Join us to enjoy a two week trip to one of the most scenic parts of the world, discovering the birds and wildlife of Scotland’s remote highlands and the Orkneys. While the focus of this relaxed trip is on natural history, the stunning scenery and archaeology are important too. With seasonally pleasant climate, June is a wonderful time to experience resident and migratory species breeding in diverse habitats.
In the famed Scottish Highlands we’ll explore rugged glens and vast moorlands from our base in the beautiful Spey Valley. The ancient Caledonian pinewoods are home to Britain’s only endemic bird, the Scottish Crossbill, along with Crested Tit, and Capercaillie, te largest grouse in the world. On the Cairngorms mountain plateau we’ll take an extended walk in search of our targets, Ptarmigan and Dotterel. Secluded lochs harbor stunning breeding plumaged Horned Grebe, Red-throated and Black-throated Loons. Rolling moorlands feature European Golden Plover and Red Grouse, while Red Kites are well-established on the Black Isle. Along the Moray coast we’ll visit mainland Scotland’s only Gannetry to see the birds up close!
On Mainland Orkney, Hen Harrier and Short-eared Owl will be settling to breed, and Peregrine and Merlin hunt along the meadow fringes, and a number of waders, including breeding Black-tailed Godwit, Snipe, Water Rail and Greylag Goose can be found. We visit seabird cliffs on several occasions, with a full range of seabirds present, including Gannet, Puffin, Guillemot, Razorbill, Fulmar, Black Guillemot and Shag.
A key feature of our exploration of the Orkneys will be island hopping, visiting Westray, Rousay and Hoy, all very different islands which hold incredible historical sites as well as seabirds, waders and more.
We visit some of the finest prehistoric archaeological sites in Britain during our stay. The settlement of Skara Brae is a must-see, and we also visit Maes Howe, Scapa Flow, the Churchill barriers, the 6-metre high Standing Stones of Stenness and the 5000-year-old Ring of Brodgar, amongst other interesting sites, especially on Rousay.
Our wonderful trip to Scotland’s Highlands and Orkneys, based at two centers, will be run at a relaxed pace, with time for exploring historical sites, photography and botany as well as fabulous birdwatching (about 130 species of birds) in a spectacular setting!