Join us at Highland's Four Star "Wildlife Hotel", The Grant Arms for a spectacular spring birding four night break. As well as three full days fully guided birding including transport you also have exclusive use of all the facilities provided by the Birdwatching & Wildlife Club (BWWC) during your stay. This includes an extensive Natural History library and Club room full of local wildlife information as well as a sightings board. A wildlife film is shown most evenings as well as regular talks when scheduled during one of our breaks. There’s also the chance to meet other birders or groups staying at the hotel to catch up with their sightings and compare notes, all adding to the atmosphere your stay. Also as the hotel is situated in the town numerous shops and facilities are all within easy walking distance....
This is the peak time for lekking Black Grouse while the first spring migrants overlap with winter visitors yet to leave, offering a chance of a great birding list taking in habitats ranging from mountain, forest, moorland and coast.
Day 1: Arrival. We meet up for an evening introduction at the hotel before dinner.
Day 2: An early start to visit a Black Grouse lek, before returning to the Hotel for a well-earned breakfast. We will then explore the local forests and lochs for specialities including Crested Tit, Scottish/Parrot Crossbill, Slavonian Grebe, Red & Black throated Divers as well a many other commoner species.
For the rest of the day we head to the famous Findhorn Valley (Strathdearn) in search of Golden and White-tailed Eagles as well as other raptors this area is so famous for. We also hope to seek out Red Grouse on the moors as we go, often right by the road side they can provide the perfect photo opportunity.
Day 3: A short walk in the local pine forest before heading off to the slopes of Cairngorm mountain for Ptarmigan, Snow Bunting and Ring Ouzel. We then head for the Inverness area and Black Isle to enjoy the remaining wintering wildfowl, waders and sea-duck of the Moray and Cromarty Firth. Udale Bay and the Cromarty Firth are home to hundreds of wintering Scaup as well as Slavonian Grebes, Long-tailed Ducks, Goosanders, Red-brested Mergansers. The bay hosts large flocks of Wigeon, Bar-tailed Godwit, Knot, Dunlin as well a feeding and resting place for geese now on passage back north. April can see their numbers at a peak as they gather at one of their final staging posts before departing. We will also search the rich farmland for any Finches and Buntings feeding there as well as no doubt an encounter with the many Red Kites this area is now home to. At Chanonry point we also have a good chance of sighting the resident population of Bottle-nosed Dolphins, Otter and perhaps catch up with some seabird passage, the first Skuas should now be well on their way to the breeding grounds and all four species are regularly seen passing through the Moray Firth in spring. (Please note the Cairngorm Funicular railway is out of operation currently so there is no longer uplift to the the top. We will however still be able to scan for Ptarmigan from the main car park area).
Day 4: After a stop-off at a breeding Black-throated Diver loch we head to the stunning Moray Firth coast with its sweeping seascapes, beaches and secluded fishing harbours - one of Scotland's secret gems. Thousands of sea-duck traditionally winter here including Common and Velvet Scoter, Long-tailed Ducks, Divers and Slavonian Grebes with many of these now on the move heading back to their breeding grounds. In recent years the Moray Firth has seen numerous White-billed Divers appear in spring, we shall keep a keen eye out for these as well as any other rarities such as King Eider or white winged Gulls. It is also one of the few areas where Corn Bunting remain, these usually seen singing from overhead wires along the road as well as many other Buntings and Finches. A great day's birding with a possible species list of 60+ on this day alone! It is without doubt one of the best birding coasts the UK has to offer.
Day 5: Departure.
* Extra nights added can be booked by Highland Nature on your behalf, price available on request.
Please note the exact itinerary is for guidance only and may be subject to change depending on weather or road conditions on the days, especially during winter months.
What's included in your package?
* 4 nights Dinner bed & Breakfast at the four star Grant Arms Hotel, packed lunch and hot drinks during the day.
* Transport throughout the holiday.
* The services of local guide John Poyner throughout the break. John lives locally and has been working as a Bird & Wildlife Guide throughout the Highlands and Islands since for 20 years, previously working for RSPB Scotland as an assistant warden and as a guide for two of Scotland's leading Wildlife Tour Companies. He now runs Highland Nature, and is Wildlife Guide for the BWWC at the Grant Arms Hotel. In any spare time John also works as a freelance environmental consultant surveying upland birds for renewable energy developments as well as helping manage the local online bird news grapevines.
What's Not Included in your Package?
All alcoholic drinks, tips, any incidental expenses of a personal nature.
Number in group is limited to a maximum of 7 people.
For further details contact us on 01479 821357 / (07875) 094666 (mob) Email firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out the form below and we will make a preliminary booking for you. To secure this we can take a deposit by Cheque or Bank Transfer, details will be sent.
If you wish to pay by card we can do this through PayPal, there is no transaction charge for this.
Once we have received your balance we will confirm the booking in writing. Please read our Terms & Conditions prior to booking.
And finally..........HOW DO I GET HERE?
By Car: Main roads are kept well cleared in Scotland in winter, local councils are well equipped and used to snow! Grantown is accessed via the main A9 north from Glasgow, a major trunk road.
By Train: Services daily to Aviemore from Kings Cross. We offer a free pick up and drop of service to the station by arrangement.
By Air: Inverness airport is just over an hours drive away. Full details of flights available here.
Complete the form below or Email us for further details.