September 2020 – Weekend

 

 

Thursday 24 to Wednesday 30 September 2020

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

Migration Special

*** This tour is now full***

Reserve list now open.

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

It’s life on an ocean wave!

 It’s the first Pelagic trip of the season – All aboard!!

An exciting day ahead as we head over to Ullapool to catch the Ferry across to Stornoway. Witness pelagic birds close up, Manx  and Sooty Shearwaters, Storm Petrels, Skuas and Divers, Puffins and Black Guillemots are all up for grabs.  (please note we do not spend time in Stornoway, it is purely a pelagic trip)

The Bonxie (Great Skua)

Culinary highlight of the trip? A fantastic special hot chocolate with whipped cream whilst watching seabirds!

Target Birds for today: Manx and Sooty Shearwaters, Storm Petrels, All the Skuas, Puffin.

Saturday

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.

A brilliant visit to a much under watched part of the world

Pick up 0800 – drop off 1700/1730

Sunday

The Beautiful Moray Firth

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.                                           

Monday

A beautiful day at Tarbat Ness

A super trip to this migrant Hotspot, stopping off at the beautiful village of Portmahommack we will scan for early arriving Long Tailed Duck and Common Scoter, whilst at the same time searching for migrating Terns, Grebes and Divers.

Next is the bird magnet “Tarbat Ness” and it’s famous lighthouse, here we walk through some rare coastal heather moor where the Local Rock and Meadow Pipits rub shoulders with the perky Stonechats, Coal, Blue and Great Tits are easily seen on the feeders in the car park and Yellowhammers jump through the grass picking up the crumbs.

Linnet

Linnet

RSPB Nigg bay is an outstanding place, and one of the few locations where we can pick up Pintail, loitering Ospreys are also a high possibility, the flooded scrape behind the hide providing the perfect habitat for migrating waders.

A great day in a very underwatched part of the Highlands

Pick up 0800 – Drop off 1700.

Tuesday

Go West Young Man!

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 on their nest.

Black Throated Diver

Arriving on the West Coast we expect to see Red, Black and Great Northern Divers all in Stunning Breeding Plumage and 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 to spend in the company of Arctic and Common Terns at their colony, and using our fantastic Swarovski Scopes (we now have two for our victims to use) it is a brilliant location to get to grips with the subtle ID differences of these problematic birds.

This area regularly turns up both White Tailed and Golden Eagle so always keep your eyes scanning the skies! And not forgetting 2019 when this splendid drake Blue Winged Teal decided to have an extended holiday at Aultbea, who knows he may still be there!

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

Pick up 0800 – Drop off 1730/1800

Wednesday

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 two full days birding in the glorious Scottish Highlands, and start planning your next trip North!

A fantastic break for just £985 per person

So what is included?:

6 nights Full board (Dinner, Bed, Breakfast and packed lunches, see below ) at the Grant Arms Hotel, Grantown on Spey.

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

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

5 Fully guided Birding days.

All transport on outings

All guiding fees.

Use of binoculars if required.

Whats not included:

Transport to and from the Grant Arms Hotel

Drinks at hotel

Personal insurance

Items of a personal nature

A deposit of only £50 is required to secure your place, with the remaining amount of your trip to be paid 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