February 2025 – Weekend

 A Highland Weekend getaway with

Birding Ecosse and the Grant Arms Hotel.

  Thursday 30 January to Monday 03 February 2025

***4 spaces available***  

Thursday 13  to Monday 17 February 2025

***4 spaces available***

The Highlands of Scotland are a much overlooked area at this time of year, the sometimes chilly weather and short daylight hours make many think this is not a place to be in winter…. how wrong they are!  Rafts of sea duck loiter just offshore, and they may even venture inside the many harbours in the area giving spectacular views, Golden and White Tailed Eagles are very active in the few hours of daylight stocking up on food before the long winter night settles in, Crested Tit, such a hard bird to see in the hazy lazy summer days jump around your feet at this time of year and hungry Coal Tits will feed out of your hands. So don’t be put off, take the leap of faith and head North, you will not be disappointed!


Arriving on Thursday afternoon settle into your room in the Stunning Grant Arms Hotel, Grantown on Spey, Home of the BWWC,  before enjoying your exquisite evening meal in the beautiful dining room prior to perhaps a few nightcaps in the Hotels “Capercaillie” bar.

Be sure to get a good nights sleep though as the tour starts early tomorrow morning!


The Moray Coast

Male Eider breaching through the surf

Now the Moray coast is not all beautiful Sandy and Rocky Beaches, 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. Winter 2024 saw throng of rarities in area , American Wigeon, Green Winged Teal and this stunning male Smew pictured below.  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.

Drake Smew

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 Throated, Black Throated and Great Northern Divers are all relatively common and White Billed Divers are becoming more and more regular.

Preening 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.

Purple Sandpiper caught by the incoming tide.

Accessibility: No accessibility issues on this tour.                                                                          

Pick up 0800 – Drop off 1630/1700 


Highland Birds

Crested Tit

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.

Red Grouse

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 numerous 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 times I do this it always gives me a buzz!

Crested Tit

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.

Snow Bunting

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.

Backlit Red Squirrel

Accessibility: No accessibility issues on this tour.

Pick up 0815 – Drop off 1630


The Mystical Black Isle


Situated here in the beautiful Scottish Highlands, wintertime on the Moray Firth and Black Isle is a magical time of year. Tide and weather permitting we start the day off with a short walk on 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. Winter plumaged 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 they 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! 2024 Saw the arrival of a rare Snow Goose to the area, not exactly hard to spot in the thousands of Pink Footed Geese it frequented with!

Spot the Snow Goose.

The mixed habitat attracts large Finch flocks to the area, Brambling and Yellowhammer mingle with Chaffinch, Greenfinch and Linnets and in 2016 the area turned up a Siberian Accentor!

A fantastic varied day, with an expected species list of 50+, what a great way to start your new year list.

Accessibility: Todays tour may involve walking on even gravel paths.

Pick up 0800 – Drop Off 1630


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!

***All this for only £780 per person!***

So what is included?

Four 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 Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

All transport on birding days

All guiding fees.

 Complimentary Checklist

Use of binoculars if required.

What’s not included:

Travel To/From Hotel

Drinks at hotel

Personal insurance

Travel Insurance (Recommended)

Items of a personal nature

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