December 2021 – Weekend

 

Enjoy a Highland Weekend getaway

With Birding Ecosse and The Grant Arms Hotel

Thursday 09  to Monday 13 December 2021

*** 4 Spaces available*** 

Thursday – Arrival day

The magnificent Grant Arms Hotel, Grantown on Spey

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

The Beautiful Moray Coast

Male Long Tailed Duck

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.
Purple Sandpiper

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 and in 2020 we were graced with a Grey Phalarope (or Red Phalarope to give it its correct name), 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 rounding out your year list.

Pick up 0800 – Drop off 1630

Grey (Red) Phalarope

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 specialty 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 winter 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

Red Castle and the Black Isle

A stunning Red Kite.

After breakfast we head North over the Kessock bridge, and work our way along a beautiful stretch of hedge and tree lined coastal roads in search of Wintering Thrush and Finch Flocks and Wildfowl on the estuarine marsh edges, this location has turned up some early Brambling for the last three years, as we have our coffee stop at a lovely little sheltered car park we will scan the shallow bays for Pintail and lingering Greenshanks. Then it is on to the mystical Black Isle with target birds such as Divers, Grebes, Ducks (in particular Scaups by the hundred’s) and Waders. We then visit one of the best hides in the area to watch skeins of Geese flight in for their evening roost. A lovely day out in a truly beautiful part of Scotland.

Target birds for the day: Slavonian Grebe, Scaup, Divers and Red Kites

Pick up 0800 – Drop Off 1700

A Frosty Fieldfare

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 £625 per person!***

So what is included?

Three nights Full board (Dinner, Bed and Breakfast) 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.

Complimentary Checklist

Use of binoculars if required.

Whats not included

Drinks at hotel

Personal insurance

Items of a personal nature

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