Capercaillie Short Breaks
Three days wildlife watching and four nights in our famous Mountview Hotel on this short break to remember. Our main target is Capercaillie, and we aim to get good views of both male and female birds. On previous holidays we have often been able to agree that the whole group has ‘done’ Capercaillie thoroughly, before moving on to other species! Obviously our itinerary on such a short holiday is weather dependent, but even with showers you can reasonably expect to see approx 60 species as we visit the Moray coast and round-up specialities inland. NB All three birding days will include a morning foray for Capercaillie (weather permitting) until we have all had good views of the birds! At this time of year dawn and dusk are at much more agreeable times, so Capercaillie hunting doesn’t involve very early starts or late finishes.
DAY 1 Sat or Tues
Arrival, welcome, dinner and briefing. Don’t forget our courtesy collection service from Aviemore.
DAY 2 Sun or Wed
We begin with Capercaillie in mind at local ‘hotspots’. Heatherlea will have been birding for around 40 consecutive weeks, and we know roughly where the birds are best expected. Later we stay in local Caledonian pine forest to see Crested Tit, Scottish (Parrot) Crossbill, Roe Deer and Red Squirrel, and in the afternoon travel to a local glen for Golden Eagle. With lots of young birds on the wing, November is a good time to see these superb birds, and Mountain Hare scamper across the broken scree slopes.
DAY 3 Mon or Thurs
Another early start (about 6.30am) to see Black Grouse at a traditional lekking site. The birds return as early as August to establish pecking order for next spring. We then take another look for Capercaillie before spending most of the day in glens or at the coast north of Inverness. With waders, gulls and seaduck now present in good wintering numbers, this should be a day filled with good birdwatching. Red Grouse should also be found today!
DAY 4 Tues or Fri
A complete contrast as we visit the Moray Coast, to investigate the large seaduck concentrations. Here Velvet and Common Scoter and Long-tailed Duck can be expected in hundreds, and we scour the flocks for Surf Scoter (seen most years at this time). Wintering birds on the sea should include divers, gulls and the odd stray bird such as Little Auk following northerly winds. Depending on our success earlier, we find time for Capercaillie in the morning or at dusk on the way home.
Expect a total of 60 species or more on this short but very rewarding holiday.
DAY 5 Wed or Sat
Breakfast and depart. Don’t forget our courtesy service to transport links in Aviemore.