New Year Birdlist Booster, Scotland: January 2020

January 4, 2020 to January 11, 2020

January 11, 2020 to January 18, 2020

Prices: £1,195pp, no single supplement. Deposit £200

To book: call 01479 821 248 or email

Neil McIntyre

Neil McIntyre

If you’re already planning on taking Bird Watching’s #My200BirdYear challenge in 2020, or if you just want to see the very best of Scotland’s birds in winter, then this fun holiday is for you. Get your New Year birdlist off to a cracking start with a week of birding across the Highlands from coast to coast!

For the second week, you’ll be joined by Bird Watching editor Matt Merritt as well as Heatherlea’s own expert guides.

Top priorities will be the resident Scottish specialities – Capercaillie, Ptarmigan, Black Grouse, Golden Eagle, White-tailed Eagle, Scottish Crossbill and Crested Tit – but you’ll also be able to look for a host of northern winter visitors, and finally round-up rarities. By the end of the week, you should have seen around 120 species, including many ‘difficult’ birds you might miss without a guide, or struggle to locate further south in the UK.

There’ll be time spent inland in the Caledonian pinewoods of Abernethy Forest for speciality birds, a visit to the Cairngorm Mountains to see Ptarmigan, and trips to remote glens for eagles and other raptors. Northern coastal habitats provide great birding in winter, and with the Moray Firth, Aberdeenshire, the West Coast and secluded bays north of Inverness all within reach, prospects are excellent, especially at the coast. King Eider and Surf Scoter are regular, and others more than possible. Your guides will closely monitor weather, tides and local bird news to make sure you can use all the available daylight (about eight hours per day).

Holidays are based at the Mountview Hotel, with all transport and expert guidance from our resident team. Heatherlea anticipate that the whole hotel will be given over to the holiday, meaning a great birding atmosphere as the entire week is run by birders for birders: a very enjoyable prospect!

We try to accumulate a sizeable list, building through the week, with all nights at
the Mountview Hotel giving us the maximum flexibility – perfect when an Ivory Gull turns up! We treat you as an individual, meaning your personal sightings are important to us, and we will try to make sure everyone sees everything, particularly the ‘Key Target’ species.

If weather permits we will look for Capercaillie using Heatherlea’s exclusive ‘Private Estate’ access.
We enter through secure gates, and stay inside our ‘mobile hide’ minibuses, driving on tracks with keen eyes to all sides! Our buses are high enough to allow good views into the forest, and Heatherlea are the only birding tour operator allowed to enter these lands by vehicle.

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