Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Scotland birding trip 2015

Day 3: Saturday 4th April

A slightly later arrival at Loch Garten this morning, but again there are no capers on show, so again we retreat to the car park and console ourselves with great views of Crested Tits. 
A quick stop at Boat of Garten nails an Iceland Gull year tick and then it's off to Lochindorb.
The area is home to quite a large Common Gull colony, and there are plenty of Red Grouse all around this area. Good to see more females were on show this year than in previous visits.

A quick scan located a pair of Black-throated Divers at the Southern end  of the Loch close to the ruined Lochindorb castle. At the Northern end a pair of Red-throated Divers were also on show.
Red Squirrels were also seen from here, as they left the trees and came across the road to feed among the heather.
As we approached Dulcie Bridge we got lucky when the Rough-legged Buzzard that had been frequenting the area in recent days flew straight across the car heading towards the pine trees some distance away.
No chance of any photos, as it had almost reached the trees before we could exit the car.

A view from Dulcie Bridge

Oystercatchers seemed to be in every field we passed during the whole trip, and some even gave us a chance of a photo.

The weather this morning was a huge improvement on yesterday, so we headed off  along the A9 towards Tomatin and the Findhorn Valley. Having reached the Findhorn Bridge it was onto narrow single track roads for another 10 miles before reaching the end of the valley and car park.
On route a large raptor was spotted to our left, and after pulling over and scoping the bird, we were straight onto a White-tailed Eagle! It was being mobbed by two Buzzards and then by a much more aggressive smaller hawk. Another large raptor appeared on the scene, this time a juvenile Golden Eagle!
At times I had the Goldie and the White-tailed in the scope at the same time. Amazing views of two stunning birds.
After reaching the end of the track, we parked up and considered anything else to be a bonus. Kestrels were hovering close by on both sides of the road and a Peregrine flew along the valley before perching up on the rocks. As we chatted to a local birding tour party another White-tailed Eagle appeared over the ridge. It descended below the mountain side allowing for some stunning scope views.
A long drive back towards our base was broken up by views of more Black Grouse and a confiding Hare by the roadside.

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