Sound of Taransay

 

Seabirds and Cetaceans

Dates: 27th June - 4th July 2020

This exciting new tour concentrates on the rich marine wildlife found around the northern part of the Outer Hebrides with an unforgettable boat trip to the Shiant Islands and another to search for whales and dolphins off the coast of Lewis.

We start the tour in Harris where we'll be staying for the first three nights. From our base here we'll explore the south end of the island taking in the stunning Sound of Taransay where we should be able to find Common Scoters as well as divers, terns and a few seabirds. If it's calm enough we should also pick up our first Harbour Porpoise which are regular here. We'll also venture on to Northton and Rodel where with a bit of luck we'll be able to find Otters. The north of Harris is also scenically superb with the highest hills in the Outer Hebrides intersected by long, deep valleys whilst in the far west at Huisinish we find the golden sands and views across to the island of Scarp. Harris is renowned for its density of Golden Eagles which we should encounter on our exploration of the island along with White-tailed Eagle and Dippers which are found along the fast flowning streams which also support Fresh Water Pearl Mussels. One of the highlights of Harris will be the day we take a boat trip to the Shiants which if it's calm enough we'll land on. The islands are alive with seabirds with large colonies of Puffins, Razorbills and Guillemots whilst the surrounding waters often hold schools of Common Dolphin and Basking Shark.

The last four days we'll be based in Lewis where we'll explore the far west as well as spending time at the Butt of Lewis and Tiumpan Head which are very good locations to search for seabirds, whales and dolphins. Lewis also supports good numbers of eagles although its accolades are for a smaller raptor - the Merlin which is found in a higher breeding density on the moors here than anywhere else in Europe. These moors also support good numbers of breeding waders and both Red-throated and Black-throated Divers. Great Skuas are a regular sight in Lewis and other seabirds such as Kittiwakes, Fulmars and Gannets will be seen in good numbers around the coast. The coast of Lewis and more specifically the north-east coast between Tiumpan Head and the Butt is becoming better known for their sightings of whales and dolphins with a resident pod of Risso's Dolphin frequenting the area and at this time of year regular sightings of Minke Whale and Common Dolphin. Hopefully with a bit of luck and some calm weather we may see at least some of these as well as the chance of spotting Basking Shark. We'll also take a boat trip from Stornoway to search for whales and dolphins up close.

Short list of species: Common Scoter, Red-throated Diver, Black-throated Diver, Great Northern Diver, Manx Shearwater, Fulmar, Storm Petrel, Puffin, Black Guillemot, Guillemot, Razorbill, White-tailed Eagle, Golden Eagle, Merlin, Golden Plover, Great Skua, Arctic Skua, Kittiwake, Gannet, Otter, Grey Seal, Harbour Seal, Harbour Porpoise, Common Dolphin, Risso's Dolphin, Minke Whale and Basking Shark.

A full printable itinerary coming soon.

Dates: 27th June - 4th July

Cost: £1,300 per person with 2 sharing or £1,400 for single occupancy.

The price also includes accommodation (hotels in Tarbet and Stornoway); all meals (if you have special dietary requirements please let us know when booking) and transport once on the islands.

Group size: 8 maximum

Booking: Please email: steveduffield70@gmail.com

Where to meet: Stornoway airport or ferry port in Lewis / Tarbet.