Sunday 30th September 2012.
Our first stop was Cairngorm Mountain. The plan was to take the funicular railway to the top, then take the guided tour (Ptarmigan?) have some lunch etc and plan the rest of our day. No luck with the guided tour as it was too windy 90 mph winds. So we took the railway to the top spent some time in the cafe and out on the viewing area. I couldn't find any birds up here despite searching very discreetly of course! It was windy and this played havoc with my hair. So where to go next? Our flight was not until 21:25 from Aberdeen. I suggested to my other half that we might make our way across to the east coast. Coincidently whilst having our coffee my wife noticed a leaflet "places to visit in Aberdeenshire" or something like that. One of the places was Loch of Strathbeg. So I suggested we go there as it is one of Scotland's biggest dune lochs and not because some rare waders had been seen there recently. So this is where we headed noting some interesting looking distilleries on the way. We arrived at the Loch of Strathbeg RSPB reserve and parked the hire. In the car park I there were Tree Sparrows and Swallows. We then headed off to the Tower Pool Hide. I only had bins and my wife just naked eye and the pools were quite a way from the hide. Only a couple of other birders in the hide so I enquired "any interesting waders out there?" "No not really" was the reply. Cunning plan scuppered!!!! As it was such a nice day my wife Audrey, yes she does have a name! decided to sit outside in the sunshine. I said I would have five more minutes in the hide and we would move on. I had a scan with my bins but could only find; Curlew, Ruff, Pink-footed Goose (c1,000), Barnacle Goose (a few hundred and my first real ones). After another team meeting we decided to head for Rattray Head and a walk along the beach and dunes. A really nice stroll and some good birds too. Swallow, Meadow Pipit and a family group of Stonechat were seen on our walk from the car park to the dunes. On our walk along the beach the following; Gannet, Shag, Great black-backed Gull, Sandwich Tern, Oystercatcher, Turnstone, Sanderling, Redshank, Wheatear, Grey Seal, Lighthouse. From here we took a leisurely drive to Aberedeen Airport. When we got quite close to Aberdeen airport Audrey said "did you see that Crow with the black head and grey body?" "Sounds like a Hooded Crow to me" was my reply. Can you believe it my own wife gripping me off!? Shortly after this I re-fueled the hire car and on leaving the petrol station I saw a Hoodie on the grass verge. Phew! That was pretty much the last action of a very pleasant non birding break. I did take some pics but no time now as I'm off to work soon. I'll add some later.