Thursday, 23 April 2015

Scotland

A few days in Scotland with no internet access, so this will be a long one.

Started on Monday 20th April in grotty weather dipping the White-billed Diver at Torness and headed north via a fly-by Osprey to Cairn Gorm. Four Ring Ouzel gave cracking views around the car park and displaying Red Grouse were around the lower slopes.

Ring Ouzel
Displaying Red Grouse
Being lazy we got the train up the mountain, which led to stunning views of 4 Ptarmigan and 2 Snow Bunting.

Ptarmigan
Ptarmigan
Snow Bunting
A herd of Reindeer were kicking around the lower slopes.

Reindeer
Reindeer

The rest of the day was spent in the woods around Loch Garten where we managed 4 Crested Tit, but all high in the trees and difficult to photograph. An Osprey flew over as we sat outside the chippy in Aviemore.

Crested Tit
On Tuesday we started with a Red Squirrel through the window during breakfast. The morning was spent walking around Abernethy Forest where we had 4 female Capercaillie crashing through the branches, 6 singing Tree Pipit and a Crested Tit.

Tree Pipit
The afternoon was spent in the Findhorn Valley where we had an unbelievable raptor fest. All through the scope unfortunately, but in brilliant sunshine and just the odd fluffy cloud. Look at this list!

Golden Eagle 2 adults & a sub-adult
White-tailed Eagle 2 adults & a juvenile
Peregrine 2
Red Kite 1
Merlin 1
Kestrel 4
Sparrowhawk 2
Buzzard 5
Raven 4+
Hooded Crow 1

Highlights were the 3 White-tailed Eagle in the air together mobbed by a Red Kite and last thing an adult Golden Eagle mobbed by a Merlin and a Peregrine. Also here were 2 singing Redstart, a Mountain Hare and 2 Brown Hare. The high tops were covered in Red Deer and wild goats were along the valley bottom.

Goat
Mountain Hare
Wigeon in a woodland pool
On Wednesday it was up to the stunning Portsoy where we were hoping that one of the White-billed Diver would still be there. Scoping over a millpond sea the second bird I saw was a summer plumage White-billed Diver, the ivory, banana-shaped bill shining in the sun. Amazingly the lads started calling out more and eventually we totted up 10, all but 2 in summer plumage. A supporting cast of 6 Great Northern Diver, 6 Black Guillemot, 50+ Long-tailed Duck and 4 Common Scoter. 17 Bottlenose Dolphin and 4 Porpoise moved west just offshore.

Bottlenose Dolphin


Portsoy

The afternoon was spent in the woods around Grantown hunting for Scottish Crossbill. No luck, just a single Common Crossbill and a couple of Tree Pipit.


This morning started at six with a walk around the Glenmore Forest where we had 7 Common Crossbill and 2 Tree Pipit. After breakfast it was back into the forest where we had stunning views of a male Capercaillie feeding just above our heads.


Capercaillie
Capercaillie 
A 250 mile drive south followed and we arrived at Holywell to excellent views of the American Wigeon.

American Wigeon
I then had to get across town as the Dragon Hunter had found a Mandarin at Far Pasture. Nightmare traffic and then an hour wait for the bird to reappear and the Mandarin was in the bag.

Mandarin
Roe Buck
Finished the day with a Yellow Wagtail at Lamesley.

What a cracking few days and thanks to Andy for driving.


3 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Aye, you would think it was organised by Carlsberg! I would have been over the moon with half of what we got.

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  2. Gobsmacked. The Caper in the tree is unbelievable, superb trip list :-)

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