Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Tasty Tysties

Fantastic day tour today of  Moray, taking in seabird colonies, estuary, river, moor and Lochs.

Highlights included; Thousands of breeding Gannets and Kittiwakes, Black Guillemots feeding in the clear waters of the Moray Firth.  Osprey plunge diving and carrying off a huge salmon. Red Throated Divers in full breding plumage and of course the best bit was the company of newly crowned pensioner Richard and his polite wife Chris (yes Chris Fulmar does start FU!!)  Happy birthday Richard and remember the Ruby Murray Anniversary in October!

Tystie (Black Guillemot)



Monday, 28 May 2012

Back to normal

Well the sweltering weather of the last few days has come to an end, and normal service was resumed to day, +12, overcast with a cool N/W wind.

With a free day I decided to recce Loch Mallachie on Speyside, a site I have driven past many times but never stopped in at.

It really is a beautiful walk down the edge of Loch Garten, through the Scottish Pine wood to Loch Mallachie itself.

Loch Mallachie, Speyside

Chaffinches were in full song throughout the wood as were Siskin calling and displaying in the treetops, Goldcrest, Coal Tit, great Spotted Woodpecker and Cuckoo were also close by.

For me though the stars of the show were the Large Red Darters, easily observed and photographed.

Large Red Darter

So a very pleasant morning, and Loch Mallachie is now on the Birding Ecosse Half day tour list.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

It was indeed scorchio!!

Well the forecasters got it spot on, it was absolutely roasting on the west coast of Scotland today and no midges!

It was sad to find out the chick of the White Tailed Eagles we had set out to see had died in the spell of bad weather we had a few week ago, and no adults were to be seen.  However there were plenty of other star birds,  Black and Red Throated Divers and tysties by the bucket load.

A cracking 13 hour day in the field. 

Scorchio indeed!

Friday, 25 May 2012


Tomorrows forecast  SCORCHIO!!   Plus the added bonus of low midge forecast means a day over to the West coast.  Bring on the Squeagles and tysties!

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Guiding the guide

Yesterday I met up with fellow tour guide Peter Jones who had booked a holiday through Wild at Heart a local eco tour business, it seemed strange at first guiding a tour guide, but as he explained my local knowledge was what they were after.

A  highly diverse group there was a great atmosphere in the mini-bus throughout the trip.  First stop was a local loch in search of Red Throated Divers, it was then I realised these people were more than beginners when it came to photography, unfortunately, although the divers were showing well they were just too far off shore for decent shots.

Grouse put on a fine display and made up for the lack of Diver shots, the male and female closely guarding at least three young, next stop Eagle country.....

Or not as the case proved to be, it was a beautiful day for soaring eagles but alas none were to be seen but both Mountain and Brown hares, Red Deer and feral goats all gave the group plenty to snap at, with some amazing shots of boxing hares to be had.

All in all a cracking day, with glorious weather and a great deal of laughs, hopefully Peter and "wildwatch tours ltd" will return in the very near future.

Wildwatch Tours Ltd, having lunch

Today was a planned admin day, half day and full day tours have kept me extremely busy for the whole of May, so today articles for publcation had to written, e-mails replied to and grass to be cut.... this proved a distraction though as both Blackcap and Whitethroat were singing close by and I just had to try and get some pictures!  Not to worry at least I got half the garden cut :-)




Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Sleepy Slavs

Another cracking half day tour in Speyside, Capercaillie first thing after setting out to pick up John, then a Short Eared Owl on the Grantown road, this bird was doing brief spurts of display flight, really nice to see.

After picking John up at the excellent Grant Ams Hotel (home of the BWWC) we had a late visit to the local Black Grouse lek, no males were present but one female was perched halfway up a tree near to the lek site.

Next a visit to the Grant Arms hotel own private hide for Slavonian Grebes, both birds were present, however the water level is mega high and looks like the nest site may be washed out, hopefully it is still early enough for them to retry.

Next was Findhorn Valley were we obtained good, but distant, views of Golden Eagle and Ring Ouzel.

A final stop off at a local loch provided good views of Red Grouse, and Red Throated Divers plus an added bonus of a Cuckoo perched on a telegraph wire.

All in all a very succesful morning.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Bus mans holiday

After spending Sunday night at a cracking wedding at Pittodrie house hotel near Aberdeen I decided to re-visit birding locations from my past.

First stop was Newburgh and the Ythan, thousands of Common Eider were strewn across the river mouth and a very healthy number of Sandwich Terns were on colony at the far side dune system.  The lighting was perfect for digiscoping and a lot of the heathland birds posed very conveniently.

RSPB Loch of Strathbeg was very quiet, however I've just checked on birdguides and looks like I missed a shorelark! The breeding Tree Sparrows proved a nice addition to the day though.

Last stop was Fraserburgh Seawatching viewpoint, nice surprise of the day was a Black Guillemot close to shore, nasty surprise of the day was a huge amount of hypo needles and drug paraphernalia.

A cracking day wandering down memory!


Tree Sparrow


Drug den seawatching

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Introducing the new Birding Ecosse vehicle

Well the time had come to trade in my ever reliable three door fiesta to a swanky new five door version, and I must say the new car is a dream to drive with bags more room in the back and boot.  No more squeezing into the rear seats, everyone gets their own door!! 

Keeping to a smaller vehicle means it is kinder to the environment and economic to drive and helps to ensure that Birding Ecosse still provides brilliant value for money for all who take part in half or full day tours.

Out on it's maiden run we clocked up Black Grouse, Ring Ouzel, Golden Eagle, Short Eared Owl and Red Throated Diver, not bad for an afternoon!