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Birding Ecosse, The Uists, Outer Hebrides

"White-tailed Eagle approaching from the north," Tony called out. Binoculars up we focused on the... read more

Reviewed 20 October 2018
_emckeefe
,
Sarasota, Florida
5th time and still amazing

We booked hoping to see Dotterel but closure of the Cairngorm funicular for maintenance ruled this... read more

Reviewed 1 July 2018
birdwatcherpg
,
Halifax, United Kingdom
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Reviewed 24 November 2017

We are so glad that we contacted David, from Birding Ecosse and booked a half day birding trip with him. Although we are keen bird watchers, we had never experienced going out with a guide and so didn't know what to expect. Right from the start, David answered our emails promptly and was very flexible about what we might hope to see. In fact, we were lucky enough to see everything on our list including crested tits, golden eagles and a white tailed eagle. What we didn't expect was to have coal tits feeding from our hands, captured on video, which was much appreciated. Thanks to David's extensive knowledge of this area, we also saw red grouse and even a mountain hare! Apart from the excellent birding experience, David showed us some wonderful highland scenery and was great company throughout. We would certainly contact David again for another tour if we return to Scotland. We booked several months in advance which is advisable as David is very much in demand.

Date of experience: November 2017
1  Thank krhBedfordshire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 October 2017

Visited the Highlands for two weeks in August-September, Based in Grantown-on-Spey. Birding primary motivation. Signed up for five days with Birding Ecosse. Would have done more had he been available. David Slater is a first class birder with a lively sense of humor and keen ability to read his clients.
David limits his tours to three guests which allows for birding tailored to level of obsession, quick pivots caused by weather or other surprises and adaptation to quirky birders. You know who you are.
Full birding days ranged all over the Highlands; the Moray Firth and due East to Troup Head, The Black Isle, Cairngorms National Park, dozens of lochs and hides and RSPB reserves. Highlight was the Caledonian Ferry MV Loch Seaforth from Ullapool to Stornoway, Outer Hebrides. Back and forth on the ferry for a total of six hours of stunning pelagic birding from the comfort of a well appointed ferry. Sooty and Manx Shearwaters, Storm Petrels, Gannets, Puffins, both Skuas, Guillemots, Razorbills. David was on top of it all, calling out what he spotted and just as excited as we were. Another highlight was Troup Head, the largest Gannet colony on mainland Scotland. First we trekked across fields of barley to the dizzying cliffs where thousands of Gannets of various ages filled the air with their cries. Then we boarded a sturdy little boat at MacDuff and motored east to see the colony from the water. Acres of craggy expanse covered by gannets, their nests and their young. It only gets better. On the return trip to MacDuff, a pod of 15 or more bottle nosed dolphins surrounded the boat, coming so close that long camera lenses were unnecessary. Very young dolphin calves, just a few days old, stuck closely to the adults. The boat captain killed the engine, the dolphins came closer and we were speechless in awe.
All of these trips include tailgating from the back of David's SUV, usually while looking at some well populated birding habitat. He puts on his barista hat and makes coffee or tea. Cakes and biscuits are served. We do the same for lunch; bring your own. No time wasted. Birding never stops.
Nor do the laughs and good humor. As the days progressed running gags expanded in detail and hilarity. Yes, you had to be there.
A day with David Slater is a day of non-stop excellent birding, unexpected duck-filled ponds at the end of one-lane roads and the occasional glimpse of castle ruins ("Today's culture on the right. That's it.") You will laugh, you will find yourself saying "Aye" instead of "Yes," you will learn about threatened raptors, you will wonder how David found that White-tailed Eagle sitting in the rain atop Gruinard Island, you will call a Great Skua a Bonxie and you will wonder what the dreadful orange soft drink is that David is drinking. At some point, you will know that you must return to the Highlands and Birding Ecosse.
Practical info:
-sturdy shoes or boots a must
-warm hat, scarf, gloves, extra fleece or sweater. Yes, it's August. It is also Scotland.
-water resistant, wind proof jacket with hood.
-good binoculars (David has scope and tripod)
-camera, if part of your birding experience
-lunch, water.
-peanut butter M&M's for David, if you are visiting from US. Not available in UK.

Check out the Birding Ecosse website, newsletter, etc. for further details on the August 2017 trips described above. And what's coming up for those brave and hardy enough to go birding in Scotland in winter.

Date of experience: August 2017
7  Thank _emckeefe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 September 2017

I was one of the birders who recently went on the first Birding Ecosse to Spain and what a fantastic week it was. 130+ stunning different birds and the migration of thousands of raptors going south to Africa is a sight I will never forget.
In addition to the birding we had such fun with Dave Slater and his wife-to-be Linda, the perfect hosts.

Date of experience: September 2017
Thank Karribubbles
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 May 2017

We were so fortunate to do another wonderful birding journey with Dave Slater at the end of April. In spite of knee-deep snow and bluster, we carried on and had a fantastic time. No ptarmigan in spite of tram trip to the iced-in top of Cairngorm Mountain but did see red grouse, ring ouzel, snow buntings etc. The up to the coast for shore birds. Coffee, tea and biscuits and, the best of all, Dave's stories. Hope to make this journey again.

Date of experience: April 2017
Thank omajanet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 March 2017

We spent a very full day with Dave who picked us up at our hotel and we were blessed with some gorgeous Scottish weather. His knowledge of the area and the birds is outstanding, long distance raptors are difficult to ID for the average birder and we went to places we would never have found on our own. Genuine nice guy who is a pleasure to spend the day with and a constant supply of coffee and Tunnocks tea cakes - happy days.

Date of experience: March 2017
Thank Karribubbles
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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