Spring Tour 2020

 

The 2020

Spring Tour!

With Birding Ecosse

Thursday 09 to Wednesday 15 April 2020

(6 nights – 5 Days)

**** 4 Spaces ****

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

                                                                      The Stunning Troup Head Gannetry.

Today is one of my favourite outings of the Birding Ecosse itinerary. A trip on the “Seacat” out to Scotland’s only mainland Gannetry. Some 1500 birds call this rugged bit of Cliff home, and it is not just Gannets, Kittiwakes, Common Guillemot (some showing the Bridled form) Black Guillemot, Razorbills and….. Puffins!

“Gear Down to land” – Gannet

The rest of the day is spent exploring this beautiful part of the coastline, Bowfiddle Rock, Pennan, Portgordon, the list goes on and on each village has it owns unique atmosphere and characteristics.

What else may we pickup?  Well how about Bottle Nosed Dolphin, Common and Grey Seals and the off chance of a Minky Whale!

(Bad weather alternative if Seacat not sailing will be a walk out to the Colony, a fantastic experience as the Birds glide past at almost touching distance)

Pick up 0800 – Drop off 1730/1800

Saturday

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

Sunday

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, 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.

Monday

The Ythan Estuary, one of the areas birding hotspots.

Today we visit a very new location for Birding Ecosse, the North East Coastline

The Ythan has in recent year been home of Elvis, the King Eider, will he be present in 2020? Who know, but whilst searching for him we will pick up stunning views of Sandwich and Arctic Terns, with a good chance of Roseate Tern as a bonus bird.

Sandwich Tern

Further up stream we visit a small hide higher up the Ythan River, ideal for waders and with luck some early returning birds such as Greenshank may be passing through,  2018 held a pair of spoonbills right in front of the hide!

We Finish the day visiting the main hide and Tower Hide at the RSPB Loch of Strathbeg. Here our target birds will be Black Tailed Godwits and Little Gull.

RSPB Loch of Stratbeg – Main Hide view.

Tuesday

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, some will be in their stunning summer plumage, and Eiders mingle with Cormorant and Shags.

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. Ospreys are a regular in the area at this time of year, the shallow waters of Fleet providing excellent feeding grounds. A couple of set aside fields near to the Loch give a great chance of Twite, Linnet, Chaffinch and perhaps a lingering Brambling.  It has also recently been home to two over Wintering Shorelarks…. An added bonus!

*** 6 Nights Full Board, 5 Days fully guided Birding Trips all for just £985 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