Birds of the Scottish Highlands
NEW! Heatherlea Birding Short Breaks in Scotland FROM ONLY £495
NEW! Birds of the Scottish Highlands – short breaks!
Come to the wonderful Scottish Highlands with Heatherlea and see Capercaillie, Golden Eagle, Crested Tit, Red Squirrel, Black Grouse and much more during this exciting wildlife-watching short break. Enjoy some of the very best wildlife-watching in Britain!
Ideal for your first wildlife holiday, or for busy birders who don't have a full week to spare, all Short Breaks are based here at our Hotel in Nethy Bridge, at the heart of the Cairngorms National Park. As usual, Heatherlea holidays are fully inclusive, meaning all travel, accommodation and food is included. You will enjoy expert guidance from your Heatherlea Guide, and the holiday also includes full board 3-star Hotel accommodation, packed lunches, weekend transfer to rail or bus links, and a checklist to use during your holiday. Everything you need to see wonderful wildlife - terrific value!
Choose a four-night break for only £495. Price includes four nights DBB and three days wildlife watching. No single supplement. Low deposit of £100 secures your holiday. Arrive Sat – leave Wed, or arrive Tues – leave Sat.
Sat 6 July – Wed 10 July, Tues 9 July – Sat 13 July
Sat 20 July – Wed 24 July, Tues 23 July – Sat 27 July
Sat 7 Sept - Wed 11 Sept, Tues 10 Sept - Sat 14 Sept
Sat 14 Sept - Wed 18 Sept, Tues 17 Sept - Sat 21 Sept
More dates may become available, please return to this page or call our office to check.
As usual with Heatherlea, everything is included in the price you pay before you join, so there are no extras. Relax in our comfortable three-star Hotel, enjoy meals prepared by Chefs who have earned two rosettes for good food, and travel in minibuses which are great mobile hides.
Above all, your holiday includes the services of at least one of our resident Tour Leader/Guides, a very valuable asset! Much more than a friend to help you identify birds, or a driver to take you to special places, your Heatherlea Guide plans your entire holiday, from briefing on the first evening to round-up on the last. He knows where the birds and mammals have been showing, and the best route to maximise your chances. He then organises everything to suit wildlife, weather and your wildlife progress through the holiday. When not leading Heatherlea trips, he is probably busy birding somewhere around the Highlands! We think you will see far more wildlife with a Heatherlea Tour Leader/Guide than without, and of course you can relax and enjoy your holiday as we do the planning.
Join Heatherlea, your gateway to the wildlife of the Highlands!
This will change with the seasons, please see detail below for more information.
Capercaillie, Golden Eagle, Crested Tit, Scottish (Parrot) Crossbill, Red Squirrel, divers and grebes in breeding plumage, Osprey, Black Grouse ….. these short breaks target many of Scotland’s key species. These holidays are ideal for busy birders who want to round-up special birds in a wonderful landscape, or for the first time visitor looking to see Scottish species for the first time. Join us to enjoy some of the very best birding in Britain!
DAY 1 Sat or Tues
Arrival, welcome, dinner and briefing. Don’t forget our courtesy collection service from Aviemore on Saturday.
DAY 2 Sun or Wed
Our first day is firmly focused on the birds which make this wonderful part of the country so special. An early start for Black Grouse will be offered (September dates only); the birds can be expected at lekking grounds until late May, and again sporadically from September. After breakfast we visit local ‘hotspots’ in Caledonian pine forest to see Crested Tit, which can be found locally at any time. Scottish (Parrot) Crossbill are nomadic, though present throughout the year. We also target Capercaillie, often travelling to our own private forested estate. Capercaillie are active in spring, with females with young are usually present in our private estate through summer months. Our record is good, though please note Caper are increasingly rare, and we never disturb the birds just to see them. Osprey will be at traditional sites (mid-March –mid-Sept), and both Red- and Black-throated Diver can be seen in breeding plumage until late July. Red Squirrel are seen on our Hotel feeders most days.
DAY 3 Mon or Thurs
This day is a firm favourite here at Heatherlea, as we visit highland glens looking for Golden Eagle, our top target on this day. In suitable weather we will spend most of our time in the moorlands where we can expect sightings. Other species might include Peregrine, Red Grouse, Ring Ouzel (until late-July), Twite and Raven. White-tailed Eagle may also be seen, and from late March Slavonian Grebe. Over 22 seasons, many of our guests tell us that this is the day they were hoping for when they chose to holiday in Scotland.
DAY 4 Tues or Fri
Our third day offers a complete contrast as we visit the Moray Coast, where birding is excellent at any time. This day is perhaps the most exciting, as every single minute can hold the unexpected. In summer we see gulls, terns, waders and duck, perhaps including migrants. Gannet and divers may be present, and farmland birds may include Corn Bunting, Tree Sparrow, Grey Partridge and Yellowhammer. We also know quiet and underwatched places on the west coast where waders can be found in bright summer plumage. We also target any available rarities on this day, and on recent breaks these included spectacular finds such as King Eider, Surf Scoter and Brunnich's Guillemot. A great day wherever we take you!
DAY 5 Wed or Sat
Breakfast and depart. Don’t forget our courtesy service to transport links in Aviemore on Saturdays.
It is important to understand that these short breaks are a ‘dip’ into the birdlife of the Highlands, and that our exact itinerary and species target list might vary according to weather. You can reasonably expect 80+ species during holidays where we visit the coast, including many of the key specialities, and a host of northern birds which might be difficult to see elsewhere in Britain.
To see more, including Pine Marten, Otter, Badger, Minke Whale, Bottle-nosed Dolphin and many more birds including seasonal migration, try one of our full week holidays such as 'The Top Twenty' or 'The Top Thirty', which have a focus on mammals as well as birds.
- three days birding with Heatherlea, the Scottish mainland’s only five-star wildlife Experience! You will be with one of our renowned guides throughout your days in the field.
- four nights dinner, bed and breakfast at the famous Mountview Hotel in Nethy Bridge, headquarters of Heatherlea.
- all transport costs including fuel, access to reserves and private estates.
- Heatherlea checklist to record your sightings
- packed lunch for each day in the field.
- complimentary transfers to/from Aviemore transport links on Saturdays
- free loan of top quality Swarovski binoculars during your stay (subject to availability).
Whats not included
- travel to Nethy Bridge
- personal insurance
- personal expenses including drinks at the bar
- transfers to/from Aviemore transport links on weekdays
Your holiday may run alongside a Heatherlea Full Week Scottish holiday