The Speyside region of the Scottish Highlands, nestled in the Cairngorms National Park, is one of the finest areas in Britain for wildlife. If you would like to experience some of the Highlands unique wildlife and habitats in the company of an experienced professional guide, then look no further.
DAY GUIDING SERVICES
Half, full or extended day tours available - whether you want to find one or two local specialities or a general taster of Highland Wildlife, a day trip can be hugely rewarding. My local knowledge of the area and the special species that live here can make all the difference between going home having seen what you always wanted to... or not.
A standard day guide would start around 9a.m. We would pick you up from your accommodation and take you into the field until around 5p.m.
A half day guide would be the same exept we would end the day around 1p.m.
Extended days can be arranged if longer distances are involved or an early start needed for your chosen species, or you just want more time in the field. I like to tailor the day to your requirements so extended days would need to be negotiated , but would roughly be around 7a.m. to 6p.m.
SOME SUGGESTED ITINARIES
Enter the last surviving tracts of Caledonian Pine Forest left in the Highlands to look for it's iconic species: Crested Tit, Scottish Crossbills, Capercaillie, Black Grouse, Pine Marten and Red Squirrel.
Scan the Lochs and fast flowing rivers for Red and Black-throated Divers, Slavonian Grebe, breeding Goldeneye, Dipper and Osprey.
Walk the summit of Cairngorm, looking for the three high-tops specialists: Ptarmigan, Dotterel and Snow Bunting.
Drive the Moors and Glens to see Golden Eagle, Red Deer, Mountain Hare, breeding Waders and Raptors.
Visit the nearby Moray Firth or the Black Isle for sea birds, Gannets, Auks, Terns and Bottle-nosed Dolphins (in the summer); Long-tailed Ducks, Common and Velvet Scoter and possible King Eider (in the winter).
An extended day guide means we could explore the wild west coast to look for Golden and White-tailed Eagle, Otter, Great-Northern Diver, Black Guillemot, Skuas, sea-bird colonies and Cetaceans. Any of these could take a day on their own to explore, but it's possible to do several habitats in a day and an itinerary tailored to you can be organised, so e-mail or ring today to arrange your own unforgettable wildlife experience.
Standard Day Tour 9am-5pm £120
Half Day Tour 9am-1pm £70
Extended Day Tour [times to be negotiated] £160
Up to a full week dedicated to seeing the best mammals Scotland has to offer on land & sea.
From Highland Perthshire, through the Cairngorms to the Moray Firth & the west coast, we'll look for the iconic species that make Scotland 'the' place to come for mammals in the UK. It'll be a busy 'full on' week!
Scotland has the best selection of mammals to be found in the UK on land and sea. If you would like a bespoke mammals tour from two to seven days then get in touch and I'll put together an itinerary just for you. Including:
Boat trips for Whales & Dolphins
Hides for Pine Marten, Otter & Badger
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for an outline itinerary from which you can pick & choose which elements you want to include. Travel, food and accommodation will be up to you and I'll take care of the rest.
Tracking & Fieldcraft skills
Add an exciting and fun element to your interest in wildlife with this introduction to identifying tracks and signs. By being able to ID footprints, scat, feathers and other clues, tracking and fieldcraft will give you a whole new perspective to your hobby. By honing a few basic skills you can learn to tell what lives in your area without having to see the animal itself. This in turn will increase your chances of tracking down and seeing that elusive animal.
Tracks and signs can tell you a story and in time you can come a nature detective.
We'll spend three days in the wonderful Cairngorms National Park to explore different habitats and not only find tracks and signs but hopefully the birds and animals that make Speyside so special.
Birdwatching for Beginners
Birding can seem quite a daunting hobby to undertake. So many birds, so many that look the same, so many different plumages... let alone all the different songs and calls!
This workshop is an introduction to bird identificaton, tips on separating similar species, what is "jizz" and how to use it, and a look into calls and songs. We'll spend three days in the field covering numerous habitats from Cairngorm Mountain to the Moray Firth.
If you would like a bespoke tour in other areas of the Highlands and Islands get in touch.
Isle of Mull for Otters and Eagles
Ardnamurchan & Morvern Peninsulars
Isle of Islay & Jura for wintering Geese, Raptors, Chough & more!
Isle of Skye
Wester Ross & North West Sutherland Eagles, Seabird colonies & Divers
The Outer Hebrides for Hen Harriers, Short-eared Owl, Corncrake, Red-necked Phalarope, passage waders & lots more.
ABOUT YOUR GUIDE
John Picton has been a 'birder' and naturalist all his life. He studied for a Diploma in ornithology then a BSc (honours) in Wildlife ecology, conservation & managment; before working with the Forestry commission as a Ranger, then as a warden with the RSPB. John has always loved the Highlands which he had been coming to visit for over 30 years, so when the opportunity to move here permanently and start a new chapter as a wildlife guide came up he jumped at the chance. He now lives in the wonderful Glen Feshie (where Lanseer painted the Monarch of the Glen) with his wife and their dog Tala.
If you'd like further information on any of the tours or workshops offered please get in touch by phoning, emailing or filling out the form below. We look forward to hearing from you!