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Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch

The Biggest Twitch goes birdwatching in Speyside and the Scottish Highlands

We spent a few days birding the beautiful countryside of Speyside and the Scottish Highlands courtesy of the Grant Arms Hotel in Grantown-on-Spey, who'd invited us to give a talk on The Biggest Twitch.

Findhorn Valley 1

The landscape looked beautiful in the sunshine

We drove across the heather moorlands and caught sight of some Red Grouse

Red Grouse pair

Red Grouse watching us cautiously from the heather

Red Grouse trio

Suddenly there were three of them!

Our destination was the beautiful Findhorn Valley, also known as Raptor Valley with good reason!

Findhorn Valley 2

The landscape of the Findhorn Valley looked stunning in the sunshine

Findhorn Valley 3

As we scanned the hillsides, we picked out herds of Red Deer gathering for the rut

After some careful scanning, Raptor Valley lived up to its name. Firstly a couple of Buzzards circling overhead. Then suddenly something far more interesting powered up the valley.

Golden Eagle distant silhouette

Golden Eagle, we were lucky enough to see at least 3 birds over the ridges

We were treated to an aggressive display as one Golden Eagle chased off another bird before returning to the valley.

Mountain scenery

We were being spoiled with all this fabulous Scottish scenery in sunshine and temperatures in the mid 20's

Going out before dawn, we tried our luck looking for Capercaillie in the pine forests.

Watching Capercaillie

We struck lucky! We had unbelievably good views of a male Caper perched up in a branch, and we watched him through the scope for over an hour!!


Capercaillie perched on a branch in full view!

It was easier to get a close photo of this bird later on at Loch Garten though!

Wooden Capercaillie

We also had close encounters with other Scottish woodland specialists.

Crested Tit

Crested Tit came in close to investigate some pishing

We went up in altitude and visited the summit of Cairn Gorm.

Cairn Gorm Summit

The view from Cairn Gorm

Braving the strong winds, we scanned the slopes for Ptarmigan but it was tough going, despite the lucky rainbow.

Scanning for Ptarmigan

Alan scans the mountain slopes

Back down at lower altitude, we enjoyed more close encounters with Scottish wildlife, this time with some incredibly cute and photogenic Red Squirrels as we sat on a cafe terrace. These are just a few of the photos we took of these characters!

Red Squirrel 1

Red Squirrel 2

Red Squirrel 3

Red Squirrel pair

As a change of scene, we visited the coast at the Moray Firth. Rafts of Eider bobbed on the sea and Snow Buntings fed on the track behind the beach, while we enjoyed breeding-plumaged Red-necked Grebes and Red-throated Divers in the sunshine and a Pomarine Skua chased terns overhead.

Drake Eider

Drake Eider bobbed by close inshore

Snow Bunting 1

Snow Bunting pecked at seeds on the pathway

Snow Bunting 2

Snow Bunting too busy feeding to notice the photographer!

Our thanks go to Kirsty, Katy and all the staff at the Grant Arms Hotel for inviting us to give a talk on The Biggest Twitch and for looking after us so well during our stay.

Grant Arms Hotel

Grant Arms Hotel in Grantown-on-Spey

We thoroughly recommend it, and will definitely go back again. Check out their website on and their Birdwatching and Wildlife Club

If you'd like to enjoy the wonderful wildlife of the Scottish Highlands, why not join us next spring for a fantastic tour of this spectacular region. Email us on for details.


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