Summer Birds & Handa Island
All of the Highlands' best birds in full summer plumage!
All the summer migrants have arrived and everything is busy nesting. Swifts scream round the tower, sand martins swarm over the river, greater-spotted woodpeckers hammer at the feeders. Eagles are feeding chicks, ospreys are frantically fishing and goshawks and red kites spiral in blue skies. Puffins and auks come ashore to breed.
An expedition to this beautiful island off the North-West coast for sea-birds like guillemots, puffins, razorbills, kittiwakes and great and arctic skuas. We'll overnight in a comfortable hotel and B&B on the West coast.
Arrival and time to settle in and explore the grounds and trails at Aigas. 126 bird species have been recorded here. This list includes 13 species of raptor and rare migrants like wryneck and green woodpecker. Sometimes there can be up to 4 ospreys fishing our loch. Buzzards mew over the moors often joined by red kites and croaking ravens.
Around your lodges the woods are alive with crossbills, siskins, greenfinches, goldcrests, spotted flycatchers, goldfinches, treecreepers, willow warblers and wood warblers. In the gloaming tawny owls begin to hoot, roe deer bark and badgers scuffle around. Pine martens may skip along your balcony rail searching for titbits.
The Black Isle peninsula is well known for the 1989 re-introduction of the red kite. There are now over 40 breeding pairs in the Highlands, the majority on the Black Isle. A mosaic of habitats surrounded by the Moray and Cromarty Firths, delivers an incredible wealth of waders and wildfowl with linnet, twite, redpoll and the tuneful skylark on headlands and beaches. We always search for our resident population of bottlenose dolphins cavorting and dancing in the tidal races at Chanonry Point.
Easter Ross lies north east along the Cromarty Firth, with its oil rigs looming out of the water. Inquisitive seals laze on the rocks and the coast is busy with many waders. Tarbat Ness is an excellent viewpoint for waders, sea ducks, divers, auks and any passing migratory birds. We cross over the Dornoch Firth famed for its rolling sand banks to the inner estuary of Loch Fleet for common scoter, eider and many more waders.
Our Local Glens
We will spend this day exploring Affric, Cannich or Strathfarrar for crested tits, Scottish crossbills, great spotted woodpeckers and other woodland species. Sparrowhawks are seen jinking through the trees. Golden eagles often soar overhead and we will investigate a known eyrie. Many lochs and the river give us an ideal opportunity to find the elegant red and black-throated divers, scaup, whooper swans, common scoter, little grebe, red-breasted merganser, goosander and osprey, with dippers and grey wagtails on fast flowing streams.
We go to search for the world’s fourth largest eagle and Britain’s rarest breeding raptor, the white tailed sea eagle. On our way we’ll aim to find fishing ospreys, and catch red kites circling over newly planted fields. The west is a rugged, rocky and harsh landscape, with menacing mountains framing the landscape. Fjord-like sea lochs provide an ideal habitat for many seabirds and sea ducks.
Aigas birdwatching holidays combine exquisite scenery with fabulous birds and the warmest Highland welcome to produce the best wildlife encounters for you.
All Aigas programmes are all inclusive. No single supplement is applied. More information here.