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News from the Field June 2024

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Finland in Spring

Having visited other Scandinavian countries in the autumn and winter before, it was great to see the region in spring and lead our 2024 Finland tour. A really enjoyable week in May, we began in Oulu at the head of the Baltic Sea, before travelling cross-country to the eastern Boreal forests at Kuusamo. Arctic migration in full swing, while in Oulu we found waders such as Wood Sandpiper and Ruff EVERYWHERE, and crawling into hides to photograph them at close range was a real highlight. Three-toed and Black Woodpecker showed exceptionally well, and once in Kuusamo we were delighted to encounter Siberian Jay, Siberian Tit and Red-flanked Bluetail. A showy male Bluethroat was especially memorable, watching Common Crane become a daily occurrence and seeing over a dozen Capercaillie felt odd (given they’re in such decline in Scotland). And with Willow Grouse now deemed a separate species from (newly endemic) British Red Grouse, our sighting of one was well timed and now feels all the more worthwhile. Of course, Finland is famous for its owls and despite it being a poor year, we still saw one each of Great Grey, Ural, Tengmalm’s and Pygmy Owl. The thrilling, last gasp Northern Hawk Owl spotted by Michael as we drove home on the final afternoon will be the stuff of Heatherlea legend for a long time to come too!!!”  Mark Warren

To view all of our upcoming Finland tours click here!

Highlands & Orkney   

The Highlands & Orkney team cashed in with Gaviiforms last week, managing to see four species of Diver (or Loon) on their journey around Highland, Caithness, Sutherland and the Orkney Isles. We were treated to views of these elegant birds in full breeding splendour looking their very best. In addition to multiple Red-throated and Great Northern Divers, we enjoyed a serene moment with a Black-throated Diver close to our base in the Cairngorms at such a range that we could examine the intricate markings and feathering to the head that almost looked like velvet. So, what was the fourth species, I hear you ask? Well, it was none other than a cracking summer plumaged White-billed Diver off Brora as we drove north to Orkney. Great luck at this time of year.” Alex Rhodes

To view all of our Orkney tours click here!

Highland Wildlife in Early Summer

Despite the rather changeable weather we had a great range of species on our first all round natural history trip of the season. Visiting a variety of habitats throughout the week we clocked up an impressive list of birds, mammals, butterflies, moths, dragonflies and plants, including many specialities of the area. The highlight species were as follows:

Birds: Crested Tit, Black-throated Diver and Golden Eagle

Mammals: Minke Whale, Pine Marten and Red Squirrel

Butterflies: Northern Brown Argus, Small Blue and Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary

Moths: Thrift Clearwing, Ruby Tiger and Rannoch Looper

Dragonflies: White-faced Darter, Northern Damselfly and Downy Emerald

Plants: 11 species of orchid, One-flowered Wintergreen and Twinflower

A great week had by all!Holly Page

For all of our upcoming mainland Scotland weeks click here!


About Heatherlea Holidays

Contact Information

The Mountview Hotel, Nethybridge,
PH25 3EB Scotland

T: +44(0)1479 821248