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Northern Isles Autumn Migration
(Lewis and Harris)
Dates: 16th - 22nd September 2017
This exciting autumn trip will visit some of the best sites in the northern part of the Outer Hebrides for passage seabirds, waders and passerines. It begins with the ferry crossing between Ullapool and Stornoway on the Monday morning where we could potentially catch up with some great passage seabirds including Storm and Leach's Petrel, Sooty Shearwater, Sabine's Gull and skuas.
Once ashore we'll be exploring headlands, marshes and any cover we can find for an array of birds. The islands are very under-watched and although they don't have the number of migrants that places like Shetland and the east coast can produce, they have still held many scarce passerines in the past despite very little coverage. Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the tour though is the potential to catch up with scarce seabirds and waders. The Butt of Lewis is a superb site for watching seabird passage with thousands of birds passing during certain conditions and with the added advantage of allowing some protection against the worst of the weather by the lighthouse car park. Sooty Shearwater and Sabine's Gull are regular whilst occasional Great Shearwater are picked up most autumns. The Butt actually holds the Scottish day count record for Great Shearwater when a staggering 7,114 past in 11 hours on 8th September 2007. The Butt and northern part of Ness have also turned up an enviable list of waders including Least Sandpiper, Lesser Yellowlegs and Semipalmated Sandpiper whilst American Golden Plover, Buff-breasted Sandpiper and Pectoral Sandpiper are recorded yearly. Passerines are also a possibility with Lapland Bunting being a regular passage migrant whilst many scarcities have been seen. If the weather happens to be calm there's also the chance of picking up cetaceans with regular sightings of Bottle-nosed and Risso's Dolphins and the outside chance of Orca.
Lewis is much more than just the Butt though and we'll be exploring areas that experience virtually no coverage in autumn from one year to the next so you never know what we could find. Other sites we'll be visiting include Loch Barvas, Loch Ordais, Tiumpan Head and a trip out to the far west at Uig Sands and Mangersta Head. We'll also be visiting Harris one day where we have a very good chance of picking up both White-tailed and Golden Eagles whilst the scenic splendour of the Sound of Taransay holds a flock of Common Scoters that occasionally have the odd Surf Scoter hidden amongst them.
On the return journey to Inverness we'll also have a second shot at picking up seabirds from the ferry as we return to Ullapool on the afternoon sailing.
Short list of species: Common Scoter, Surf Scoter, Red-throated Diver, Black-throated Diver, Great Northern Diver, Manx Shearwater, Sooty Shearwater, Storm Petrel, Leach's Petrel, White-tailed Eagle, Golden Eagle, Merlin, large flocks of Golden Plover, American Golden Plover, Grey Phalarope, Pectoral Sandpiper, Ruff, Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Great Skua, Arctic Skua, Pomarine Skua, Sabine's Gull, Lapland Bunting.
Dates: 16th - 22nd September 2017
Cost: £950 per person.
The price also includes accommodation, all meals (if you have special dietary requirements please let us know when booking) and transport to and from Inverness.
Accommodation: 6 nights in the Doune Braes Hotel.
Group size: 8 maximum
Booking: Please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to meet: We can either pick you up from Inverness around 08:00 am on 16th or meet you in Ullapool for the morning sailing to Stornoway. On the return journey there will also be transport to Inverness.