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  • Writer's pictureSpeyside Wildlife

Islay and Speyside 2018 Trip Report

“On our recent Islay and Speyside Easter trip we had brilliant sightings and some interesting weather to say the least! In Speyside the temperature got down to -5 some nights, with a dusting of fresh snow on several days, but we also experienced stunning warm early spring sunshine. In the Findhorn Valley we had great views of white Mountain Hares, along with a pair of Peregrines sparring with a Common Buzzard overhead and enroute to our mammal watching hide that night, we saw a Woodcock in the middle of the road! At the hide we also enjoyed views of at least six Badgers along with a Tawny Owl.

Badger, Speyside Wildlife Hide (Mike Hems)

Goldeneye were displaying on the lochs, whilst up on the moors many Red Grouse were displaying, along with early returning waders such as Curlew and Golden Plover. On the Moray coast the first returning Sandwich Terns were offshore, along with some lingering winter waders and seaduck, with both Common Scoter and Long-tailed Duck still offshore and a wheeling flock of 155+ Knot along the shore at Burghead. On our day out on the west coast we had fantastic eagle views, with at least five Golden Eagles seen during the day, including a pair soaring right overhead and being mobbed by a Raven and the amazing sight of an immature White-tailed Eagle hunting gulls right in front of us!

Knot (Cath Wright)

Golden Eagle (Duncan Macdonald)

On Islay we had some brilliant views of the huge flocks of wintering Barnacle and White-fronted Geese, along with several sightings of Hen Harrier, Peregrine and Merlin and watched a stunning Golden Eagle soaring low right overhead at the same time as a pair of Chough flew over! We also had great views of both Iceland and Glaucous Gulls and a huge flock of 600+ summer-plumaged northern race Golden Plover wheeling over the fields, were a sight to behold! With the sights and sounds of masses of breeding waders displaying over the marshes at Loch Gruinart we certainly crammed in some real Islay magic!”

Barnacle Geese (Craig Round)

Chough (Craig Round)

If you fancy combining Speyside with another destination this year, you can book our Speyside and Mull Summer holiday online.

Islay (Craig Round)

The Oa, Islay (Craig Round)

Islay (Craig Round)

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