Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Scotland trip day two


We set off early on Saturday morning to grab a slim chance of Black Grouse and Caper.
Arriving at Nethybridge at first light we first checked the viewing screen at Tulloch Moor and had the good fortune to find a single Black Grouse in the distance. The bird was standing motionless so took some finding but find it we did before we moved on to Abernethy Forest but we failed to find any Capers or even hear any as we parked up with car windows open preferring that to wondering around and the risk of disturbance at this time of year. We moved on to Loch Garten to find the reserve closed until 1st April in order to "let the Osprey settle" but the car park feeders where busy so we plotted up and watched as Siskin, Coal Tit, Treecreeper and Chaffinch came to feed along with Red Squirrel. After a shoot while the shout came out Crestie! as two birds came in to feed briefly allowing a couple of quick shots before they flew off back into the forest.

Crested Tit at Loch Garten
Red Squirrel at Loch Garten

From here we headed further north passing through Carrbridge where a check for Dippers gave up just a Grey Wagtail but the bridge over the river was worthy of a picture.

Being in this part of the country it would have been rude not to take the detour and search for the American Coot at Loch Flemington so we drove to the reported site to find the bird showing well from "the layby by the white stones" as has been posted for several weeks now. The birds seems quite settled moving around with a Moorhen.
American Coot at Loch Flemington
Cormorant at Loch Flemington
Our next stop was the Findhorn Valley where lady luck shone on us again as a huge Golden Eagle drifted over the car park on our arrival accompanied by several Buzzard and Raven, Mountain Hare and Red Deer where see on the mountain slopes too. After a while we moved back down the valley and took the Farr Road towards Loch Ruthven where Goshawk had been reported earlier. We scanned the skyline above the pine plantations with no joy but did get our first Red Grouse of the year here which was nice.
Golden Eagle
Red Grouse
Arriving at Loch Ruthven we found the paths covered in toads and had to tread really carefully so as not to squash any on our way to the hide. At the hide we found a single Slavonian Grebe and had a real bonus when a Goshawk came up over the tree tops to display for about five minutes giving us our best views ever of this cracking bird.
Toad at Loch Ruthven
We then made the short trip back via the car park at Cairngorm but the bitter cold and driving wind put us off the walk up the mountain and as the train wasn't running we left to make the return to our cottage in Fort William and the end of another great days birding in Scotland.


  1. Brian,well done on the Goshawk, we searched for them but couldn't find any.

  2. Cheers Dave, just one of those days where it all went for us.......Black Grouse, Crested Tit, American Coot, Golden Eagle, Slav Grebe and then the Goshawk giving us the best display we've ever had, can't wait to go back for a bit more of the same.