Nearby lochans hold Slavonian Grebes and we’ll visit nesting Osprey. We have our own places to find Mountain Hare, with huge herds of Red Deer watching us from the skyline. Golden Eagle and Raven soar above the mountain slopes and Peregrine hunt in the valley, where Oystercatcher and Curlew have chicks and Common Gull nest on the shingle.
The River Spey holds Dipper, Grey Wagtail and noisy Common Sandpiper, while waders display over marshes around Lochindorb and Insh. Goldeneye have little black and white ducklings and Greylag Geese are nesting. Red Kite circle above, whilst tidal bays are busy with Eider and noisy Arctic, Common and Sandwich Tern.
On the wild moors of Dava and the Monadhliaths, Merlin and Peregrine can be found and these are places where the plaintive notes of Ring Ouzel, Red Grouse and the piping of Golden Plover can be heard.
The most renowned birding location here must be Handa Island and taking a small boat to get there. Thousands of Guillemot, Razorbill, Fulmar and Kittiwake nest on the cliffs, with smaller numbers of Puffin right on top.
Black Guillemots breed in the boulders at the base of the cliffs and we often get close views from the boat. The colonies are patrolled by Great and Arctic Skuas looking for a meal. Both nest on the island, allowing close-up views of these spectacular birds and Great Skuas often gather to bathe in lochans where Red-throated Diver may be nesting.
There are more Puffin colonies along the coast, plus wild Rock Doves and Twite and just inland are lochs where Black-throated Divers breed. Merlin and Greenshank also breed on these remote moorlands. At nearby Durness, Corncrakes can sometimes be heard, though they are difficult to see and we’ll look out for Golden Eagle as we journey around Loch Eriboll and Loch Assynt.
Plants and Animals
Our holidays are just that - holidays. We’ll try to squeeze in as many exciting activities as we can, but still give you completely relaxed enjoyment, so that you can ‘switch off’ for the week. We pride ourselves on our high level of personal attention, but we won’t race around in pursuit of big lists. Our guides’ enthusiasm is infectious and whether you are a beginner or more experienced, young or old, we are happy to take time so you can enjoy the wildlife on a Speyside Wildlife experience to the full.
Sally has travelled extensively to pursue her interest in wildlife watching, particularly birds, and has been based in Speyside for the last 22 years, so has an excellent knowledge of Highland wildlife. Sally is a keen walker and loves to try and get off the beaten track to discover the hidden corners of the Highlands. She co-leads a number of our Scottish holidays.
Kate grew up in North East Scotland and has had a passion for wildlife from a young age. Her first job involved combining childcare and forest school learning, before spending last summer volunteering with the ranger service on the Isle of Mull. Kate mainly runs our Evening Mammal Hide in the Cairngorms, but also can be found Day Guiding and co-leading some of our Scottish Holidays.