Highlands & Skye 2017 - Part One

May 15, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Highlands & Skye 2017 - Part One

This account, which is in several parts, covers my trip up to Scotland as well as the holiday itself.

Day 1: April 28th

I headed north from York at dawn, planning to spend as much time as possible in the Dunkeld area, notably at the Scottish Wildlife Trust reserve at Loch of the Lowes. First visited a year earlier I think it's the best place to watch and photograph ospreys. Here are some of the results. OspreyOsprey The volunteer guide explained that, unusually, both birds were on nest duties and the female liked to go off and have a fly round and have a bathe in the loch. Not sure how often this has been photographed but it was all very exciting for me. OspreyOsprey OspreyOsprey OspreyOsprey OspreyOsprey OspreyOsprey OspreyOsprey OspreyOsprey OspreyOsprey OspreyOsprey OspreyOsprey OspreyOsprey OspreyOsprey

Back at the nest site... OspreyOsprey OspreyOsprey OspreyOsprey OspreyOsprey OspreyOsprey Also at this site were redpolls and lots of siskins. RedpollRedpoll SiskinSiskin The red squirrels were too quick for me when I tried to photograph them out and about. Only at the feeders did they remain still enough for a shot! Red SquirrelRed Squirrel Red SquirrelRed Squirrel Originally I had thought of spending an extra day at the end of the holiday going to Strontian for the long-staying american black duck. That evening I decided after messing with the satnav that it was feasible to head west [but not in a straight line!] via the Corran ferry to Strontian, see the bird [a lifer for me] and then head north for Aviemore and Nethy Bridge. Calculations gave me 3 hours to find the bird, often described as elusive, 'frequenting the river mouth or loitering outside the shop.'

Day 2: April 29th

Strontian is the tiniest place and barely warrants the importance maps seem to give it! A few buildings and a pull-in car park with a group of kayakers busy unloading. I got out of Tiggy, stretched and spotted a group of birders down the far end under some birch trees. I grabbed my bins and started to walk over. One of the birders gave a thumbs up. I ran over and looked in his scope. Later, I got the camera...3 hours all done in 10 minutes! Black DuckBlack Duck Accompanied by a mallard - it is a drake, by the way. Black DuckBlack Duck Note the blue speculum - lifer 432 Black DuckBlack Duck

A greenshank was also out on the wet grassland. GreenshankGreenshank I took the Corran ferry for a second time. Black guillemots nest in the old pier that's about 50 metres from the ferry slipway. Black GuillemotBlack Guillemot

Day 3: our first full day, April 30th

We began around Loch Garten looking for crested tits. I managed a reasonable shot of a red squirrel. Red SquirrelRed Squirrel Crested tits were seen but only fleetingly. Here's one from last year. Crested TitCrested Tit A drive round an estate looking for capercaillie proved fruitless but our lunch stop, high up overlooking the A9 far below and miles of open moorland, proved amazing as some putative scottish crossbills thrilled us all. Scottish CrossbillScottish Crossbill Scottish CrossbillScottish Crossbill Scottish CrossbillScottish Crossbill

Scottish CrossbillScottish Crossbill Scottish CrossbillScottish Crossbill

Scottish CrossbillScottish Crossbill Comfort break at Carrbridge. Some of us saw a pair of dippers. I snapped the bridge with my phone. Carr BridgeCarr Bridge We ended up at Lochindorb looking for a black-throated diver in rapidly fading light. A very dark red grouse appeared... Red GrouseRed Grouse ...together with its mate. Red Frouse femaleRed Frouse female Redshanks and common sands were seen as well as the diver. Common SandpiperCommon Sandpiper Black-throated DiverBlack-throated Diver

End of Part One


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