November 2024 – Weekend

A Highland Weekend getaway

With Birding Ecosse and The Grant Arms Hotel

 Thursday 14 to Monday 18 November 2024

       ***  Only 1 Space remaining ***    

 Thursday – Arrival day

Arriving on Tuesday 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 night’s sleep though as the tour starts early tomorrow morning!

Friday

The Moray Coast

 

The Moray coast, a beautiful and varied area with long sandy beached, rocky shore, Estuary and River, secluded harbours and scrubby dunes and foreshore, ideal for all manner of seabirds and passerines.

This area can host an amazing 25000 Long Tailed Ducks, Rafts of Common Scoter with their scarcer cousins the Velvet Scoter sometimes 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.

Waders are another draw to this stunning coastline, Purple Sandpipers are seen on nearly every winter trip, Turnstones, Sanderlings, Redshanks and Knot are all common.

Purple Sandpiper shaking off the seawater spray

Now the Moray coast is not all Sandy and Rocky Beaches, oh no! It has amazing estuarine habitats, freshwater 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 and in 2022 we were graced with a Grey Phalarope (or Red Phalarope to give it its correct name) 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 rounding out your year list.

Accessibility: No accessibility issues on this tour.

 Pick up 0800 – Drop off 1700   

                         

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.

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 common 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!

Snow Buntings are another sought after speciality 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.

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 is its smaller relative the Roe Deer, we may even stumble across the secretive Sika deer.  Mountain Hare just changing into their winter coats, 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.

Accessibility: No accessibility issues on this tour.

Pick up 0815 – Drop off 1700

Sunday

Brora, Golspie and Loch Fleet.

Greater Yellowlegs
Greater Yellowlegs – A visitor to Loch Fleet in the past, what will it turn up this year?

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, Auks and in particular Scoters where a rare American Surf Scoter may keep company with the more regular Common and Velvets, soon 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 perhaps a lingering Brambling.  It has also recently been home to a stunning Drake King Eider…. An added bonus!

Accessibility: No accessibility issues on this tour.

Monday

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?

4 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 outings

All guiding fees.

Complimentary Checklist

Use of binoculars if required.

What’s not included:

Transport to and from the Grant Arms 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.