Wildlife of the Scottish Highlands

Upcoming Tour Date:

  • 16 May–23 May 2020 – New for 2020
8 days
from £1,599 pp
Tour code: AGT1179

Tour Features:

    Book Now

    Upcoming Tour Date:

    • 16 May–23 May 2020 – New for 2020
    8 days
    from £1,599 pp
    Tour code: AGT1179

    Tour Features:

      Booking Enquiries

      Quick Tour Facts:


      Tour Code AGT1179
      Max Group Size 11
      Single Supplement £250
      Start/End Point Inverness / Inverness
      Tour Manager Mike Read

      Tour Map:


      Extras and Add-ons:


      Would you prefer to fly from your local airport or spend a few days at the end of your tour on the beach? We are happy to help you arrange any additional requirements you may have from airport parking and hotels to pre and post tour hotel stays. Whilst the majority of our tours use group flights from London airports it is often possible to offer regional departures or connections – give us a call on 01425 480600 and let us help make your trip as comfortable as possible.

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      On this easy-going tour visit the Cairngorms, the home of the BBC’s Winterwatch and Springwatch to see much of the superb wildlife of Britain’s largest National Park.

      Grantown-on-Spey will be our base for this exciting wildlife tour and, as the name of the town suggests, we are close to the banks of the River Spey most famous for its fishing.  Consequently, birds such as Ospreys, Goosanders and Grey Herons 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 are present on the edge of town and a few miles away at reserves like Abernethy Forest and Loch Garten.  This scarce habitat holds Red Squirrels as well as Crested Tits and Crossbills, while some of the lochans hold Common Goldeneyes and Greylag Geese.  The high tops of the Cairngorm Mountains may still have a few areas of snow, but there will be birds there, too, including Ptarmigans and possibly Dotterels if this lovely, summer visiting mountain-top member of the plover family has arrived. Coastal areas will also be visited in search of Dolphins, Otters and a few remaining wintering seabirds.  Species should also include Northern Fulmars, Kittiwakes, Razorbills, Common and Black Guillemots with Northern Gannets passing offshore.

      This tour is limited to 11 places. Early booking is recommended to avoid disappointment.

      Words from Your Tour Manager…

      “I have been designing, researching and leading wildlife watching and photographic tours for well over 30 years now both in Britain and in many foreign locations as far afield as the Falkland Islands.

      Wherever I go, I always connect the wildlife to the place. It is just great to see those fabulous ocean wanderers, albatrosses, in flight over a back-lit Southern ocean or to hear red deer stags roaring during the autumn rut in the heather-clad glens of Scotland. Just thinking about things like that gives me a thrill!”

      Mike Read

      Highlights

      • Expertise of special guest Mike Read
      • Crested Tits, Crossbills and Red Squirrels among the remnants of the Ancient Caledonian pine forest
      • Strathdearn with the potential of perhaps 8 species of raptor including Golden Eagles
      • Coastal visits for seabirds including Common ad Velvet Scoters, Fulmars, Gannets and wader species
      • Bottlenose Dolphins from the Black Isle

      What’s Included

      • Return flights from your choice of regional airports to Inverness
      • Seven nights’ accommodation in a good standard hotel
      • Daily breakfast, picnic lunch and dinner
      • All excursions and most entrance fees
      • All transport
      • Services of a Prestige Holidays Tour Manager

      Itinerary

      Day 1 - Arrival (D)

      Spend the morning at leisure in Inverness before a late afternoon transfer to the town of Grantown–on–Spey.

      Overnight: Grantown-on-Spey

      Day 2 - Cairngorm / Glen More Forest / Loch Morlick (B, L, D)

      Make our way to Cairngorm, Glen More Forest and Loch Morlich.  Depending on how far we walk up Cairngorm, we might see Dotterel and the mountain-top member of the grouse family, Ptarmigan. The lower slopes do hold Ring Ouzel, Red Grouse and the captive herd of Reindeer.

      Continue to Glen More Forest, home to Crossbills, Siskins, Ospreys and other typical Caledonian Pine Forest species where, at Loch Morlich, there is the opportunity to spot two species of Diver. Along the shoreline will be Common Sandpipers.

      Overnight: Grantown-on-Spey

      Day 3 - Findhorn / Burghead (B, L, D)

      Visit Findhorn Bay, a location where the most wildlife will be seen on a near-high tide.  At Findhorn Estuary we expect to see a wide variety of waders and wildfowl.  Just beyond the town of Findhorn we should see Yellowhammers and Linnets in the sand dunes, while the sea beyond will be searched for Gannets, Red-throated and Great Northern Divers, Common and Velvet Scoters and various grebes.

      At Burghead Bay, we should Atlantic Grey Seals in the harbour. Along the sea wall there may well be Rock Pipit.  Gulls will be seen in good numbers if any of the fishing fleet is discarding fish offal.  On the other side of town there is a more sheltered sea watching point where we will search for many of the species already mentioned as well as Razorbills, Common Guillemots and Puffins.

      Overnight: Grantown-on-Spey

      Day 4 - Strathdearn / Findhorn Valley (B, L, D)

      Full day visit to Strathdearn and the Findhorn Valley to search for Feral Goats, Red Deer and Hares. Birds in this scenically stunning valley can include Dippers, Goosanders, Golden Eagle, White-tailed Eagle, Peregrine, Common Buzzard and Red Kite.  We may also see Salmon heading up river to spawn.

      Following a walk and lunch in the valley we will head up over the Farr Road to seek Red Grouse and other wildlife and, if time permits, visit the RSPB reserve at Loch Ruthven for Red-throated Diver and Slavonian Grebes.

      Overnight: Grantown-on-Spey

      Day 5 - Loch Garten / Abernethy Forest / Avielochan (B, L, D)

      Visit Loch Garten, Abernethy Forest, Avielochan and possibly Craigellachie. Loch Garten is famed for its breeding Ospreys, but also to be found here and among the Scots Pines of Abernethy Forest are Crested Tits, Common and Scottish Crossbills, Redstarts, and Red Squirrels.  On Loch Garten or Loch Mallachie we should find Goldeneye, and there’s always the possibility of an Osprey plunging into the peaty waters to catch a fish.

      Avielochan also holds Goldeneye as well as other duck species, Greylag Geese, Oystercatchers and Little Grebes. However, the special species here is Slavonian Grebe. Close to Aviemore is the Craigellachie National Nature Reserve where an uphill walk takes us through a forest of mainly Silver Birch trees.  Here, Willow Warblers are common but also their ‘cousins’, Wood Warblers, can sometimes be found as well as Pied Flycatchers.

      Overnight: Grantown-on-Spey

      Day 6 - Black Isle (B, L, D)

      Full day to the Black Isle. Udale Bay is another RSPB reserve where waders, ducks and geese will be pushed towards the comfortable hide. These include Pink-footed Geese, Dunlins, Ringed Plovers, Curlews, Oystercatchers and Lapwings.  We will then move towards the town of Cromarty to seek Mute Swans, Red-breasted Mergansers, Eiders, Scaup and various grebes, and finishing at Chanonry Point to no doubt join dozens of other wildlife watchers to hopefully observe Bottlenose Dolphins at fairly close range.

      Overnight: Grantown-on-Spey

      Day 7 - Lochindorb / Loch Insh / Insh Marshes (B, L, D)

      Visit Lochindorb, Loch Insh and Insh Marshes RSPB reserve.

      Lochindorb is frequented by fishing Ospreys, Greylag Geese, Lapwings, Oystercatchers and Common Sandpipers, but perhaps the most sought after species on the loch is Black-throated Diver. Nearby moorland holds Red Grouse and a few Mountain Hares while grassy fields are often home to plenty of Rabbits including a few Black individuals. Hen Harriers and Short-eared Owls are also possibilities.

      Drive south to Loch Insh in the hope of further Osprey and Goldeneye sightings before moving to a hide or two overlooking Insh Marshes.  From these vantage points we may well find Marsh Harrier, Common Buzzard, Curlews, Roe deer and various waterfowl.

      Overnight: Grantown-on-Spey

      Day 8 - Departure (B)

      Depart to Inverness for our onward journeys.

      Prestige Holidays’ booking conditions apply. Price is based on twin/double occupancy. Single rooms are on request at a supplement of £250 — subject to availability. Itinerary may be subject to slight alterations due to operational restrictions. Hotels are subject to change and a hotel of similar standard in the overnight locations may be provided. Flight times are provisional and subject to change due to airline schedules.

      Call us today on 01425 480 600

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