The following itinerary gives an idea of what to expect this week. Exact locations will vary according to preferences and weather. Remember to check the flower beds and rhododendrons around the Lodge for butterflies and Narrow-bordered Bee-Hawkmoths
Saturday: Arrival. Orientation. Pine marten watch (which can be held each evening!). Short stroll to look for bats. Set up moth trap.
Sunday: (am) Check moth trap. Glen Loy. Explore this lovely glen with a wide mixture of habitats including the original Caledonian Pine Reserve. Look for reptiles, butterflies (including chequered skipper) and moths (including argent and sable and narrow-bordered bee-hawkmoth), orchids and walk up the glen to look for eagles. Visit site for small white orchid. Explore the foot of the Caledonian pinewood, with chance of further skippers. Walk up the glen looking for early dragonflies, and hunting eagles.
(late pm) walk along Caledonian Canal, time permitting, and look at flowers along the towpath, with chance of dippers and wagtails in the River Lochy.
Monday: (early) look for otters near Fort William before breakfast
(am/pm) Chia-Aig and Loch Arkaig – Look for pearl-bordered fritillary and other species along forest track. Inspect the Arkaig Pinewoods sites, to be purchased by the Woodland Trust. Drive along the length of the loch stopping at various sites, weather depending, looking for chequered skippers, fritillaries and green hairstreak. See if narrow-leaved helleborine is still flowering. Sites may include the Allt Mhuic Butterfly Conservation Reserve. Whilst travelling up the glen, looking for deer, waterbirds and raptors, including osprey and eagles. We stop to look at osprey and white-tailed eagle nests, and also may see black-throated diver.
Tuesday: Check moth trap. (am) Glasdrum NNR Mixed woodland, predominately oak. Chequered Skipper, Pearl–bordered and Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries, day-flying moths
(pm) Cuil Bay. Look for emerging Marsh Fritillaries and a variety of other butterflies, including Small Heath and Small Copper. Watch out for divers in the bay, waders, and even otters.
Wednesday: (all day) Ariundle Oakwoods. Cross the Corran Ferry and drive to Strontian. Look for chequered skipper, fritillaries, orange-tip, day-flying moths and early dragonflies. Listen for woodland birds, including wood warbler, tree pipit and redstart. Bluebells should still be out in the wooods. Stop off at Ardery and walk to Garbh Eilean hide, looking for more butterflies en route. Chance of otter, seal and waterbirds. Return via scenic drive along Loch Ailort.
Thursday: (am) Glen Roy. View the famous Parallel Roads of Glen Roy and drive up the glen looking for red and sika deer (possibly with calves), raptors and montane species such as ring ouzel and twite. See a range of upland heathland and bog plants.
(pm) Creag Meagidh. Walk round the mixed alder woods and wildflower meadows looking for early ringlets, meadow brown and a variety of woodland birds. If time have a quick look at he limestone cliffs of Creag Dubh to see if northern brown argus are flying.
Friday : Boat trip to Eigg and Muck from Arisaig. Time for a walk on Muck, looking for rare burnet moths, flowering bogbean, and seal rookery and listen for calling corncrake. On the trips across and back look out for a variety of seabirds, including puffins, gannets and manx shearwater, minke whales, dolphins, porpoises and seals.
Saturday: Depart after breakfast
Other options – Drumnadrochit for Dingy Skipper and PBF, Morvern, Glen Nevis