Sunday, 2 July 2017

Scotland....... Black Isle and Cairngorms

A couple of days in Scotland. On the first day, the incessant rain of the previous 24h had let up, leaving cloud and some initial drizzle. A had a day booked in a hide on the Black Isle, and had been looking forward to this for a while. I settled in for the day, the view being a forest edge with logs suitably positioned in the clearing. The main attraction was mammalian, not avian ( despite Great Spotted Woodpeckers and a Tawny Owl) and a Red Squirrel soon made an appearance and continued to entertain through the day. The suspense continued, until finally at around 6pm an inquisitive face and pointed ears appeared out of the heather - a Pine Marten! I could hardly believe it, but I watched it climb and eat some food for 10-15 mins until it disappeared again, ever alert to any noise from my hide. A privilege to see such a shy, elusive and rare mammal at close quarters. And a very good photo opportunity, despite the poor light. The next day started with a window of fine weather and I parked up early in Glen Feshie on the eastern end of the Cairngorms. Superb conditions, and a good path throughout led up onto Carn Ban Mhor, then onto the plateau area, expansive views from the Cairngorm massif round to Ben Alder. A family of Ptarmigan gave close views, along with several displaying Dunlin, no Dotterel though. Also a calling Ring Ouzel. Beautiful Caledonian pines in the Glen gave a rewarding walk back up to glen - these are conserved by fencing out the deer. I drove home for 2 reasons - firstly, there was no flight ...... and secondly, ornithological highlights. First of all the North Pennines - breeding waders, especially Curlew calling and perched beside the road.......along with Snipe and Lapwings. Secondly a superb 1st summer Sabine's Gull at Nosterfield - exceptional views of is normally pelagic Gull - especially the striking flight profile. Worth the stop. Then, finally, the celebrity Bee-Eaters that are nesting in a quarry in S Notts - along with the attendant crowd. Not forgetting Black Grouse back in the Pennines, Co Durham. A busy couple of days........

1 comment:

Richard Williams said...

Sounds like the Cairngorms the hard way Jon - but very rewarding nonetheless. Your blog does not receive the attention it deserves

See you again soon