Where do you go in the ‘quiet’ birding weeks of summer? Glorious scenery, long evenings and the best summer birding in Britain await you with Heatherlea in July. We will search for Golden Eagle, White-tailed Eagle, Peregrine, fishing Osprey, Slavonian Grebe, Red and Black-throated Divers, Capercaillie, Scottish (Parrot) Crossbill and Crested Tit and lots more! Breeding Ptarmigan and Dotterel guarantee a great day out on the mountains, and we also utilise the evening light to seek out quartering Short-eared Owl over local heather moorland. Guaranteed excitement from magnificent mountaintop to the scenic grandeur of Mull, where we watch for eagles and Otters. July is the best month in the Highlands for butterflies, and as we go you may well see Northern Brown Argus, Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary and Large Heath among others.
KEY MOMENTS at our Friday round-up - which will be yours?
- White-tailed Eagle in close-up. The ‘flying barndoor!’
- Red and Black-throated Divers against beautiful moorland scenery
- Short-eared Owl ghosting over heather in the evening light
- Male Dotterel followed by piping chicks
DAY 1: Saturday - Arrival, welcome, dinner and briefing. Don’t forget our courtesy collection service from Aviemore.
DAY 2: Sunday - Crested Tit and Scottish (Parrot) Crossbill are our first targets, followed by Osprey, Red Squirrel and lunch with Dipper, Buzzard and Goldeneye. After lunch we visit a quiet glen known to few birders, though Hen Harrier, Red-throated Diver, Lesser Redpoll, Ring Ouzel and Red Grouse may all be seen.
DAY 3-4: Monday - Tuesday MAGICAL MULL White-tailed Eagle – The flying barndoor! Today we travel west to the mountainous Isle of Mull, to look for one of Scotland’s most spectacular birds. Successfully re-introduced and now widespread in the Highlands, White-tailed Eagle are rarely mistaken for anything else, and never forgotten! A massive eight-foot wingspan, with wings almost twice as deep as those of a Golden Eagle.....absolutely breathtaking. We arrive on Mull early afternoon, and immediately begin our search for both White-tailed and Golden Eagle. After a comfortable night on Mull, in the morning we will be ready to tour the island for eagles again, and off the rugged shoreline we aim to find Otter. Other wildlife should include Black Guillemot, Hooded Crow, Raven, and both Grey and Common Seal. We return in time for dinner at The Mountview Hotel on Tuesday.
DAY 5: Wednesday - In these weeks our private estate woodlands often produce hen Capercaillie, and cock birds are more active now too, frequently seen from Heatherlea mobile hides. Moorland and upland specialities such as Slavonian Grebe, Hen Harrier, Stonechat, Common Sandpiper, Peregrine, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, plus Golden Eagle and Osprey... your raptor list for today should be impressive, with perhaps between eight and twelve species by the end of the week.
DAY 6: Thursday - A full day on the Cairngorm plateau, with unforgettable mountain scenery all around as we head to the right spots for Ptarmigan and Dotterel, both perhaps with piping young running behind. Snow Bunting may also be seen. A brilliant day’s birding in a very special habitat. Later we enjoy a Highland summer evening with a leisurely drive to the moors close to The Mountview Hotel. Short-eared Owl breed here, and we frequently see the adults quartering over heather. Black-throated Diver and Red Grouse are also likely, and look out for waders including Dunlin, Redshank and Common Sandpiper in smart summer plumage. A lovely evening!
DAY 7: Friday - Friday is often a round-up day, perhaps at another coastal location with great birding. We may drive north to look for Osprey fishing and the first returning summer waders including Turnstone, Knot and Bar-tailed Godwit in brilliant colours. We will also look for Red Kite, Tree Sparrow, and farmland birds such as Grey Partridge and Yellowhammer and also search for any rarities within reach.
DAY 8: Saturday - Breakfast and departure. Don’t forget our courtesy return service to Aviemore.
Please note: all itineraries are given as a guide only. Actual holiday content may vary according to the judgement of your guide, and elements beyond our control (eg weather).
This holiday can be combined with:
Highland Wildlife, Highlands and the West Coast in summer
SCOTTISH ISLAND ADVENTURES
Outer Hebrides and the Shiants, North-west Highlands, St Kilda, Highlands and Islands in summer.
More Holiday Information
at Mountview Hotel can be seen here. www.mountviewhotel.co.uk
. All accommodation is en-suite unless otherwise advised before your booking is confirmed.
There is a choice of evening meal, and vegetarian, vegan and other diets are welcome. Breakfast may be chosen from a full Scottish menu. You don't need flasks for hot drinks.
will be light, although the mountain walking for Ptarmigan and Dotterel is a strenuous all-day hike. July sees the birds typically on the highest tops, with a 6-7 mile return walk with around 1200ft of climb. Guests can opt out of this excursion.
Expect a wide variation in weather conditions. Blazing sunshine and rain are equally likely, and you will probably experience a bit of everything. Bring waterproofs, walking boots or shoes and warm clothing, especially hat and gloves for the mountain excursion.
may be encountered in the evenings or around standing water, though it is rarely a problem. Please bring a good general repellent just in case.
size maximum 7 clients per guide.
Telescopes will be useful, and you should bring binoculars. We have a limited number of top quality Swarovski binoculars, which you may borrow at no charge (subject to availability). A camera would be useful too!
Travel north to Perth. Take A9 signposted Inverness to exit north of Aviemore. Follow signs northeast through Boat of Garten to Nethy Bridge (ten miles). In Nethy Bridge, drive through the village, over the River Nethy, and you will see our sign 200 metres ahead on the right.
BY RAIL Don't forget our courtesy collection service from Aviemore on Saturdays at 16:30 and 19:30, but please let us know at least 48 hours in advance! The best train to Aviemore is the ‘Highland Chieftain’ on the East Coast Line. This leaves London Kings Cross at 12.00, arriving Aviemore at 19.28. We recommend you connect with this service if possible. Our pickup also works well with the 16:19 arrival from Edinburgh. In general, rail travel via Edinburgh is easier than via Glasgow, where a trip across the city between stations is needed, often followed by a change at Perth. Return trains leave Aviemore at 07.25, 08.29 (fast train to London –recommended), 09.24. 10:27 and 11.23. However we can only make 2 journeys to Aviemore on Saturday morning, so you may be taken to Aviemore a little earlier. Rail enquiries: 0845 7484950, www.nationalrail.co.uk.
BY AIR Flights to Inverness are becoming available all the time, for latest info call our office. Currently direct flights to Inverness are available from: Belfast, Dublin, Amsterdam, Birmingham, Jersey (all Flybe), London Gatwick, London Luton and Bristol (all Easyjet). A new service has just been launched with daily service to London Heathrow with British Airways. Guests arriving in Inverness airport can then take a taxi to Nethy Bridge, or take the Airport Flyer bus to Inverness, from where they can take the train to Aviemore where we can collect you. Our courtesy collection service is at Saturdays at 16:30 and 19:30, but please let us know which at least 48 hours in advance! We will be able to meet the 15:51 and 18:46 trains departing from Inverness that arrive at 16:34 and 19:24 respectively.
What's included in your holiday price
Six nights comfortable accommodation at The Mountview Hotel, VisitScotland rated 3 Star. All rooms are en-suite, with TV and hospitality tray. There is no single supplement, and guests are never expected to share. Single guests might be upgraded to double room accommodation at no extra charge.
One night comfortable en-suite hotel accommodation on Mull.
Full Scottish breakfast, a substantial packed lunch, and a delicious dinner.
Six full days birdwatching.
All transport by comfortable minibus during six full days' birding. All access and ferry fees.
- Guidance from a professional Group Leader.
- Saturday courtesy pick-up and return service to Aviemore.
- A checklist specifically prepared for your holiday to record your sightings and notes.
What's not included in your holiday price
- Insurance, drinks and other items of a personal nature.
WHY CHOOSE HEATHERLEA?
Heatherlea is THE place for top quality birding holidays in Scotland, chosen by more and more birders each year. Stay in our own three star Small Hotel, and enjoy first-rate birding with Scotland’s best guiding team. Relax and enjoy yourself, as we do all the planning! Above all, we make it our business to show key wildlife to you. Our fully inclusive guided holidays concentrate on the real experience, and we take time to ensure that each of our guests enjoys everything we do.
* We have been organising birding and wildlife holidays for 27 seasons, and have a highly experienced and capable office team. We also offer a telephone and email service outside normal office hours.
* Our ‘Mainland Scotland’ holidays based at Mountview Hotel have a maximum ratio of 7 clients per guide, putting the emphasis on personal service, and helping you get the best possible experience.
* We are a small company, run BY birders FOR birders. Come and see!
* Heatherlea are Mainland Scotland’s FIRST ‘5-Star Wildlife Experience!’ This is the highest available grading, classified as ‘exceptional’ by visitScotland.
* There is no single supplement. Single guests are never expected or invited to share.
* Our holidays often include things which others might invite you to pay yourself, for instance loan of Swarovski binoculars, packed lunch and tips to hotels.
* We offer a courtesy transfer between our Hotel and Aviemore rail/bus links on Saturdays.
* Heatherlea hold full Tour Operator Insurance for your added protection.
* Heatherlea is a limited company, registered in Scotland. We are also registered to pay VAT, which is included in your holiday price as quoted on this page.
* Once your holiday is confirmed in writing by us, we promise not to surcharge the price for any reason.
Enjoy an excellent birding and wildlife holiday with Heatherlea.
Mainland Scotland’s FIRST ‘5-Star Wildlife Experience!’
'I went on the ''Eagles, Divers & Dotterel'' holiday last week & just wanted to say how impressed I was with Heatherlea staff. The guides (Jonny & Ian) were absolutely amazing - what really struck me was that they really cared whether we saw the birds we had come to see, & made every effort for us, right up until the last few minutes on the last day. Please pass on my thanks to them and thanks to Heatherlea for such a great holiday!
PS I'm happy for you to quote me in your brochure if it helps!' - Mr AF