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Post Info TOPIC: Cairngorms


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RE: Cairngorms


The mystery animal could have been a Pine Martin. I believe they're quite partial to peanut butter and the like.

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Some of my photos. www.flickr.com/photos/nickish77


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Just returned from a weeks break up in the Cairngorms, no serious birding (ie not out of bed before 9am !!) but a bit of casual picked up area specials of;

Loch Garten - adult male Osprey and male young at nest site on the 21/08. A walk around the loch produced Crested Tit.
The only Hooded Crow of the week was a single bird at the Highland Wildlife Park on the 22/08 (loads of Siskin, Redpoll and Bullfinch here also, as well as the first successful breeding of captive Capercaillie I'm told, with 3 young)
Up on the top of Cairngorm (with guide, after ride on Fenicular !!) 3 Ptarmigan, 3 Snow Bunting and surrounded by a Reindeer herd on the 26/08 !! Also on this date Osprey close to Loch Morlich.

Plenty of walking/cycling/pony treking/rowing produced no Crossbill (slightly surprised !) and no Capers (not really surprised !). One other birder bumped into hadn't had either species also.

If anybody wants a recommendation for a superb cottage (sleeps 4), on the Loch an Eilein road, contact me (loads of birds on the feeders, Roe Deer, Red Squirrel on the window cills and a mystery animal that took peanut butter and jam on bread every night !!)



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29/4/2011- 4/ 6/2011 typical scottish weather sunny all weekbiggrin.gif

based at loch garten we did two mornings early start 5.30am for the organised capper watch and we werent dissapointed male cap showed both days although distant views too far to digiscope, none the less another lifer biggrin.gif
managed to get great views of crested tits at loch mallackie liferbiggrin.gif and around visitor centre one came within 5 yards of us whilst we were watching a red squirrel.
ejay and odin the ospeys showed well and a redstart was buisy making a nest within the osprey nest.
Top of cairngorms 9 round trip on fernicular train we had 4 ptarmigan liferbiggrin.gif in half summer /winter plumage and dotteral within 10 yards of us magic and the views are spectacular.Red grouse and wheatear about but missed the snow bunts.cry.gif
We went to loch ruthven and had 6 superb summer plumaged slav grebes displaying and a little fighting over territory also a fly over from a golden eagle probable the juv from findhorn as it came from that direction.Very dissapointed to witness 4 guys turn up at the reserve in range rover vogues discussing building a house next to the car park with heli pad they werent joking either as they were filming and next minute a helicopter came and attempted to land in this area within a few yards of the slavs idiots they were duly reported to the rspbno.gif
Findhorn was great 4 ring ouzles,2 buzzard,1 peregrine but no eagles, lots of red deer
The black grouse lecks were all quiet we were just too late but we did get one flyover.
3 lifers and many magical moments and great weather certainly helpsbiggrin.gif
We also stayed at glen loy near fort william were whinchat were watched and vane farm reserve on the way home were we were treated to garagney and scaup both males




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THE GREAT THING ABOUT BIRDING ISNT JUST THE BIRDS


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Just spent a couple of days at a Timeshare Complex at Coylumbridge. Saw Cresties and Treecreepers on the lodges feeders and a pair of Goldcrests flitting in a pine tree. Two foot of snow prevented us from going up to the ski centre or onto Kincardine (Tulloch) Moor but I was given a good tip on finding Black grouse from the A9. Once you get south of the Dalwhinnie turnoff, look on the moor alongside the railway line and you should see Black grouse. Sure enough we did see 10 birds in all today, on both sides of the road. Next time I will allow more time and scope the area from a lay by, there may be more to see.

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Mor typical Scottish weather today - no sign of eagles in the rain but plenty of Hooded Crows and flocks of Scoter numbering over a hundred and a raft of Long Tailed Ducks circa 600 strong - shame it was a bit wet!

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Building my lifers


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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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Building my lifers


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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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Building my lifers


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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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Building my lifers
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