Outer Hebrides Birders' Tour
Maximum ten guests plus leader from our resident team.
Everyone knows the Outer Hebrides are becoming famous for rarities, and this is a real birders’ treat as we seek rarities at the best time of year. Possibilities are many and varied from Snowy Owl to Dusky Warbler as we travel the length of the islands from the Butt of Lewis to Barra.
Just look at the mouthwatering list of rarities found on these islands since 1990; we hope to find at least one or two to add to this list! Pectoral Sandpiper, Upland Sandpiper, Lesser Yellowlegs, American Golden Plover, Lapland Bunting, Ring-necked Duck, Snowy Owl, Grey Phalarope, Sooty Shearwater, Pomarine Skua, Yellow-browed Warbler, White-rumped Sandpiper, Green-winged Teal, Olive-backed Pipit, Waxwing, Glaucous Gull, Hawfinch, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Pallas’ Warbler, Baird’s Sandpiper, Ring-billed Gull, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Common Rosefinch, Yellow Warbler, Hoopoe, Sabine’s Gull, American Wigeon, Surf Scoter, Barred Warbler, Dusky Warbler, Siberian Chiffchaff, Bonelli’s Warbler, White’s Thrush, Mealy Redpoll, Arctic Redpoll, Solitary Sandpiper, Red-eyed Vireo, Rustic Bunting, Laughing Gull, Pacific Golden Plover, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Blackpoll Warbler, Swainson’s Thrush, Veery, Marsh Sandpiper, Killdeer and Purple Martin.
Golden and White-tailed Eagle, Merlin, rafts of scoter, Eider, Long-tailed Duck and divers, Hebridean races of several commoner birds including Song Thrush and Wren, searching the thickets around Stornoway or racing down to Barra to catch a rarity in someone’s garden, the thrills should come thick and fast on this exciting birding adventure. Our exact itinerary and even overnight accommodation is impossible to confirm at this stage although the outline itinerary below will give you an rough idea, we will be flexible and move around (within reason!) according to the best birding.
Day 1 Sat
Depart Nethybridge and travel across Scotland past Loch Ness and the Seven Sisters of Kintail to the famous Skye Bridge. We cross Skye to the ferry point at Uig. and enjoy birding from the ferry as we cross The Little Minch to Lochmaddy, where Great, Arctic, Pomarine and Long-tailed Skua are possible. Manx Shearwater and perhaps Sooty Shearwater may be seen. Fulmar, Gannet, Black Guillemot and other auks can be more confidently expected.
Day 2 – 3 Sun, Mon
We stay at our comfortable base on Sout Uist for three nights, giving us two full days and an early morning on Tuesday to travel the length and breadth of the Uists and Benbecula looking for rarities and migrants. If birding demands, we may also take a ferry trip to Barra. During this part of the holiday, we hope to make contact with White-tailed Eagle, Merlin and Peregrine and may also get good views of Otter. We will of course plan our days around the availability of rarities, and collect these desired residents as we travel.
Day 4 - 7 Tues, Wed, Thurs and Fri
We take the ferry over to Harris and Lewis. We will visit both Tiumpan Head and the Butt of Lewis, where rarities can be spotted offshore, and also the network of shallow lochs and lochans on the west of Lewis, areas where American migrants can be spotted on the waterside or in neighbouring boggy fields. Our itinerary will of course be dictated by both the weather and birding considerations. Vagrants are commonly found in the woods in Stornoway, where we watch and listen carefully. Hebridean Wren and Song Thrush are present here too. We also investigate flocks of duck off Harris, where Surf Scoter or King Eider might be hidden amongst the more common species, and resident birds near our hotel on Harris include Golden Eagle and Raven. Our hotel on Harris is very popular with Heatherlea groups, and we look forward to a second thoroughly enjoyable place to stay, with very good food.
At the end of our exploration on Friday we join the ferry at Stornoway to travel back to the mainland at Ullapool. This large ferry is also excellent for birding, and as we cross The Minch we scan for migrating seabirds and cetaceans. We return to the Mountview Hotel on Friday evening.
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).
Expect a wide variation in weather conditions, which can be wild and unpredictable. Sunshine, rain and strong winds are all possible, and you will probably experience a bit of everything. Biting insects are not expected. Please bring walking boots or shoes, weatherproof clothing and a small rucksack. The holiday will be run at a relaxed pace, with fabulous birdwatching in a spectacular setting! There will be short to moderate (1 to 3 mile) walks some days.
What's included in your 'Outer Hebrides for Birders' holiday price
•Six nights comfortable en-suite hotel/guest house accommodation on the Outer Hebrides. We choose from our personally inspected shortlist, where birders are welcome and the hospitality is special. Guests are never expected to share. All rooms are en-suite. Full details with your joining pack.
•Full Scottish breakfast and dinner from Saturday evening til Friday morning, packed lunch daily.
•All transfers by comfortable minibus. All ferries and other boat trips. Drivers can leave vehicles safely parked at The Mountview Hotel.
•Guidance from a professional Group Leader.
What's not included in your 'Outer Hebrides for Birders' holiday price
•Extra night in Nethybridge area at beginning and end of holiday. This can be arranged for you if requested at time of holiday booking. Price £45 per person B&B.
•Transfers from/to rail links in Aviemore.
•Insurance, drinks and other items of a personal nature.