Friday, 6 April 2012

ScottishTrip Report

Scroll down page for Paul's pics.

Day one Sunday April 1st 2012.
I picked Dave up from Bedmond shortly before 04:00 and we made our way over to Harefield to collect Paul. Then over to the APH off airport parking in Crawley. Then by courtesy bus to Gatwick Airport North Terminal where we checked in and had a short wait before boarding our Easyjet flight to Inverness. The flight was about an hour and a half and we landed in Inverness on time. We collected our hire car and made our way to our accommodation in Nethybridge, arriving at about 10:20.
On route from the airport to Nethybridge we noted the following species; Kestrel, Pink-footed Goose, Red Kite, Stock Dove, Lapwing, Common Gull, Black-headed Gull, Oystercatcher, Pheasant, Carrion Crow, Rook.
After leaving our bags at our accommodation we made our way over to the nearby Loch Garten RSPB Osprey Centre. Here we encountered the following species either at the Osprey centre or on the loch or in the surrounding woodlands; Osprey (2), Siskin, Chaffinch, Blue Tit, Goldeneye, Goosander, Whooper Swan (24), Scottish Crossbill, Curlew, Treecreeper, Goldcrest, Greylag Goose, Mallard, Coal Tit, Great Tit, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Great-crested Grebe, Wigeon.
We spent over an hour at the feeders near the Osprey Centre Reception hoping for Crested Tit or Red Squirrel but none showed. So not wanting to waste too much time we made our to Loch Ruthven, here we encountered to the following; Slavonian Grebe (6), Little Grebe, Red-throated Diver, Meadow Pipit, Teal, Cormorant, Mute Swan, Pied Wagtail, Hooded Crow, Wood Pigeon. Also noted Roe Deer.
Loch Ashy; Mistle Thrush, Buzzard.
Dunlichity; Black-throated Diver, Starling, Collared Dove, Jackdaw, Golden Plover.
Our final visit of the day was the Findhorn Valley, here we added the following species to our list; Golden Eagle (adult), Peregrine (2), Wheatear. Also noted Red Deer (100+), Brown Hare.
Day Two Monday April 2nd 2012.
Our first stop was the RSPB Osprey Centre hoping for Capercaillie. We arrived before 05:00 but could not get into the centre until after 05:30. We spent about two and a half hours in the centre but no Caper showed. We also spent time at the feeder near the reception hoping for Crested Tit and Red Squirrel but again no luck even though there had been regular sightings of both. From here we headed over to Applecross on the west coast. We made a couple of stops along the way.
Lochcarron; Red-breasted Merganser, Herring Gull, House Sparrow.
Lochalsh; Lesser Black-Backed Gull, Great Black-Backed Gull, Rock Pipit, Guillemot, Black Guillemot, Eider, Shag, Grey Heron.
Applecross; Ptarmargin (4 in transitional plumage).
From Applecross we made our way over to Skye in the hope of connecting with White-tailed Eagle at Torvaig.
Torvaig; Raven (2), Song Thrush, Robin, Blackbird. Also of note but previously seen; Whooper Swan, Hooded Crow, Red-throated Diver, Shag. Despite spending a few hours at this site no Eagles were seen. Not ideal conditions lots of mist and drizzle. On the long drive home it started snowing and the roads became treacherous (very). But we still made it to the chippie in Aviemore for our supper!

Day 3 Tuesday April 3rd 2012.
The snow from the previous evening had continued overnight leaving the area coated in an eight inch blanket. We decided to give the Caper watch a miss. Lucky we did as we found out later the Caper did not show again. Braving the ice and snow we headed out. Before heading out we noted a Stoat jumping around in the snow outside our accommodation.
Grantown on Spey; Red Grouse (2).
Loch Garten RSPB; Long-tailed Tit, Crested Tit (2) at last! We then connected with two more Crested Tits in the forest surrounding Loch Garten.
Nethybridge; Redshank, Near the bridge; Dipper (2).
Finally at Findhorn Valley; Golden Eagle (3, 1st summer) clashing talons.
Day 4 Wednesday 4th April 2012 (My 54th Birthday!)
Another early morning visit to Loch Garten RSPB Osprey Centre for the “Caper-watch”.
As soon as we arrived in the centre a Caper was showing but partially obscured. I managed a half decent view through someone’s scope and then the Caper flew off. Dave and Paul could not get on the Caper so I was p*ssed off to say the least! However, Dave would not be beaten and went outside to search for the Caper himself. After a few minutes he came back into the centre and said he had re-found the Caper and it was showing well. We all left the centre and made our way along the path towards the reception centre. Here about 30 people including a coach party of American tourists were able to enjoy great views of the Capercaillie. Even the centre’s sophisticated cctv camera’s could not find it. Well done Dave!
Passing by the reception on our way out we noted a Red Squirrel on the nut feeder.
Tulloch Moor; Black Grouse (2).
Then we made our way over to the Ythen Estuary for the regularly reported King Eider and also Lesser Yellowlegs at Loch of Strathbeg, although the Yellowlegs had not been reported at all the previous day.
Ythen Estuary; King Eider, Sandwich Tern, Linnet, Skylark, Goldfinch, Dunnock, Greenfinch, Shelduck. Also noted although previously encountered were; Eider (100+), Red-breasted Merganser (c50), Common Seal (100+).
Frazerburgh; Magpie, Yellowhammer, Turnstone, Kittiwake, Fulmar, Purple Sandpiper, Gannet.
Troup Head; Stonechat, Razorbill. Species encountered before but worthy of mention; Large Gannet, Guillemot and Razorbill colony on the cliff face. Raven, Peregrine.
As there had been no news of the Greater Yellowlegs either yesterday or today we headed back over to the Findhorn Valley for our final stop of the day. When we were well over half the way back news that the Yellowlegs had been sighted came through! At the Findhorn Valley we added a male Merlin to our trip list. Also Mountain Hare (2) and Golden Eagle (2 first summer), Wheatear.
Day 5 Thursday 5th April 2012.
At the Caper-watch we again drew a blank.
Inshe’s Marsh; nothing to add to our list the marsh being 99% frozen.
We then made our way back to Inverness airport for our flight home. Flight delayed for 40 mins not a big deal, another short delay waiting for shuttle bus to long term car park again no real problem. But M25 on the Thursday evening before Good Friday is not much fun. Give me A9 and snow every time!
Total Species; 91.
Mammals; Red Deer, Roe Deer, Red Squirrel, Stoat, Brown Hare, Mountain Hare, Common Seal.
Left to right. Dave Johnson (Expertise), Chris Sharp (Driving/Comedy), Paul Frost (Photo's)

1 comment:

  1. Excellent- sounds like you had a great trip- good to get all the grouse, cresties- and Scottish xbill!!