Scottish Highlands Wildlife Tour
Saturday 18th - Saturday 25th May 2019 (7 nights - 8 days. This tour can be combined with the 'Mull - Island of Eagles and Otters' tour with a saving of £200 on the combined prices).
Set within the Cairngorms National Park, Grantown-on-Spey will be our base for this exciting wildlife tour. As the name of the town suggests, we are close to the banks of the River Spey which is famous for its fishing. Consequently, birds such as Osprey, Goosander and Grey Heron all take advantage of the Spey's bounty, perhaps being more efficient at catching fish than the anglers that can be seen there. White-throated Dippers and Common Sandpipers are fairly frequent here too.
Remnants of the Great Wood of Caledon is present on the edge of town and a few miles away at reserves like Abernethy Forest and Loch Garten. This scarce habitat holds rare wild flowers as well as Crested Tit and Red Squirrel while some of the lochans will hold Common Goldeneye and Greylag Geese. The high tops of the Cairngorm Mountains will probably still hold areas of snow but there will be birds there too. We will take a gently-paced walk, or more likely the funicular railway, on to Cairngorm itself in the hope of finding the mountain-top member of the grouse family, Ptarmigan and with a slim chance of seeing Eurasian Dotterels which should have arrived from their wintering grounds in north Africa by now. On our 2018 tour we also saw 4 Ring Ouzels on Cairngorm, the first from the car park!
Many of the moorlands close to Grantown-on-Spey are extensively managed for Red Grouse which we could see right on the roadside. This form of management also helps Roe and Red Deer and an early morning outing should enable us to see Black Grouse which will be busily lekking at this time of year. A long river valley will also be visited where we expect to see Golden Eagles, Peregrines and other raptor species plus more chances to see Dippers, Red Deer and much more besides.
Coastal areas will also be visited in search of breeding and late wintering seabirds. Species should include Northern Fulmar, Kittiwake, Razorbill, Common and Black Guillemot with Northern Gannets passing offshore. If time permits we could also visit the Moray Firth to try for Otters and the resident group of Bottlenose Dolphins.
With the exception of the possible walk on to Cairngorm (which may be replaced by a visit to the Ptarmigan Restaurant by funicular railway), this is an easy-going tour with the minibus getting us close to fabulous birding areas.
Leaders for this tour: Mike Read
Price: £1265.00 per person in twin or double room.
Single supplement £160.00 per person.
Deposit: £350 per person.
- Minibus transport from and back to Inverness where the tour begins (pick-up can be from Inverness Airport, Inverness Railway Station or a hotel in Inverness). Alternatively you can meet us at the hotel in Grantown-on-Spey
- Accommodation in a friendly, efficient atmosphere with fabulous food.
- Picnic lunches.
Price does not include:
- Transport to and from Inverness where the tour begins or Grantown-on-Spey where the tour is based.
- Accommodation in or near Inverness/Grantown-on-Spey if you need it before or after the tour.
- Alcoholic drinks and items of a personal nature.