Early Spring Migration



Dates: 6th - 11th November 2023

White-fronted GooseTwiteHen Harrier

The sight and sound of thousands of Barnacle Geese in the late autumn fresh in from their breeding grounds in Greenland is a wonderful experience. They concenrtate in areas around Loch Gruinart along with smaller numbers of White-fronted Geese and the odd vagrant Cackling Goose creating a cacophony of noise as they take to the air. The Cackling Goose used to be a race of Canada Goose although they are much more dainty and more appealing than their larger relatives, the Canadas that thrive on many streches of water in the UK. They normally arrive with large flocks of Barnacle Geese and with so many wintering on Islay this is a prime location to find them in. Whooper Swans are also often on the move with birds sometimes dropping in for a short stay or passing straight over in large flocks to their wintering grounds further south. Other wildfowl includes masses of Wigeon and Teal which also hold smaller numbers of Pintail and Shoveler amongst them. Scaup, Long-tailed Ducks and Common Scoter can also be found wintering on the sea lochs adding yet more to the diversity of birdlife to be found. We should also see good numbers of raptors including Golden Eagle, Hen Harrier and Merlin whilst the island also holds the most northerly breeding Choughs in the UK. Islay is a wonderful island that really comes into its own at this time of year with the arrival of thousands of wintering birds. A visit in November is a must for bird and wildlife enthusiasts for the shear spectacle, not to mention the chance to sample some of the islands distinctive whisky.

Golden EagleIceland GullLapwing

Short list of species: Pale-bellied Brent Goose, Barnacle Goose, Cackling Goose, White-fronted Goose, Pink-footed Goose, Whooper Swan, Bar-tailed Godwit, Golden Plover, Grey Plover, Purple Sandpiper, Glaucous Gull, Iceland Gull, Golden Eagle, White-tailed Eagle, Hen Harrier, Peregrine, Merlin, Red-throated, Black-throated and Great Northern Divers. Black Guillemot, Snow Bunting, Twite, plus many more. Red Deer, Grey and Common Seals, Otters.

Dates: 6th - 11th November 2023

Tour duration: 6 days / 5 nights on Islay.

Cost: £1,400 per person or £1,250 for couple / 2 sharing a room.

What's provided: All meals, transport and en-suite accommodation.

Group size: 8 (maximum)

Booking: Please email: steveduffield70@gmail.com

Where to meet: The tour begins and ends in Glasgow (pick up from outside Premier Inn, Glasgow Airport).

Trip reports: 2018