Saturday, 31 December 2011

And another lifer rounds up 2011!

Took a spur of the moment trip up to Loch Fleet to try for the long staying Greater Yellowlegs (and also to give Lyndas new Swaro 8x32 their first outing!)

Having forgotten that we were on Taxi duty for my daughter this evening we were half way to Fleet before we realised!  Not to worry we arrived in plenty time and managed perfect views of the bird... and what a cracker it was!

Feeding in it's well reported patch in the flooded field next to the Coull Farm entranceit was very settled and confiding.  Definately well worth the visit!

Greater Yellowlegs - Loch Fleet 31 Dec 2011

All in all 2011 has proved a good year, Birding Ecosse has "taken off" and has been recieving some excellent feedback and re-bookings.

Year list stands at 174 UK 218 World and 5 UK Lifers:

1 Long Billed Dowitcher
2 Sandhill Crane
3 Bittern
4 Red Flanked Blue-Tail
5 Greater Yellowlegs

So Happy New Year to everyone "Lang mae yer lumbs reek" and here is to a bird rich 2012.


Friday, 30 December 2011

Winter wonderland with Golden eagles.

It was a surprise driving to Grantown-on-Spey this morning and encountering a blizzard! The roads weren't too bad though and armed with my new snow tyres I decided to attempt my Eagle Special up the Findhorn Valley.

I picked Pauline and Ian up from their guest house and headed due west.  The Valley was snow covered but in a very picturesque way.

Once again we were lucky and ended up with two sightings, of possibly the same individual Golden Eagle, as was to be expected it was an immature, this bird showing quite a lot of white on the underwing.  On the second sighting it was being dive bombed by a Peregrine!

A slow and snowy drive over Dava moor via Lochindorb gave brilliant close up views of the many Red Grouse, their dark plumage making them stand out like sore thumbs against the snowy background.

Another great day in the field with lots of laughs and some cracking birds, what a fine way to spend the day!

 Red Grouse


Findhorn Valley looking East

Findhorn Valley looking West

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Golden Eagle fast food!

Another brilliant day tour today this time with John and Nicola from Norfolk, and a drive up the Findhorn valley once again turned up the goods in the shape of a 1st winter Golden Eagle being mobbed by two Buzzards giving a fantastic size comparison! Also in the area Roe Deer and least four individual herds of Red deer, Good views of Mountain Goats and also the Mountain Hare pictured below.

White Rock? Ptarmigan?  No it's a.....

Mountain hare!

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Long Live the King!

A half day tour with Peter today ended in complete success when the target bird, King Eider, was located actually in the harbour at Burghead.

This was a lifer for Peter who needed it to complete his list of all the British Ducks and Geese, I was really chuffed it showed so well!

King Eider at Burghead Harbour

Yet another top day birding with good company, lively chatter and cracking birds..... next trip the 27 December cannot wait!

Wednesday, 21 December 2011


Cracking day tour around the Moray area including Lossiemouth, Burghead and Lochindorb.
Weather started off wet and windy but cleared up to become a beautiful afternoon.

King Eider was showing well off the point at Burghead although we missed the Crested Tits in Lossie forest, heard at least four individuals but didn't get eyes on any of them!!

Reg Grouse at Dava Moor

Sunset over a frozen Lochindorb

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Loch Fleet

Had a cracking day with a visit to Loch Fleet in Sutherland.  The day started off with a horrendous weather forecast and radio warning of Black Ice on the road we we to travel on, but we decided to travel up and re-evaluate the conditions when we arrived.  Turned out the roads and weather we fine.

The new hide on the reserve is beautiful and very well situated, the gale force winds made the water choppy and the birds low, but a highlight was a single Whimbrel roosting directly in front of the hide, must be an over-wintering individual, but best of all it was a lifer for Robert. 

                                                                          Loch Fleet

The wind kept the woodland birds quiet, in fact the strength of it blowing through the drowned out nearly all other noise.

The drive along the south edge of the Loch was better, with plent of parking spots it makes for a fantastic area to scope for waders, and will be a definite for a Spring time trip.

Heading inland from the Loch towards Embo we came across a good sized, but highly mobile finch flock, mainly Linnets , Greenfinch and Chaffinch, but on one of the few occasions the landed in view we had one Twite perched on the wires with them, it would have been nice if the had given the opportunity for a longer view to scan through the entire flock!

Funny moment of the day was the sign for the vilage of Embo.... why twin yourself with places in France or Germany when you can pick somewhere warm.......!

Now I've never been to Kaunakakai but was wondering what is their equivalant for " Grannies Hielan Hame?"

Thanks to Robert for a great day, good company and sorry I didn't use the  "otter" picture   :-)