Monday

The Moray Coast

The Moray coast, as yet a much undiscovered and unexplored Gem in the Highlands of Scotland’s bird watching scene. Beautiful fishing villages perched right on the coastline, historic castles steeped in local folklore, Typhoon Jets from the RAF giving a bit of excitement and of course 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 being seen in double figure numbers. Red, Black and Great Northern Divers are all relatively common and White Billed Divers are becoming more and more regular.

Long Tailed Duck

Long Tailed Duck

Waders are another draw to this stunning coastline, Purple Sandpipers are seen on nearly every trip, Turnstones, Sanderlings, Redshanks and Knot are all common.

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 as well. 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 is a brilliant way to bring on your bird identification skills along with your year list.

                                        Tuesday 

Udale Bay

Merkinch – Black Isle

Situated here in the beautiful Scottish Highlands wintertime on the Moray Firth and Black Isle is a magical time of year. Tide and weather permitted we start the day off with a walk in a local nature reserve, the exposed mud flats attracting hundreds of Ducks, such as Wigeon, Teal and Eider we may be lucky and see the regular overwintering American Wigeon. Winter plumaged Slavonian Grebes loaf about just offshore whilst Waders feed in the seaweed strewn pools and sand banks. And who knows, we may catch a glimpse of the local Otter family as the glide effortlessly among the seaweed beds just off the beach or perhaps catch the flash of blue of a Kingfisher.

Red Breasted Merganser (female)

After this we head over the Firth to the Black Isle, one of my favourite Birding Spots. From Sandy Beaches, mud filled tidal bays to fields and fields of arable farmland it is a cracking place to see a vast array of Species.  The area holds one of the largest and most easily viewable flock of Scaup, sometime numbering several hundred, Long Tailed Ducks mingle with Red Breasted Mergansers and Common Eiders. Several Thousand Pink Footed Geese roost in the area, right in front of the best hide in the Highlands and with a careful check we may pick up Brent, Barnacle, Canada and White Fronted Geese as well, and not to be outdone by the first location we may encounter our second American Wigeon of the day!

A Tollie Red Kite

The mixed habitat attracts large Finch flocks to the areas, Brambling and Yellowhammer mingle with Chaffinch, Greenfinch and Linnets and only in 2016 the area turned up a Siberian Accentor!

Pick up 0800 – Drop Off 1700

*** 6 Nights Full Board, 5 Days fully guided Birding Trips all for just £925 per person***

So what is included?:

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

5 Full days Birding.

Delicious packed Lunch on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday

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

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