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Our Birding & Burns Short break was a great success with nearly 80 species in three days. Lekking Black Grouse, Golden Eagle, American Coot, Crested Tit, Red Squirrel were just some of the many highlights. On the Moray Firth we had great views of Bottle-nosed Dolphins as they swam close in to the shore, while watching a stunning Great-northern Diver fishing for crabs nearby at the same time!
Long-tailed Ducks feeding beneath us in the harbour were a bonus, their calls echoing across the water as well as a flock of Velvet Scoter on the water nearby.
The arctic scenery of Strathdearn was a great back drop as we watched a Golden Eagle soaring high over head, the honking calls of Ravens all around us as they drifted and tumbled over the crags, while Red Deer herds grazed along the snow covered ridges.
In the forest Crested Tit were busy at the feeders, as were the Red Squirrels, we discovered one being beamed live on air by the BBC for winterwatch! Our early morning look for Black Grouse was rewarded, with a super display of lekking males at a secluded location not far from Grantown as Red Grouse called "get back" from the nearby heather.
On the Black Isle rafts of over 400 Scaup bobbed just offshore, as hundreds of Knot and Bar-tailed Godwits swirled in clouds along the tideline. The day was finished off nicely with a visit to the long staying American Coot at Loch Flemmington, easily visible without even getting out of the bus.
Of course we can't forget the other highlight, food, and the wonderful Burns Supper put on by the Grant Arms Hotel complete with "Spud" the piper, piping in the Haggis! A very enjoyable night was had by all though not sure there was much dancing to the band, all being so full after the excellent four course meal!
We are running more Short Breaks throughout the year, see the link above for details, if you'd like to book and join us for some great wildlife just email us or fill out the online form.