Crested Tit

© Peter Cairns Photography

Strathspey, Scotland

Scotland Winter Birding - New Year Birding Blitz in Strathspey & Moray Firth

What better way to start 2024 than with the best of Scottish birding centred in Strathspey but exploring out over the wider area including the Moray Firth.

Tour Dates:

2nd - 54h January 2024


  • Golden & White-tailed Eagles amongst a plethora of raptors possible in this area
  • Searching for Scottish, Parrot & Common Crossbills
  • Getting up close with Crested Tits in Caledonian Pine forest
  • Black & Red Grouse and potentially Ptarmigan & Capercaillie
  • Wintering seaduck such as Long-tailed Duck, Scaup, Velvet Scoter and possibly even King Eider
  • Thousands of geese, wildfowl and waders including Purple Sandpiper
  • Join us for evening presentations and Q&A sessions
  • The professional leadership of husband & wife team, Dan & Rachael
  • Every one of our short tours donates to an exciting, local conservation project
  • To maintain social distancing, this will be a self-drive tour.

Join us over three full days as we head out in search of Golden & White-tailed Eagles, Crested Tits, Scottish & Parrot Crossbills, Black & Red Grouse, Long-tailed Ducks, Scaup and maybe even the likes of King Eider and Waxwing, not to mention a plethora of waders and wildfowl, and a superb suite of wintering raptors and passerines.

The area holds some of the UK’s most highly prized species and we will be focused on making the most of daylight and finding as many as we possibly can. As well as Golden and White-tailed Eagles we will hope to find Goshawk, Peregrine, and Merlin. In contrast the coast offers some superb farmland birding with Corn Bunting, Tree Sparrow and Grey Partridge all possible. Here the large geese flocks can hold vagrants and in winter 2020/21 there have already been Snow Goose and Grey-bellied Brant in the area.


Day 1:

Explore the secluded mountain glens around Strathspey in search of Golden & White-tailed Eagle, Goshawk, Peregrine, Merlin, Red Kite, Black & Red Grouse, Dippers and Grey Wagtails. Lochans may hold Whooper Swans and a variety of other wildfowl. They also occasionally attract species such as Iceland Gull to roost.

Depending on the year this part of Scotland can be good for Waxwings and we will also keep a look out for Great Grey Shrikes, a scarce winter visitor to the area. The glens and straths afford some spectacular views and when combined with great birding are sure to kick off our birding blitz in style. 

Day 2:

Today we will be delve into the ancient Caledonian Pine forests of Abernethy where we will search for some true Scottish specialities including Scottish, Common and possibly even Parrot Crossbills (winter 20/21 has so far been good for the latter), and Crested Tits. We may even find Black Grouse in the lower areas whilst the slopes of Cairngorm will occupy us in the afternoon where we will look for Red Grouse, Snow Bunting and potentially even Ptarmigan. 

The areas of farmland on the edge of the forest can hold grazing Whooper Swans and we will search finch flocks for Brambling and Twite. There should also be wintering Fieldfares and Redwings and the area around the Spey holds Dipper, Grey Wagtail and also occasionally Hawfinch.

Day 3:

In stark contrast to the mountain and valley landscapes of the Cairngorms and Strathspey we will head a short distance to the Moray and Cromaty Firths, home to thousands of waders and wildfowl including Scaup, Velvet Scoter and Long-tailed Ducks, skeins of Pink-footed Geese, and a plethora of waders. These areas should also hold Slavonian Grebe, Great Northern, Red-throated and possibly even Black-throated Divers. Depending on the weather we could even see Little Auk in the firths.

Inland Red Kites have now become widespread and we will look for these as well as other raptors such as Merlin, Peregrine and Hen Harrier. Farmland birds are also widespread in the area and we hope to encounter Corn Bunting, Tree Sparrow, Yellowhammer and maybe even Grey Partridge. We may be fortunate enough to encounter scarcer species such as King Eider, Glaucous and Iceland Gulls or a rarer goose such as Snow Goose. 

Visit our website for more details about his tour.

Why not recreate this experience with friends on dates that suit you? Build on our existing itinerary to customise your experience.

COVID-19 information

Safe Travels

This business has confirmed that they have implemented, and will ensure ongoing compliance with, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) Safe Travels protocols. The Safe Travels stamp is based on self-assessment and it is not a certification.

From £325 per adult

Departure days

  • Monday
  • Tuesday
  • Wednesday
  • Thursday
  • Friday
  • Saturday
  • Sunday

January — February

Contact details

Wild Discovery

4 Fergach Cottages
AB35 5UL

Tour information


  • Grantown on Spey


3 Days


  • Self drive


  • Bespoke
  • Private
  • Small Group (1-16)


  • English


  • Food and drink
  • Landscapes
  • Outdoor Activities
  • Walking
  • Walking/Hiking
  • Wildlife

Covid 19 Facilities

  • Advance booking essential
  • COVID-19 measures in place
  • COVID-19 risk assessment completed
  • Capacity limit
  • Hand sanitiser available to visitors & staff

Tour prices

From £325 Per Adult

Book now

Prices are subject to change depending on season

Tour Stops

Wild Discovery

Tour company information

Wild Discovery

An award-winning wildlife-watching tour company run by experts for wildlife enthusiasts. Conservation and sustainability are at its core; travel with purpose, tread lightly and experience more. Founded by husband and wife team Dan & Rachael Brown, they bring passion and expertise to every expedition. Reconnect with nature through our fully inclusive, small-group tours, self-drive short breaks or custom-made tours around Scotland and beyond.

Opening times

Open all year.

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