The Best of the Scottish Highlands

Saturday 30th May – Saturday 6th June 2020

Red throated Diver 2 Finland and Norway 2015

Beautiful Red-throated Diver in breeding plumage



Come and join our exciting Birdwatching Trip to the beautiful Scottish Highlands where we will be surrounded by some of the very best wildlife watching areas and scenery that Scotland has to offer.

On our tour to this dramatic part of the country, we will visit some of the most renowned bird- and wildlife-watching sites in the UK. We will visit the famous RSPB reserve at Loch Garten to look for Ospreys and with luck we may encounter the elusive Capercaillie. Crested Tits are also resident in these ancient pine forests and red squirrels are regularly encountered. We will also visit nearby lochs where we may see an Osprey fishing, always a spectacular sight, and stunning Slavonian Grebes and gorgeous Black-throated Divers in breeding plumage. We will also take in the beautiful Findhorn valley, which is famous for its Golden Eagles and large numbers of red deer. On another day we may walk the slopes of Cairngorm Mountain to admire the spectacular views, clouds permitting, and may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the elusive Ptarmigan and perhaps a Ring Ouzel. We will spend a day on the Black Isle where our target species will include bottlenose dolphins, and weather-permitting we may take a boat ride for a close encounter with these engaging cetaceans, as well as seaduck, divers and more. We’ll also spend time on the coast around Burghead, looking for more seaduck, divers, skuas, waders and other exciting species.

crested tit

Charismatic Crested Tit, always a delight to see



Of course, as well as red squirrels and red deer, this area also has some other charismatic mammals and we hope to encounter these on our tour. On one evening, we may visit a hide where badgers regularly come in to feed and with luck perhaps a pine martin will put in an appearance too, and we have previously seen otters on the quiet stretches of river in the area. As always with Birdwatching Trips, we will be in touch with all the latest bird news so if any unusual birds arrive, we can add those to our list too. We are sure you will love the area with its wild scenery and spectacular wildlife and with a full week in the area, we will have time to thoroughly explore this stunning region.

Eider 4 Ythan

Drake and female Common Eider



Itinerary

Day 1:

We will start our tour early morning as we drive up to Scotland from our base in North Wales. Guests are welcome to join us in North Wales or we can collect our guests from agreed pick-up points along the way. Alternatively, we are happy to meet you in Grantown-on-Spey, our base for the trip. This is mainly a driving day, though we will break our journey for comfort stops and maybe some birding on the way. We should arrive with time for a walk in the beautiful woods around Grantown-on-Spey to get our bird- and wildlife-list off to a good start. Overnight in Grantown-on-Spey, seven nights.

Days 2-7:

Our exact itinerary on each day will be governed by the weather and the latest bird news. During our time in the area, we will explore the best birding sites and respond to bird news as it comes in. We will of course also be keeping our eyes peeled for our target bird species as well as special mammal residents including red deer, red squirrels, badgers and pine martin. We will visit various sites including RSPB Loch Garten, the Findhorn Valley, Cairngorm Mountain and areas of ancient Caledonian pine forest, the Black Isle, Burghead, Findhorn Bay and more. Overnight in Grantown-on-Spey.

Day 8:

After early morning birdwatching we start our journey south and the tour ends at agreed drop-off points late afternoon.

Red Squirrel 3

Everyone wants to see a red squirrel!



We will stay in a lovely, traditional hotel with comfortable rooms and delicious food: breakfasts are excellent and evening meals focus on local produce. As we know first-hand, the hotel bar also has a wonderful selection of single malt whiskies from around Speyside and beyond, so we may enjoy a wee dram or two as we catch up with our bird list in the evening! Lunches will be enjoyed in local cafes where possible or we may take a picnic lunch to more remote areas. You won’t go hungry as we always have snacks available in the minibus just in case anyone is peckish in-between meals.

Our tour includes:
Seven nights’ en-suite accommodation in a comfortable double or twin room (we are pleased to confirm that there is no single room supplement), all meals (breakfast, lunch and evening meal) from lunch on Day One through to lunch on Day Eight, transport throughout the trip from agreed pick-up points in our comfortable air-conditioned minibus, all entrance fees to reserves, excursions weather permitting as mentioned above, use of our field guides, use of our top-of-the-range telescopes, free loan of binoculars for the trip if requested in advance, eight days’ guiding with both Alan and Ruth, individual checklists of the birds we will be looking for.

Not included are:
Travel to/from agreed pick-up points, all alcoholic drinks, any additional drinks or snacks not mentioned above, any additional excursions not mentioned above, travel insurance, items of a personal nature.

The price for this tour is £1,950.00 per person. We are pleased to confirm that there is no single room supplement.

Red Grouse

Red Grouse watches us



During the tour we will be looking for:

Black-throated Diver, Red-throated Diver, Great Northern Diver, Slavonian Grebe, Fulmar, Gannet, Shag, Wigeon, Teal, Eider, Common Scoter, Goldeneye, Red-breasted Merganser, Goosander, Red Kite, Hen Harrier, White-tailed Eagle, Golden Eagle, Osprey, Merlin, Peregrine, Red Grouse, Ptarmigan, Black Grouse, Capercaillie, Dotterel, Golden Plover, Sanderling, Dunlin, Woodcock, Bar-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Greenshank, Common Sandpiper, Turnstone, Arctic Skua, Great Skua, Kittiwake, Sandwich Tern, Common Tern, Arctic Tern, Common Guillemot, Razorbill, Black Guillemot, Cuckoo, Short-eared Owl, Skylark, Tree Pipit, Rock Pipit, Grey Wagtail, Dipper, Common Redstart, Whinchat, Stonechat, Wheatear, Ring Ouzel, Grasshopper Warbler, Goldcrest, Spotted Flycatcher, Crested Tit, Raven, Hooded Crow, Tree Sparrow, Siskin, Twite, Lesser Redpoll, Crossbills, Snow Bunting, Yellowhammer, Corn Bunting and any other rare or scarce birds that may be in the area at this exciting time. Expect to see around 120 species.

To reserve your place or for more details about this tour, please email us on

info@birdwatchingtrips.co.uk.



Black Guillemot landing

Black Guillemot inbound, check out those red legs and feet!



General Tour Information:

Difficulty:

Easy with optional longer walks. This tour to the Scottish Highlands includes some short walks over uneven terrain. Weather permitting, we may take a longer hike in the Cairngorm Mountains to look for specific target species, but this hike will be optional. Guests must be able to walk up to a mile over uneven ground unaided and be able to get in and out of a standard 9-seater minibus unaided. Please contact us if you have any concerns over your participation.

Payment:

Payment can be made by cheque or electronic bank transfer. We ask for 20% deposit upon booking with the balance due by 70 days before travel. Full details are provided on our Booking Form. Please ensure you also see our Terms and Conditions and Booking Confirmation Statement. We are compliant with the Packaged Travel Regulations 2018 and have Financial Failure Insurance in place to give you and your money the fullest possible protection.

Participants:

This tour will run with a minimum of four and a maximum of six guests. The tour will go ahead provided four guests have booked by 70 days before the start of the tour.

Accommodation:

We will be based in a comfortable hotel in Grantown-on-Spey. All bedrooms have ensuite bathrooms or shower rooms. Bedrooms are on three floors, lift is available and we are very happy to help you with your luggage.

Cancellation:

Please see our Booking Form and Terms and Conditions on Terms and Conditions. Please ask us if you would like us to send you a copy.

Travel and medical Insurance:

You will need to have the correct insurance cover in place for this tour, we will ask you for your policy name and number and emergency claim telephone number before the start of the trip.



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