The stunning flora includes deep purple Northern Marsh Orchids, the red Early Marsh Orchids and a succession of pansies, clovers and Corn Marigolds. These flowers attract Moss Carder Bumblebees and with luck the Great Yellow Bumblebee, now confined to the far north of Scotland. The machair is alive with Skylarks and calling waders and we shall search shallow lochs for Snipe, Teal, Shoveler and Wigeon.
Native woodland has been planted and the shelter offers a home to warblers and Redpolls and the occasional rare migrant. There is an excellent area to picnic, where we watch for divers, Harbour Seals and sometimes Otter. The ridge lines of the mountains form a wonderful backdrop and we shall scan for Golden and White-tailed Eagles! Another highlight is Loch Druidibeg, where the local community and RSPB have a Reserve good for moorland birds, including Short-eared Owls.
We shall take a chartered boat around the island of Grimsay, exploring the channels and islands where seals haul out and terns breed. The boat allows close views of eiders, mergansers and even Black Guillemots. With luck, we shall find Blackthroated and Red-throated Divers and hopefully catch a glimpse of a White-tailed or Golden Eagle!
Our attention now switches to North Uist and Berneray, which have lovely Machair and rolling moorland where Hen Harriers, Short-eared Owls, and sometimes Merlin can be seen. There are excellent viewpoints to scan for these species, with Stonechats and Wheatears to keep us entertained. Cuckoos often fly across the moorland searching for Meadow Pipit nests. The moorland is visited by hunting eagles, often mobbed by Ravens and other raptors!
The RSPB Reserve at Balranald has ideal habitat for Corncrakes. This area is also the best place for Corn Buntings and Twite. In the fields we may see young Ringed Plover chicks following their parents. Little and Arctic Terns nest nearby and we should see them diving for fish just offshore.
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.
Stuart started birding at the age of seven, becoming a regular at Dungeness from nine onwards, ringing migrants and exploring southern England. His passion for birds and nature led to a 41-year career with the RSPB, 23 years as Director of the organisation in Scotland - few people know Scotland as well as Stuart! Stuart has birded in over 50 Countries and is a trustee of a major conservation project in the Atlantic forest of Brazil.