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Scotland seabirds and dolphins

Click here for a pictorial view of this tour in 2012

Participants from the United Kingdom may join this tour on 14th June at 09.00 am in Newcastle at arrival of the ferry from IJmuiden. Scotland a scenery which is surprisingly varied country with forests and an almost bare green landscape, but also wide views and thousands of lakes. Shortly said a country in which you may have all seasons in one day.

zeekoeten Schotland


Scotland is a very attractive country because of its seabirds. Every birdwatcher likes to see these species: puffins, guillemot, razorbill, fulmar, kittywake in spectacular colonies, dotterel, ptarmigan, great skua, arctic skua, snow bunting, ring ouzel and merlin. During this birdwatching tour we will explore the surroundings for these species. During this time of the year the chance for better weather circumstances is best and in the month of June we have longer days in Scotland.

Rocks full of seabirds

After arrival in Newcastle we drive along the coastline to Scotland.

kuifaalscholver Schotland


We will visit a small rock where most of the seabirds are staying. It gives a stunning view to sea attacting the rocks. The birds are imperturbable, their lives go on. It does not matter if it is stormy or not. If you have a closer look at the birds you will see their differences and preferences. The kittywakes breed at ridges along the steep rocs. Their nests are enlarged every year with seaweed, grass and lichen. The guillemots also breed at the ridges. Because they make no nest, they prefer the flat upperside of the pillar rocks. guillemots live very close together and live mostly in harmony. Sometimes they are quarreling, making noise and use their bills to attack and defend. At the end of the day we arrive in our hotel. This hotel is very well situated, at the end of a dead-end road, at the feet of the Cairncorm Mountains, surrounded by nature.


visarend Schotland


Scotland is not bare and wide everywhere. At some places we find the rests of the original Caledonian pine forests, which has been preserved. These remainings are mainly the Scots pine forests. These trees can grow large and tall. These kind of trees are important for the ospreys, which specie makes his nest in the top of the flat crown of the tree. We will visit the famous osprey nest near Loch Garten. Here is a video camera, which is giving a view on the nest, which can be seen in the visitors center.

Lochs and moors

Schots sneeuwhoen Schotland

Red Grouse

After the overwhelming noise of the seabird colonies, we will enjoy the beneficent silence of the Scotish lakes (lochs) and swampy moors (moors). Here you will find less birds, but some of the species are very special: famous grouse, short-eared owl, hen harrier, merlin, golden plover, dunlin. In the neighbourhood of some lakes we will find lochsred-throated diver and black-throated diver. In the surroudings of little lakes we can see Slavonian grebe. We have a chance to see goldeneye, Red-breasted merganser, osprey, common sandpiper, and sometimes the common scoter. The moors are big swampy heeds, which are formed after cutting of the forests. Curlew, meadow pipit, wheatear, skylark prevail generally. Other species are less numerous such as the black grouse.


Skuas are enormous seabirds with a parasitic way of life. They feed with what they steal and rob

grote jager op Handa Island

grote jager op Handa Island

from other seabirds. In order to see skuas we make a long tour to the north, where we will visit an island. On our way we pass tens of lochs and moors, where we watch for golden plovers, and greenshanks. We make the crossing with a boat. We have a full time day to enjoy all birds of the island. At the end of the day we make the crossing again to the mainland. We will see the agressive diving great skua and arctic skua. (these 

kleine jager

Arctic skua

species are breeding on the island) puffins near their nestholes, a small colony of arctic terns, singing Scandinavian rock pipits, great bak-backed gull and possibly some black guillemots. Most of the birds are rather tame. You could come very near to these birds and make very good pictures. Along the coast there is also a colony of gray seals, resting on the rocks when it is low tide.

The loneley bare mountain plateau

alpensneeuwhoen Schotland


The Cairncorm mountains are situated in the centre of the Scottish highlands. These very old mountains have been erodated for years by water, wind and ice. At the flat tops of these mountains we have a tundra climate. Here we make a long walk searching to the special species of this area: dotterel, ptarmigan and snow bunting.

Glens: golden eagle and ring ouzel

Glens are deep valleys formed by gletchers in the moutainous areas. Remote valleys with steep rocky wallls are very suitable for a breeding place of the golden eagle. Golden eagles prevail generally in Scotland, though they are not so easy to get an eye on it. In this same area we have a chance to see ring ouzel, twite, dipper, wagtail, wheatear and peregrine.

Gray seal

grijze zeehond Schotland

Gray seal

Walking between thousands of seabirds, gullemots, razorbills, kittywakes, shags and puffins. During the forelast day (depends on the weather conditions) we will visit one of the bird islands of the Farne islands. We try to land, where we will walk a small trail between breeding birds. On our way to the island we will see many birds and grey seals as well.


Bird Photography

During this tour, there will be, depending on the weather circumstances, excellent possibilities for bird photography and not even birds alone. Also gray seal and bottle-nose dolphins can be seen and registered with your camera. Especially the seabirds and the species of the highlands can be approached very close.

tuimerlaar met vis Schotland

bottlenose dolphin with fish


The short movie below gives a good impression of this tours possibilities.


Practical information
Price: € 1750,- for participants starting the tour in Newcastle on a halfboard basis.
Dates: 18 June until 26 June 2016
Tourcode: 15Schot (please mention when booking).
Single supplement: € 280,-
Transport: Minivan
Itinerary: will be sent 4 weeks before departure
Walking effort: One trail climbing the Carngorm Mountains is rather intensive. The rest is easy going.
Number of participants:  6 – 8 persons.
Accommodation: good middle class hotels.
tour guide: English speaking tourleader.
Weather: not very stable and changeable weather, sun and rain is all possible
Day 1: departure from IJmuiden (The Netherlands);
Day 2: arrival in Newcastle, seabirds St Abbs Head and proceed to hotel;
Day 3: tour through Highlands and along several Lochs;
Day 4: Handa Island;
Day 5: to Aviemore, birdwatching, specially red kite and also bottlenose dolphins 
Day 6: explore surroundings of Aviemore, Osprey centre
Day 7: Cairncorm Mountains, and more;
Day 8: transfer to Newcastle on the way visit Farne Islands
Day 9: arrival in IJmuiden, 

Hieronder de kaart van Schotland met de locaties die worden bezocht. Klik op de rode punten voor meer informatie.

Blue Elephant - Tebinckslaan 14 - 9462 PV Gasselte - Telefoon: 0599 56 51 24 - Fax: 0599 56 45 44 - KVK: 04046067