Easter 2023

 

The 2023 Easter Tour!

With Birding Ecosse and the Grant Arms Hotel

Thursday 06 to Tuesday 11 April 2023

**** Only 1 Space remaining ****

The magnificent Grant Arms Hotel, Grantown on Spey

Join Birding Ecosse for a long Easter 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

RSPB Troup Head and Moray Coastline

                                                                 The Stunning Troup Head Gannetry.

Today is one of my favourite outings of the Birding Ecosse itinerary. A trip with Harold and Sofia on the “Seacat” out to Scotland’s only mainland Gannetry. Some 200o pairs call this rugged bit of Cliff home, and it is not just Gannets, Kittiwakes, Common Guillemot (some showing the Bridled form) Black Guillemot, Razorbills, Long Tailed Ducks (on our 2022 Easter Break we had hundreds of Long Tailed Ducks in Summer Plumage, an amazing sight!) and last but not least….. Puffins!
Long Tailed Ducks  (not often seen in the UK in Summer plumage)

The spectacular Gannet feeding “plunge”

Gannet

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

The impressive Bowfiddle Rock at Portnockie

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

Pick up 0800 – Drop off 1700

Saturday

The West Coast 

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.  One coffee stop is 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. We should also expect to see breeding Ringed Plovers as they scurry along the sandy beach. 

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 make a return appearance  and in 2022 as we sat having a coffee a full plumaged Red Necked Grebe was seen offshore.

Not forgetting the small stuff either! Here we stand a great chance of Twite, Northern Wheatear, Whinchat and Stonechat. Plus this is an excellent spot to see Otters playing around just off-shore!  So all in all a great day out.

Pick up 0800 – Drop off 1700

Sunday

Highland Birds

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, whilst at the same time the “Go Back Go Back Go Back” calls of its Red Cousin fill the air.
The Red Grouse – will it achieve “endemic” status in the UK?

Next it is off to a beautiful classic Scottish Loch, complete with ruined castle, in search of Black Throated and Red Throated Divers, sadly these stunning birds are under immense pressure through unintentional disturbance from watersports enthusiasts, fishermen and of course the renowned Scottish weather but hopefully successive breeding seasons may secure this bird as a regular, here is hoping. (The birds will be safely viewed from public roads and viewing points)

Slavonian Grebe, viewed from the hotels very own bird hide.

Calling in at the hotels very own superb hide we will check for the arrival of another specialty, that being the beautiful, colourful and charismatic Slavonian Grebe, before heading up to the high car parks on Cairngorm in search of the newly arrived Mountain Blackbird – The Ring Ouzel.

Male Ring Ouzel  – April 2022

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.

A majestic Red Deer Stag

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

Pick up 0800 – Drop off 1700

Monday

RSPB Loch of Strathbeg

Today we head off to one of the flagship RSPB reserves in Scotland, RSPB Loch Of Strathbeg, hotspot at this time of year for migrants big and small! Yellow Browed Warblers, various waders up to Cranes and White Storks! All have been recorded at Strathbeg. Add to that the resident Wader, Swans, Ducks, Tree Sparrows and Marsh Harriers it really is a great day out (plus we get to use some bird hides, quite a rarity up here!) In 2021 we managed to get Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Greenshank, Redshank, 2 Pectoral Sandpipers and a Grey plover all in the same view of the scope! Amazing birding experience.

Pectoral Sandpiper


The view from the main hide.

Heading to Fen Hide – Chances of Bittern?

Pick up 0800 – Drop Off 1800

Tuesday

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!

*** 5 Nights Full Board, 4 Days fully guided Birding Trips all for just £945 per person***

So what is included?:

5 nights Full board (Dinner, Bed and Breakfast) at the Grant Arms Hotel, Grantown on Spey.

4 Full days Birding.

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

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

All transport on outings

All guiding fees.

Use of binoculars if required.

Complimentary Checklist

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.