Monday, 25 March 2013

Eagletastic!

So what indeed did happen next?

Well as we were sitting in "Eagle Car park" having a cup of coffee, I was just remarking that the snowy white backdrop to the mountains would make tracking the eagles a lot easier, if they were to appear.  When lo! From the right side of my vision I caught the movement of a large bird gliding over the valley, low and to the south.  The sheer size of the bird ID it as a White Tailed Eagle, the lack of any white pointing to an immature bird. 

To my amazement it soared over the valley and then landed, in full view, on the slope of the mountain..... scopes to the ready!  It gave amazing views and allowed us to see that it was wing tagged (black tag with yellow "X") I snapped off some digiscoped record shots but the light was very poor.



 Having filled our stomachs with coffee and our scopes with WTE we set off to the top car park.


Setting up the scopes in the biting east wind the first thing that caught our attention was the Mountain Hare, in its usual position on the scree slopes, it was whilst watching this, a movement to the left of one of the mountain ridges caught my attention..... Another large raptor........ this time an immature Golden Eagle!!
The bird soared out briefly giving stunning views.



Then just as we thought things could not get better..



A second bird appeared and the two birds "talon grappled"


And then....



A third bird appeared!! The Golden Eagle Flying Display Team!

An absolutely stunning morning, and one of the times that a birding event will be etched in my mind.  Richard seemed happy with the morning work so home we headed....

However the eagles had a final finale!  Just as we approached Eagle Car Park for a second time another (or perhaps one of the display team birds) Golden Eagle appeared from the right hand side of the valley and cruised very low level, right over the top of the car, the perfect end to a brilliant tour!

However roll on 24 hrs............. to be continued.

Would you like to join Birding Ecosse on a day trip into Eagle Country? Then check out www.birdingecosse.co.uk for tour dates and details or just call and talk over your requirements.


Saturday, 23 March 2013

Black, Red, White and Gold!

Just had a fantastic couple of morning tours with Richard. The weather on day one was stunning, flat calm, -9 and frost crisp on the ground.  Oh what a difference 24 Hours make! Day two dawned with gale force winds, continual snow flurries and a biting easterly wind.

The first highlight was the Black Grouse on our local moor.  We arrived to hear the soft bubbling calls of nearby males, but instead of coming from one spot they were all over moor!  Keeping below the skyline we managed to observe at least four individual males from behind the newly erected viewing screens, infact we had three in a single tree.  It was brilliant to see so many males at a lek where the numbers had been falling. We left quietly, the birds undisturbed and still "strutting their stuff"  Lets hope further visitors treat these birds with respect and use common sense to avoid disturbance, as these birds can be viewed perfectly well from the "authorised" viewpoint.

Next onto one of of what has been  one of my highlights of the winter season, feeding the coal tits!  The numbers of birds have dropped off but there were still a few around only too happy to relieve us of some sunflower hearts.  Sadly no Crested were around, so onto site two for these! Success came early with  two birds seen at fairly close range.  Target bird two in the bag!


Richard on Holiday.

Next onto one of favourite local places for Red Grouse, target bird three collected.  One female was so close you had to wind the car window down to observe her at the side of the road!!

A very successful morning, with great company and plenty of laughs, how would day two shape up, well the weather was worse, but the birds?................... (to be continued)



As a teaser, what happened next?

Fancy a day out watching Eagles, then check out my web page www.birdingecosse.co.uk for details


Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Welney and Cley

Just back from a great weekend in Norfolk with some great birds picked up for the year list.

Arriving at Littleport Station our adopted Norfolk mum and dad picked us up and immediately set off for Welney WWT reserve.  This is not a new reserve for myself, I visited once many years ago and to cut a long story short ended up flushing a Sociable Plover that a whole heap of birders were watching.  Not a good memory!


Welney WWT


However this visit was a whole new experience.  The visitor centre is fantastic (nice coffee and walnut cake!) and the hide are massive with plenty of space to spread out all your kit!  Highlight was two Avocets and close views of Great Crested Grebes (before the English readers sigh and roll their eyes we do not get Crested this far North, Slavonian are our "common" Grebe)


Great Crested Grebe - summer plumage


Great Crested Grebe - Transition plumage

The biting and freezing cold wind kept outside birding to a minimum, however the hides further along the reserve were well positioned and once again they were really spacious.

Unfortunately the Bewick Swans were not in attendance today, but for me the star birds were two Avocets roosting on a grass bank across from the hide.


Avocets

For a first day in Norfolk it was a fantastic day out.  The reserve is well worth a visit, the scheduled Swan feeds had finished by the date we arrived, but this did not distract from the day at all.  No Bewick = another visit! 

Further reports coming soon.