Wildfowl and Waterbirds Masterclass

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By the end of the course, the participants should feel more confident in the identification of ducks, geese and swans, divers, grebes, Shag and Cormorant, in particular those seen in the Cairngorms National Park and surrounding area. As well as specific help with identification we will cover the ‘how to do it.’ In this way, participants should see a way forward in how to improve their identification skills and have some useful hints and tips on telling difficult species apart.


  • The course will be based in the Cairngorms National Park and run over two days.
  • It will include a day in the ‘classroom’ and day in the field.
  • It will particularly cover those species of ducks and geese that can be difficult to identify with a focus on those species found in the Cairngorms National Park.
  • The ‘classroom day’ will cover various aspects of wildfowl recognition including plumage, structure and flight plus a focus on how to tell more difficult species apart and other useful hints and tips. It will cover winter plumage of divers and grebes and eclipse plumage in ducks.
  • The field day will be out in suitable habitat for a selection of species to put into practice what was learned the day before.
  • The course is run by Speyside Wildlife using one of our experienced guides, Duncan Macdonald.
  • Please note that the course does not cover gulls, waders, herons and egrets or crakes, however, a number of these species are covered in our Waders Masterclass, date tbc.

Course Schedule

  • The course will take place on 20-21 November 2021 with the classroom day on 20th and field day on 21st November.
  • Lunch is provided on the classroom day but please bring a packed lunch on the field day.
  • On the ‘classroom’ day please bring paper and pencil and your favourite bird book – we tend to use the Collins ‘Bird Guide.
  • For the field day please bring your binoculars, telescope if you have one, your bird book and paper and pencil to make notes also suitable clothing for a November day in the Highlands! Weather is obviously unpredictable.
  • The course is £195 per person including VAT.

Please click the following links to apply or contact us if you have any queries
Application Form
Terms and Conditions

Feedback from Previous Participants

“It was wonderful to stand on a Moray shoreline near Avock looking at divers and listening to and watching a large raft of Long-tailed Ducks while a pair of Harbour Porpoises came porpoising (in synchronisation) very close to the shore.

“Duncan’s tuition has been fabulous, tailoring it very well to all levels. Thank you!!”