Spring into Scotland Including Mull
There is no single supplement, and singles are never expected to share at The Mountview Hotel.
Perhaps the ultimate spring wildlife experience in Scotland! All our resident birds are displaying or breeding, winter birds are still here in good numbers, and summer visitors are arriving daily. We also enjoy a west coast overnight expedition with a full day on the magical isle of Mull, where the birding is fabulous and the scenery unforgettable.
KEY MOMENTS at our Friday round-up - which will be yours?
- Male and female Capercaillie
- White-tailed and Golden Eagle over the mountains of Mull - we enjoy a full day here on this holiday!
- Ptarmigan in winter moult
- Otters playing on the coastline
DAY 1 (Saturday) - Arrival, welcome, dinner and briefing. Don’t forget our courtesy collection service from Aviemore.
DAY 2 (Sunday) - Our award-winning hotel is right in the middle of the best birding habitats, and a local drive should produce Black Grouse popping and cooing at the lek, followed after breakfast with a walk in the nearby Abernethy Forest. Crested Tit and Scottish (Parrot) Crossbill are found here, and during these months we often see Black Grouse and Capercaillie too. A clear spot gives us chance of Golden Eagle, and then off for lunch with Dipper, Buzzard and Goldeneye for company.
DAY 3 (Monday) - We journey west, watching out for Black Grouse, Black Guillemot, Common Seal and Hooded Crow as we travel. We may stop off to see Peregrine at the nest, Whooper Swans wintering on the marshes, or perhaps a Golden Eagle after we cross Loch Linnhe onto the west coast. Depending upon tides, this may be our best time for Otter, and we may be able to view Pine Marten in the evening before we settle down to dinner just north of Mull. By staying here we can get an early morning ferry across to ......
DAY 4 (Tuesday) - MAGICAL MULL! Land of eagles and otters, Mull is a ‘must see’ place for all bird lovers. We immediately target White-tailed Eagle and Golden Eagle, found here at their highest densities in the UK. Moorland species may include Hen Harrier and Short-eared Owl, and off the rugged shoreline we aim to find Otter and Great Northern Diver in breeding plumage. Worth a trip to Scotland in itself, we do this in one action-packed day, returning in time for dinner at The Mountview. This day is a firm favourite at Heatherlea!
DAY 5 (Wednesday) - Capercaillie! We may join the RSPB if birds are showing at the local Capercaillie Watch, or visit our exclusive private estate woodlands. Staying inside our large minibus, we have an excellent chance of seeing both male and female birds. Later we search for moorland specialities including Golden Eagle, Peregrine, Merlin and as spring develops, Wheatear, Ring Ouzel, Slavonian Grebe and Twite. The day finishes with a moorland drive, which may give views of Red Grouse and Black-throated Diver.
CAPERCAILLIE - a responsible and caring attitude, especially in the breeding season! Our private estate access and unbeatable local knowledge are invaluable for seeing Capercaillie, and our success rate on this holiday is excellent. Heatherlea helped to write the RSPB Code of Conduct for Capercaillie watching, and this is a reliable and responsible way to see the wonderful ‘Horse of the Forest’.
DAY 6 (Thursday) - We head for the hills to see Ptarmigan and almost always find the birds. These mountains support few other species, though we watch for Snow Bunting, Twite and Raven. We may also see Red-throated Diver, Goldeneye, Peregrine, Crested Tit and Scottish Crossbill as we descend, and local birchwoods hold Redpoll and Siskin flocks. Osprey, Slavonian Grebe, Whooper Swan and many breeding wader species are likely as we enjoy the best of local birding. Waxwing is often seen till late April.
DAY 7 (Friday) - Spring birding along the Moray coast is particularly enjoyable, as the newly arriving migrants complement remaining winter visitors. This day can easily include Osprey fishing, rafts of Common Eider, Goosander, Merganser, Stonechat, Common and Velvet Scoter, Longtailed Duck, Great Northern, Black and Red-throated Diver, Glaucous Gull, Iceland Gull, and lots of spring waders including Purple Sandpiper, Turnstone, Bar-tailed Godwit, Knot, Dunlin and Ringed Plover, many in bright summer plumage. Watch out also for farmland specialities including Corn Bunting, Yellowhammer and Grey Partridge, all still found on this fertile northern coastline. Sandwich Tern arrive late-March, and Common, Arctic and Little Tern in April. Auks, Gannet, gulls and more. A really rewarding day! We will also search for any rarities or unusual sightings within reach. In recent years we saw White-billed Diver, Little Auk, Little Gull and of course the welldocumented Belted Kingfisher.
DAY 8 (Saturday) - Breakfast and departure. Don’t forget our courtesy return service to Aviemore.
Expect a wide variation of weather. Blazing sunshine and heavy snow are equally likely, and you will probably experience a bit of everything. Bring warm clothing, waterproofs, and walking boots or shoes. Walking will generally be easy/moderate, although mountain walking on Ptarmigan day can be strenuous. See 'Easy Walking' for holidays with less walking. Telescopes will be useful, and you should bring binoculars. A camera would be useful too! You don't need flasks for hot drinks, or wellies. Biting insects are not expected.
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 colour TV and hospitality tray. There is no single supplement, and guests are never expected to share. Single guests may be upgraded to double room accommodation at no extra charge.
- One night comfortable en-suite hotel accommodation in Sunart.
- Full Scottish breakfast, a substantial packed lunch, and a delicious dinner.
- Six full days birdwatching.
- All transport by comfortable PCV minibus. All estate access and ferry fees.
- Guidance from a professional Group Leader
- Checklist to record sightings and notes
What's not included in your holiday price
Transport to The Mountview Hotel.
Insurance, drinks and other items of a personal nature.
Enjoy an excellent wildlife holiday with mainland Scotland's only 5 star Wildlife Experience.
'Exceptional' Visit Scotland