TRIP REPORT: SCOTLAND – 2018 June – Highlands & Inner Hebrides

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Trip report by Toby Green and Adrian Binns

Day 1 / Saturday June 9th – Highlands

A smooth pick-up from Inverness saw us heading to Culloden for lunch and then driving over to the Dava Moor. On route we saw Greylag Goose, Song Thrush, a nice group of Oystercatchers, Lesser Black-backed Gull and a family of Pied Wagtail. As we came out of the woodland onto the moor we had a female Stonechat by the road. We drove on to Lochindorb where we stopped and soon had three adult and two Golden Plover chicks. Good numbers of Red Grouse family groups were seen very well with some nice close birds. A Mountain Hare was feeding just below the Golden Plover! It was turning into a day of chicks as we saw Black- throated Diver with two chicks and then Lapwing, Curlew and Common Sandpiper all with chicks. A pair of Reed Bunting showed well fly-catching at the loch edge. We eventually had to leave and drove toward Nethybridge enjoying great views of the distant Cairngorms, still with patches of snow in the corries.

Day 2 / Sunday June 10th – Highlands

Our first full day’s birding in Scotland saw an early start and a drive up to Dorback. The drive up gave us several views of Roe Deer and also Red-legged Partridge and a Red Squirrel. Unfortunately we encountered thick mist, but eventually through the gaps we had views of two Black Grouse. We had good numbers of Meadow Pipit and Curlew singing and flying round us. A Siskin was on the feeders on the way back down the glen.

After a filling breakfast we drove over to Carrbridge and had a look in Toby’s moth trap where several nice moths including the twig-like Pale Prominent, the impressive Poplar Hawk Moth and the Beautiful Golden Y. In the garden we had great views of Siskin with some very bright yellow males and also a couple of Greenfinches. Great and Coal Tit were also seen. We had a walk in the beautiful Glencharnoch woods and saw a pair of Spotted Flycatcher and a Wood Ant nest.

We moved on and spent some time at Dalnahaitnach where we had Small Heath and a nice hatch of Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary Butterflies. A Tree Pipit was scoped perched on a nearby Scots Pine. As we were leaving a pair of Goldcrest were seen near the van. Further on we spotted a Golden Eagle and then another two with one display flighting!

We had lunch in Carrbridge and admired the carved bench in the village car park before driving on to Aviemore. Our next stop was Craigellachie, a lovely nature reserve with pristine birch wood. Our targets here were soon located with a pair of Pied Flycatcher and a very elusive Wood Warbler which we eventually got in the scope! A female Bullfinch showed briefly and Willow Warbler was seen.

We started to head back towards Nethybridge with a stop in at Loch Garten where Coal Tit, Siskin, Chaffinch, Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Red Squirrel showed really well on the feeders. After leaving Garten we stopped at the dragonfly pools which, with no sun, were devoid of life but the bog plants were well appreciated. Our final stop was at Tore hill where we had really nice close views of three Scottish Crossbills feeding in a roadside tree! What a fantastic finish to a great day and Haggis was on the menu this evening!

Day 3 / Monday June 11th – Troup Head & Ythan Estuary

Today we had a total change of scene as we drove up to Macduff for a boat trip round the impressive Troup Head. We motored out on the Seacat captained by Harold and crewed by Sophia and headed along the impressive seascape. We started seeing increasing numbers of Guillemot and Razorbill along with Shag and Cormorant.  Up to five Black Guillemot were seen as well. We passed close to Gardenstown and Cruvie old fishing villages perched between steep cliffs and the sea!

We arrived at Troup Head and the smell hit us from 5000 pairs of Gannets and the accumulated guano! The spectacle was stunning with birds everywhere. Above us and around us on the water were crowds of Guillemot and Razorbill with Kittiwake joining the throng. We motored on and were soon seeing small groups of Puffins on the water and eventually we arrived at their breeding site with good numbers of birds sitting outside their burrows. The time had come to motor back to the harbour enjoying diving Gannets on the way back, along with a small flock collecting seaweed to add to their nest.

Once disembarked we drove down to the Ythan estuary where we had great views of Little, Arctic, Common and Sandwich Terns fishing the river. The Tern colony had up to a thousand birds in the air, what a sight! Good numbers of Common Eider were all along the shore and a couple of Shelduck. We spotted Dunlin, Ringed Plover and Bar-tailed Godwit on the muddy edges and hundreds of Black-headed Gulls. We drove round to the golf course and walked out to the shore from here and it wasn’t long before we had our target bird, a drake King Eider – unfortunately it spent most of its time asleep! We did have the most amazing sight of up to 500 Grey Seal hauled out on the beach and a lot of “singing” from them! On our walk back to the van we had good views of Yellowhammer and Song Thrush in the gorse bushes.

Unfortunately we had to leave and make our way back to Nethybridge after another great day’s birding with a brief stop at the Cooperage at Craigellachie on the way.

Day 4 / Tuesday June 12th – Highlands

Today we headed up Cairngorm Mountain. We drove through the wonderful Scots Pinewoods and had a stop at Loch Morlich where we had distant views of a very active Red-throated Diver. We continued up onto the ski centre car park and once we were all ready we started walking up the mountain. We had great views of a male Ring Ouzel on a fence with food. A good walk saw us nearing the top station where several Black Mountain Moths were seen. Once we had re-grouped, we continued towards the summit. Bob and Kate spotted a pair of Snow Bunting looking very smart and not long after a male Ptarmigan was spotted and showed well for the whole group. We walked up to the summit and enjoyed the expansive views across the Cairngorm plateau still dotted with snow fields before the cold wind drove us back down to the top station. We descended the track at various speeds and in the end various means of transport but eventually we all arrived back down safely and in one piece! Just!

After a welcome cup of tea we loaded up and drove down with a brief stop to see the Reindeer and a Great Spotted Woodpecker. On our way back to Nethybridge we stopped at the Flower Fields, a wonderful wildflower meadow which was full of Orchids mostly Lesser Butterfly Orchid but a number of Small White and Heath Fragrant were also seen along with Mountain Everlasting and Rock Rose. A Great Spotted Woodpecker was calling but stayed annoyingly elusive!

We arrived back at Nethybridge feeling weary and ready for a relaxing evening!

Day 5 / Wednesday June 13th – Highlands

Today we were heading into the woods but first we had a drive along the Car Road, where we had fantastic views of a Snipe which flew in and then landed close to the road. We stopped in Carrbridge to have a look at the old pack horse bridge built in 1717 and always very picturesque! We arrived in Inverlaidnan and had a slow drive round the estate. It was very quiet in general with a few Meadow Pipit and Robin until we dropped down to the far end of the forest where we had good scope views of Tree Pipit and a good sighting of a Cuckoo as well. Further round the track a Common Newt was well seen and then caught so we all had very close views. We continued round the track and eventually had splendid views of Crested Tit and found a Spotted Flycatchers nest. Unfortunately we didn’t manage to see a Capercaillie so we left the estate and drove to Grantown where we had Common Sandpiper on the river.

With the weather deteriorating we drove up to Glenlivet and visited The Glenlivet Distillery where we enjoyed a guided tour. We left the distillery with some of the group a little more fortified than when we went in! We drove along Glenlivet where a Grey Wagtail was seen. Our final stop was the Moorland near Dorback where a pair of Red Grouse were viewed close to the road, a quick drive up Dorback gave us a few Roe Deer but nothing else of note so we headed back to the hotel for a welcome meal and relax.

Day 6 / Thursday June 14th – Black Isle

We awoke to some very wild weather but undeterred we drove along to Grantown to the old Spey Bridge where our target species was soon seen well with a family group of Dipper. A fledged bird sat and showed really well and then an adult flew out on to the rocks in the river and gave us a chance to see the chestnut belly and white breast, a lovely bird in good light! We also had Common Sandpiper with chicks, Grey Wagtail and a pair of Red-breasted Merganser.

We left Strathspey and motored up to the Black Isle where our first stop was Munlochy Bay, where two Pintail were spotted along with Curlew, Shelduck and Oystercatcher. Chanonry Point was our next port of call where despite the weather we enjoyed a great show by the Bottle-nosed Dolphins very close to shore! With the rain now very heavy and the wind really gusting we decided to head inland and up to Loch Kinellan, where we quickly had two Slavonian Grebes but the weather saw us turning tail pretty quickly, but not before adding Coot to the list.

We retreated to the large and very nice hide and visitor centre at the Tollie Red Kite centre. We had lunch in the hide and with the weather clearing a bit we started seeing a little more. Yellowhammer were coming to the feeders along with Chaffinch and a Siskin, later on a Great Spotted Woodpecker was seen. Red Kites were seen very well especially when the food was put out for them as they swooped in to grab meat from the feeding area putting on a real arial display for us. A Buzzard and an Osprey flew over as well. We were shown a Common Toad and a lovely moth called a Sallow Kitten. With the day wearing on we drove down to Red Castle where another Osprey was spotted and both Shelduck and close Curlew were on the bay. We drove along the shore to North Kessock where a Mute Swan was out on the water but all else was quiet, so we headed back down to Nethybridge for our last evening at the Mountview before our adventure west began!

Day 7 / Friday June 15th – Highlands to Mull

We left Nethybridge on our journey to Mull. But before leaving the Strath we stopped at Milton Pool where Eurasian Teal, Tufted Duck, Moorhen and Little Grebe were seen well. We started on our drive through the Great Glen south then turning west at Newtonmore and along Laggan side. We stopped to photograph the picturesque Ardverikie castle and then a bit of birding at Craig Meghaid where Lesser Redpoll, Siskin and Chaffinch were on the feeder. On the surrounding fields we had really good views of Ringed Plover, Mistle and Song Thrush.

We continued on to Spean Bridge and then had a very well timed stop at Neptune’s Staircase, as we were lucky enough to see some yachts coming through the locks! After stopping in the rain for a cup of tea, we arrived at the Corran ferry and were soon across Loch Linnhe onto the Morven peninsular. We stopped just on the other side to watch the Black Guillemots and eventually had really good views of them at their nest boxes. A Rock Pipit showed very well affording great views. With the rain getting heavy we drove on, heading off onto the minor road to Kilmaluge where we stopped for lunch. Out on the bay were Red-breasted Merganser and a gathering of Gulls, the sandy beach had a few Ringed Plover.

Our next stop was the picturesque Kingairloch where we had two Lesser Black-backed Gulls, Ringed Plover and a couple of Black Guillemot. In the woods a Siskin family was busy feeding and being fed. We stopped again just up the road to look at Lesser Butterfly and Heath Spotted Orchid and Bog Asphodel in flower. A Dunnock showed really well here sitting on the Bracken tops. A Small Pearl-boardered Fritillary landed making the most of a brief break in the clouds.

We motored down to Lochaline where we watched our ferry departing, not because we were late but due to a half an hour delay! So we did a bit of birding round the ferry terminal. The highlight here was a cracking third year White Tailed Eagle which gave us good scope views. We got the next ferry over to Mull and in much better weather drove over to Loch na Keal where a distant White-tailed Eagle was spotted sitting in a tree. Two Golden Eagles put on a bit of a fly-past for us, with Meadow Pipits displayed around us and a Curlew flew across the bay. With the weather closing in again we decided to head to the hotel our base for the next three nights and a welcome rest and meal.

Day 8 / Saturday June 16th – Mull & Treshnish Isles (Lunga & Staffa)

Today we were heading over to the Treshnish Isles but we had a few hours beforehand to bird around Loch na Keal. The weather was pretty miserable with driving rain and poor visibility but it was forecast to get better as the day went on! We did what we could and managed to get some decent views of Wheatear, Common Sandpiper and Rock Pipits along the shore. A very wet Buzzard sat for us allowing good views and a female Goosander was close to the shore. With the weather not looking much better we drove over to Ulva ferry where we boarded our boat in very heavy rain! But the forecast was right and before long we went from wet to sun!

The journey over gave us a couple of Manx Shearwater and a single Storm Petrel. As we neared Lunga we started seeing many more seabirds with Shag, Guillemot, Razorbill and the odd Puffin and we had good views of Grey Seal as we passed close to a haul-out. We arrived at Lunga in bright sun, warming us up nicely and after negotiating the slippery rocks we were soon walking through the impressive Puffin colony. We sat in amongst these comical birds enjoying such intimate and close views, a real look into the lives of them. Large numbers of Guillemot and Razorbill were out on the water and Fulmar and Kittiwake were seen in good numbers. A real surprise was a calling Corncrake up on the meadow area! The two hours went very quickly and we soon had to leave.

The journey to Staffa was pretty smooth and in no time we were marvelling at the geological wonder of the basalt columns and the impressive Fingal’s Cave. With only an hour onshore some of the group visited the Cave and some the top where Rock Pipit showed well collecting and taking food to their nest. A Snipe was heard calling and a Black Guillemot was coming and going from its nest hole.

The journey back to Ulva was fairly quiet as we enjoyed the stunning views onto a now cloud free Mull which did look absolutely incredible! Another great meal was enjoyed after a really special day on the islands.

Day 9 / Sunday June 17th – Mull & Iona

Iona was our target today with some birding on route through the spectacular Glen Mor. We drove to our first stop at Scallastle bay where a good number of Gulls were along the shore and Common Seals were hauled out on some rocks. An Otter was spotted fishing across the bay and we watched it with scopes for some time. Turnstone and Dunlin were along the shore, a pair of Redshank flew in and both Eider and Red-breasted Merganser were out on the bay. A few Arctic Terns were fishing close in as well.

Our next stop was at Strath Coil where a Short-eared Owl flew high over the road before disappearing over the hills. We stopped at Torness where low cloud was hampering us a little but we still managed to see a male Hen Harrier and two Golden Eagles, one low in the cloud and another over a nearby mountain in a brief clearing in the weather. Glen Mor was clouded in but at the far end we had much better views of a male Hen Harrier quartering the rough ground and then a higher female, or ring tail, Hen Harrier flying over us – a pair of Red-breasted Merganser flew over as well. Just along the road we had good views of Curlew and two very smart Golden Plover and a Redshank on a dead tree by the road and an impromptu gathering of sheep with two well trained collies and their shepherd.  We spotted another male Hen Harrier close to the ferry terminal.

We arrived after a tea break at Bunesan at Fionport where we walked onto the ferry to take us the short distance to Iona. Once ashore we walked up to the west side of the village and had four Corncrake calling so we decided to sit and have lunch overlooking the fields they were calling from, but unfortunately with the grass so long we didn’t manage to see one but still enjoyed the sound of them. We walked on and at the top of the hill had good views of several fledged Wheatear and a couple of adults, a few Ravens were flying round the hills here as well. The rest of the walk didn’t produce anything more but we had some really good views of Song Thrush which were very numerous here. The weather had taken a bit of a turn for the worse now and with wind increasing and the rain settling in we walked through the old nunnery and up to the Abby which a few of the group visited, while the rest walked up the road a little further. It was soon time to head back for the ferry and after a final listen for Corncrake we boarded and sailed back to the Ross of Mull. The weather was by now very inclement but we still managed to spot a female Hen Harrier and both Stonechat and Whinchat on the way back to the hotel. We again enjoyed a relaxing and fantastic meal and our last night on Mull before heading back to the mainland in the morning.

Day 10 / Monday June 18th – Movern Peninsula

We caught the ferry back to the mainland and had a dark morph Arctic Skua from the boat. As we were coming into Lochaline we spotted four Eagles over the hills, as soon as we docked we got the scope up and had two adult White-tailed Eagles, the other two had disappeared but looked to be Golden Eagles – possibly a pair come up to chase off the White-tails! We drove on up to Rahoy nature reserve where we had some great views of Tree Pipits with freshly fledged chicks. A Blue Tit family was noisily moving through the trees and a Great Spotted Woodpecker flew over. By the river we played hide and seek with a Garden Warbler which eventually showed really well singing in the open for us! A Spotted Flycatcher was fly-catching in the shelter of an old quarry site.

We moved on up to the White Glen where a herd of Red Deer included a stag in velvet (re-growing its antlers). A Golden Eagle showed briefly but then later we were treated to prolonged views of a Golden Eagle being mobbed and pursued by two Buzzards and when the Buzzards gave up a group of Ravens took over until the Eagle powered away over the hills! Further up the glen we stopped for a nice male Whinchat which gave good views, but better still was a very close Golden Eagle flying up the hillside just behind us! We left the glen and dropped down to Loch Sunart where at the head of the loch we had a group of moulting male Goosander roosting on an island. We went to Strontian and after lunch and a rain check, we went back to the bay and managed to get three Greenshank and six Dunlin in the scopes.

We left Strontian and drove to Garbh Eilean where we walked to the hide. Common Seals were hauled out on the island and Grey Heron, Arctic Tern and Red-breasted Merganser were seen. Our walk back up to the nature trail turned up a Blackcap family just by the path which showed well. The walk was relatively quiet with Robin and Coal Tit being notable.

We drove on to Acharacle, our base for the next three nights where we stopped to look at a nice meadow of Orchids with Butterfly, Northern Marsh and Heath Spotted being seen. After checking into the hotel we went for a walk down to Loch Shiel where two enthusiastic builders were launching a very small house boat into the loch. On the water were two Teal and two Tufted Duck with hundreds of Sand Martin hawking low having been driven in by the bad weather again this afternoon!  We had good views of Goldfinches and a Song Thrush was collecting food. We arrived back at the hotel ready for a relaxing evening and a good meal.

Day 11 / Tuesday June 19th – Ardnamurchan Peninsula

We drove down the Ardnamurchan peninsular today, the most westerly point on the British mainland. But before breakfast we went for a walk down to Loch Shiel where we had good close views of Lesser Redpoll and at the loch we had Common Sandpiper and Willow Warblers were singing. The house boat was still afloat but had moved a bit!

After breakfast we drove down to Salen and then out onto the peninsular. Our first stop was Glenborrowdale Castle, where we admired the neo-gothic Victorian architecture. We moved on to Ben Hiant, where after a while scanning we spotted a third year White-tailed Eagle which was being mobbed by a Buzzard. We drove further round the mountain to another viewpoint, where we had great views of the Eagle which then flew down and landed giving us a chance to really study the plumage! A nice bonus was a cracking male Whinchat which was singing from an electric line and giving us great scope views. We drove on and had another White-tailed Eagle fly over the van before we dropped down to Kilchoan.

We stopped for a cup of tea and had good views of Redpoll, a singing Sedge Warbler and Whitethroat were not very co-operative only giving brief views! On the other side of Kilchoan we had a good view of a Goldcrest in trees just by the road, a Kestrel flew over as we were watching and then not far from the point at Achosnich, we had great views of a Whitethroat collecting material presumably for its nest. We also had beautiful Demoiselle and Golden Ringed Dragonflies. Further on we had a Peregrine over a nearby hill. At the lighthouse we had a number of Manx Shearwaters fly past and a pair of Twite but the sea was fairly quiet.

We started to make our way back and stopped at Loch Grigadale where a second year Whooper Swan was on the loch. A little further on we stopped to admire and smell Heath Fragrant Orchids. We stopped again at Kilchoan where we had a Sedge Warbler by the road and a Whitethroat flying over. We had seen good numbers of Buzzard and high numbers of Song Thrush all the way along the peninsular all day. We finished the day at the wildlife centre where we enjoyed the informative displays an the local history and wildlife.

We arrived back at the hotel ready for another great meal (possibly with some haggis!) and a relaxing night.

Day 12 / Wednesday June 20th – Eigg & Muck

Another island was the order of the day today and after breakfast we drove to Arisaig where we boarded the Sheerwater bound for Eigg and Muck. Just out of the shelter of Arisaig bay we had a pod of four Bottle-nosed Dolphin but the rest of the crossing to Eigg was very quiet on the whole, but we did enjoy the extensive views of the small isles and the stunning Cullin of Skye. As we berthed at Eigg we had a distant Red-throated Diver and then four Great Skua flew up from the small island opposite the jetty. Arctic Terns were fishing the bay and a few Common Seals were on the rocks. The crossing to Muck was equally quiet but as we neared the pier we had good views of Black Guillemot and Arctic Terns.

Once onshore we walked round the bay, where several Common Sandpipers were flying around and over to the other side of the island. The fields in the middle of the island gave us a brief calling Corncrake, but it did not call again so we continued over to the other side. A good show of Heath Spotted Orchids and Ragged Robin was a nice sight, Snipe and Redshank were both present in the boggy ground and Skylark was seen well. A Cuckoo was calling on the other side of the wood and a couple of Wheatears were seen, including two freshly fledged birds. We stopped at the Common Seal haul-out and an Arctic Tern colony on the headland. We started our walk back over the island and spotted a Sparrowhawk flying over the fields, a few Song Thrush and Robins were in the Larch trees along with Greenfinch and Chaffinch and two Pheasant were having a face off. Back at the village Redpoll were display flighting and a pair of Siskin flew into the dense conifers. A surprise Red-legged Partridge was near the bay!

We boarded the boat again and got underway and as we pulled into Eigg a female Hen Harrier flew over the bay showing well. After the boat was loaded, we started back to Arisaig. We had a few Guillemot and Puffins and a good number of distant Manx Shearwaters were seen, but two Gannets was a very low count. We were just in sight of the marina when the threatening rain finally caught up with us and a few of us ended the journey a bit wet!

We arrived safely back at the Loch Shiel hotel ready to warm up and enjoy our last meal here before we moved on to Skye.

Day 13 / Thursday June 21st – Skye

A pre-breakfast walk turned up a few birds, with nice views of Red-breasted Merganser, a roosting Teal and large numbers of Sand Martins feeding over the loch. A surprise was a Great Spotted Woodpecker which flew out of the bushes by the loch. We once again had good views of Redpoll on the track to and from the jetty.

We left the Loch Shiel and made our way round to Glenfinnan seeing Goldcrest on route. We arrived at Glenfinnan in time to see the Jacobite steam train passing over the famous viaduct. We left Glenfinnan in the rain and drove to the Back of Keppoch where we had Redshank and a young Lapwing in the salt flat by the river and also a single Twite. We drove to Mallaig where we took the ferry to Skye, it was unusually quiet on the crossing with only one Gannet but we were compensated by the stunning views as the weather cleared nicely for us.

Once on Skye we drove up to the Toskavaig loop where we stopped at Loch Dhughaill where a pair of Red-throated Diver showed giving fantastic scope views. A Stonechat was by the road as well. At Tarskavaig bay we had Ringed Plover, Common Sandpiper, a couple of Wheatear and a nice flock of Oystercatcher. In the woods by the stream there were a number of Greenfinch. The view into the Black Cullin was fantastic with the jagged ridge looking amazing! We continued on to Ord where Greenfinch, Siskin, Wheatear and Common Sandpiper were seen again with a stunning back drop of Elgol and the massive bulk of Blaven. Moving inland a short way, we had more Common Sandpipers and Wheatear but a big surprise as a very close Greenshank right by the road, what a stunning bird in full summer plumage! And not to mention the mythical giant Skye Rabbit, surprisingly only seen by Bob!

We started to make our way to our hotel with a stop at Lower Breakish where more Red-breasted Merganser, Oystercatchers and Skylark were seen and a large haul out of Common Seal were on the rocks. We arrived at Kyleakin, our base for the last two nights of the trip.

Day 14 / Friday June 22nd – Skye

We had a whole day on Skye so we set off north towards Portree. A brief stop at Broadford Bay gave us Red-breasted Merganser, Grey Heron and a flock of Starlings. Our next stop gave us really good prolonged views of an adult Golden Eagle which hunted along the hillside, out on the sea loch were good numbers of Common Eider, Red-breasted Merganser and a Red-throated Diver. We stopped at Sligachan where the impressive Black Cullin were just emerging out of the cloud – an imposing sight of Sgur na Gillien and Am Bhastier, a dark jagged ridge. Another, but more distant, Golden Eagle was spotted here. We drove north along the Trotternish peninsular below the Stoer, a stunning landscape created by a collapsed mountain side!

We stopped for lunch at the lovely Staffa Bay where we were treated to good views of Great Skua, Arctic Tern fishing the channel along with Black Guillemots. On the island watchful Great Black-backed Gulls guarded their large chicks from the patrolling Skuas! We enjoyed a walk on the Quirang, again surrounded by impressive rock architecture. It had turned very windy by now and was not warm, so we were surprised to see a Bride and Groom having photos taken among the rock formations, she must have been cold! A final stop at Glen Hinnisdal didn’t turn much up so we headed back down to Kyleakin for our final night.

Day 15 / Saturday June 23rd – Castles & Loch Ness

Before departing Skye we made a trip to Phil, Laura and wee Effie’s Croft at Drumfearn where Phil had kindly put out his moth trap. Notable species were Buff and White Ermine, Broom Moth, Clouded Bordered Brindle. (See full species list).

We left Skye in clearing weather and stopped to enjoy the stunning location of Eilean Donan Castle before continuing through the beautiful Glen Shiel and onto Urqhart Castle, an impressive position on Loch Ness despite the number of people! We then headed off the beaten track to Loch Laide. A Buzzard showed well overhead and Reed Buntings were singing, out on the loch we had a pair of Slavonian Grebes and a family group of Little Grebe, Moorhen with chicks and a number of Tufted Duck were also present.

Unfortunately our time had run out and we finished our transfer back to Inverness where I sadly left the group. I would like to thank you all for making the two weeks incredibly enjoyable and such good fun for both myself and Adrian. Thank you and safe travels until we meet again.

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