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Post Info TOPIC: Cairngorms


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RE: Cairngorms


Ptarmigan today at 3400ft - never gone birding with crampons and ice axe before :) stunning views as the birds dodged the skiers and ice climbers. The males were in dispute over the hens. Also red grouse on the snowfields at upto 3000ft or so. Started the morning at the Great Grey Shrike as an excuse to try and see the Gyr again but no luck on the Gyr.

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Up in the Cairngorms with Marcus - ebirder, for a few days. First day today saw us watching Snow Buntings, Crested Tits and amazingly what we believe was a Gyr - I have some very poor shots of the Gyr and no way of getting them off the camera til tomorrow! Crestie shots a lot better but then they were six feet away :)

Off for Ptarmigan tomorrow in good winter conditions...

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We visited last month although we only went to known reserves - Loch Garten, Loch Ruthven and a Black Grouse site which might or might not be public knowledge.

Missed a few of those including Crested Tit (reduced in numbers after the harsh winter), Golden Eagle and Black-Throated Diver but did get a Capercaillie lekking, visible from the Loch Garten visitor centre - we didn't half run to spot that one!

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Was lucky enough to spend two days in Scotland with Marcus of ebirder fame, to try and improve my birding and photography skills but to be honest the birding was so spectacular the photography moved rapidly down the priorities!

Some of the following are sensitive species so I'll only give approximate location as the area bounded by the Findhorn Valley, Loch Ness and Inverness.

What was amazing was the sheer variety of habitat and the wealth of all sorts of wildlife within just a couple of miles of Inverness. Full trip list would be over 80 species if I'd remembered to write them all down but highlights included:

Osprey
Golden Eagle
Hooded Crow [common up there but interesting for me]
Crested Tits - a party of three feeding in the tree tops - spotted by me as we walked near Loch Garten [the best bit of the trip I think :) ]
Black Throated Diver
Red Throated Diver
Slavonian Grebes
Wheatears galore [again not unusual but I really like observing their territorial behaviour]
Ravens
Tree Pipits
Dippers
Red Grouse
Black Grouse - lekking next to a main road!
Common Sandpipers seemed to be in every stretch of river and lochside
Cuckoos - three seen, more heard
Siskin


And mammals included:

Red Squirrel
Red Deer
Roe Deer [approached quietly to 20m!]
Hares
Rabbits [nearly outnumbered by Hares]

Didn't see Capercaillie [only tried one spot] and ran out of time to try for Ptarmigan and Dotterel - so there's a good excuse for another trip sometime... day two was on Skye with White Tailed Eagles on the Skye thread. Never been that far North in Scotland before and will certainly be planning further trips.




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