Trip report – north Scotland

05th June 2010
Dates: 1st to 4th June 2010

Destination: north Scotland



Purpose of trip:

The purpose of my trip was my regular annual visit to the region to see bird and mammal species that are not found on a regular basis in Essex or East Anglia.

Primary target areas:

The primary target areas for wildlife watching were:

Perthshire: Glen Quaich and Loch of the Lowes SWT reserve

Speyside: Loch Insh and Loch Garten RSPB reserve

Inverness area: Loch Ruthven RSPB reserve

Northern Highlands including Handa Island SWT reserve

Getting there and getting around:

I travelled up to Glasgow by Virgin Trains on the evening of 31st May having obtained an extremely good value first class return ticket. This was a very relaxing and much quicker journey north than the more usual trip by road.

In Glasgow, I hired a Ford Focus from Hertz via ebookers.com for 4 days, again obtaining a very good deal.

On the nights of 31st May and 4th June 2011, I stayed at the Travelodge in Glasgow city centre.

On the night of 1st June 2011, I stayed at Crubenbeg House, a small guest house near Dalwhinnie south of Speyside. When I was researching my trip and looking for accommodation, I came across the very informative and interesting Crubenbeg House website. This certainly raises expectations for the first time visitor but having now stayed there, it definitely exceeded those expectations in terms of the welcome, hospitality and excellent food provided by John and Irene. Highly recommended!

On the nights of 2nd and 3rd June 2011, I was due to stay at the Rhiconich Hotel in the far north of Scotland. However, there was a mix up in the booking arrangements and I was not booked in for the first night when the hotel was full. That problem was promptly resolved by the Rhiconich Hotel arranging and paying for an alternative B&B nearby and by giving me a free night at the Rhiconich Hotel for the second night .... many thanks Heather! The Rhiconich Hotel is situated in a stunning location at the head of Loch Inchard providing easy access to the northernmost parts of the Scottish mainland. Again, highly recommended not least for the customer service.

Weather:

Apart from heavy rain in Glasgow on the morning of my first day, the weather was bright and sunny for the whole of my trip with temperatures reaching as high as 26 degrees.

Highlights:

During my short trip, I was able to record 93 bird species and 5 mammal species.

The main highlight was undoubtedly the trip to Handa Island in the far north west of Scotland with its stunning seabird colonies.

Trip list - north Scotland

The following summarises the notable wildlife species seen on my trip, many of the birds being first records for 2010.

Glen Quaich: Black Grouse

Loch of the Lowes SWT reserve: Osprey, Red Squirrel

Loch Garten RSPB reserve: Crested Tit, Spotted Flycatcher, Wigeon

Loch Insh: Osprey, Goldeneye

Loch Ruthven: Slavonian Grebe

Tore to Culbokie: Red Kite

Garve to Glascarnoch: Red Kite

Tore to Kessock: Red Kite

Inchnadamph: Golden Eagle

Loch Stack: Black-throated Diver

Oldshoremore: Twite, Gannet

Handa: Red-throated Diver, Great Skua, Arctic Skua, Puffin, Guillemot, Razorbill, Fulmar, Kittiwake, Shag, Arctic Tern, Cuckoo, Raven

Durness area: Rock Dove

Rhiconich: Goosander, Cuckoo (singing from 2.30 a.m.!)

Loch Fleet: Osprey, Common Seal

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