Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Early morning Dive(r)!

Day two started where yesterday left off. Stunning clear blue skies not a breath of wind and the temperature at 0800 of +14, a grand day to be out and about.

First port of call was a local inland loch, the water was flat calm and lighting was perfect.  The usual Greylag Geese where loafing about on the shore and lochside fields, but amongst them a smaller bird was pointed out by Bill.  Scoping this bird we revealed a beautiful summer plumaged Red Throated Diver.

The Red Grouse where absolutely everywhere today, every tussock of grass and heather seemed to have a male bird sitting there enjoying the sun.

Male Red Grouse

A short drive down the side of the Loch we were soon viewing the quarry for the day, two stunning Black Throated Divers.  The birds showed well as they cruised about preening and fishing, sometimes approaching very close to the shoreline, an ideal way to end two half days Guiding provided by "Birding Ecosse"

Black Throated Diver

Monday, 26 March 2012

Grousing around, the big four!

Well it was one of those days that started off good and ended great!

First up was a male Capercaillie, in full display mode in the half light of morning.  This bird was right in the middle of the forest path and gave stunning views through the scope, it was reacting to something in the grass both sides of the path so perhaps other males were in the vicinity but these were not seen.  Once again strict rules were adhered to and the bird was only viewed at distance.

Next was a trip to a local Black Grouse lek, and straight away, on leaving the car, the haunting bubbling call and hisses of Black grouse displaying could be heard.  Views were distant but it is surprising just how far the calls carry.  Two males were observed fighting and displaying, but at least four other birds were heard in the area, one grey hen put in a very brief appearance.

Spot the Black Grouse!

Onwards and upwards, to the Ptarmigan Restaurant and the top of Cairngorm.  After a very brief search a stunning male crept into view, still mainly in it's white winter plumage it remained in view for well over twenty minutes and created quite a queue of people wanting to use my 'scope!


Last was the return journey and my banker location for Red Grouse, one male in particular was very confiding giving Bill a great opportunity of some stunning pictures.

Three lifers before lunch time for Bill!

Add to the birds: good company and the weather hitting a new record temperature for March it turned out to an absolutely top days birding!

A beautiful spring morning on Speyside.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Crossbills, Capercaillies and a cracking sunrise!

Out well before daylight today to check up on my local Capercaillies.  Mindful of the strict "Caper code of conduct" I drove to the local area, staying on the main road that winds through the forest and sat comfortably in my car with the windows down and engine off, drinking a coffee.

Just as dawn was breaking (and about 30 minutes after arrival) a male gave a low flypast over the road heading deeper into the forest and, almost immediately, in the opposite direction another male started calling (this bird was not seen and no attempt made to track it down)

It was a great way of Caper counting and it is brilliant news that there are at least two males in the area.  The local Gamekeeper thought only one male and one female were remaining. 

A beatiful Scottish morning, frosty and calm.

Driving to another location, away from the Caper area, I stopped for breakfst and a bit of general birding, the pace was alive with Crossbills, some in full song, others fliting around from tree to tree all the while "tchuup tchuup tchuuuping" to each other, it's a pity they never seem to carry on like this in full sunshine when I stand a chance of digiscoping some decent images!

Add to the cast Red Squirrel, Great Spotted woodpecker drumming, treecreeper and Siskin, it was a lovely way to start a Friday!

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

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