May 2024 – Weekend

A Highland Weekend getaway

with Birding Ecosse and the Grant Arms Hotel

Thursday 09 to Monday 13 May 2024

*** Sorry this tour is now full ***

 

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 “1 rosette for food” awarded dining room.

Friday

Beauly Firth and Black Isle

Situated here in the beautiful Scottish Highlands early Springtime on the Beauly 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.

Slavonian Grebe

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!

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

Saturday

Highland Birds

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

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 v 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. 

Pick up 0815 – Drop off 1700

Sunday

 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.

Accessibility: Todays tour may involve a walk of around 1 1/2 miles on good gravel paths with a small incline towards the lower hides.

Pectoral Sandpiper


The view from the main hide.

Heading to Fen Hide – Chances of Bittern?

Pick up 0800 – Drop Off 1700

***All for just £780 per person***

So what is included?:

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

3 Full days Birding.

Delicious packed Lunch on Friday, Saturday, Sunday.

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

All transport on outings

All guiding fees.

Use of binoculars if required.

Complimentary Checklist

What’s not included:

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.