March 2020 – Weekend

March 2020

 A Highland Weekend getaway

With Birding Ecosse and The Grant Arms Hotel

Thursday 19 to Monday 23 March 2020

“Seabird Special”

*** Only 2 Spaces left ***

 The magnificent Grant Arms Hotel, Grantown on Spey

Join Birding Ecosse for a fantastic  weekend at the luxurious 4* Grant Arms Hotel situated in Grantown on Spey, deep in the Scottish Highlands.

On this weekend we are concentrating on Seabirds, especially Sea Duck, Grebes and Divers.  March is the prime month for picking up White Billed Divers in the Moray Firth and visiting well known sites gives us the optimal chances of connecting with this Arctic Species.  So don’t delay, book one of the four spaces on this Birding Ecosse’s  “Focus On Seabirds” weekend.

Thursday

Arriving on Thursday afternoon, why not settle in over a couple of “local brews” in the Hotels superb Capercaillie bar prior to you enjoying your evening meal in the beautiful  1  Rosette dining room.

Friday

Sleeping Long Tailed Duck (Male)

The Moray coast, as yet a much undiscovered Gem in the Highlands of Scotland’s birdwatching 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 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 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. 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.

Saturday

                                                                                       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 we will be searching for Slavonian Grebes in full breeding plumage (viewed safely from public hides and viewing area’s) and Ospreys all newly arrived from their wintering quarters.

                                                                                           Black Throated Diver

Arriving on the West Coast we expect to see Red, Black and Great Northern Divers, some will be in their Stunning Breeding Plumage and very often close to shore, Red Breasted Mergansers and Goosanders loaf about on the water giving great comparisons.

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, Early Northern Wheatear, Whinchat and Stonechat.  So all in all a great day out.

                                                                                  Pick up 0800 – Drop off 1730/1800

Sunday

Brent Geese, Photo by David Burliegh

Situated here in the beautiful Scottish Highlands early Springtime on the Moray Firth and Black Isle is a busy 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. 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.

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!

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 £595 per person!***

So what is included?:

4 nights full board at the Grant Arms Hotel, Grantown on Spey.

3 Days fully guided birding

Maximum of 4 clients.

Delicious packed Lunch on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

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

All transport on outings

All guiding fees.

Use of binoculars if required.

What’s 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