Early morning saw us walking the Pinewood Trail near to Badachro in Wester Ross. Fresh cat and Pine Marten droppings only served to tease us as we didn't see either animal! The walk was uneventful apart from an apparent moribund Azure Hawker (dragonfly) and anxious Common Sandpipers, Stonechat, Willow Warbler and Common Buzzard.
The remainder of the day was taken up travelling to and birding the Applecross Peninsular. Driving up to the highest road in the UK was worth it when shortly after we reached the summit we enjoyed brief views of a pair of Ptarmigan. We walked for another two hours but couldn't find them again until the old trick of walking back to the car found them hiding near to the car park! Other upland specialities included a couple of singing male Ring Ouzels, Wheatear, the ever present Meadow Pipit and Golden Plover.
We then worked the peninsular on the back of some pleasant sunny weather in calm conditions. The large expanse of water between Applecross and Skye produced distant views of pods of Porpoise and dolphins and plenty of seals. Common birds included the three chats, lots of Willow Warblers, Blackcap, Treecreeper, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Hooded Crow. Plenty of scanning failed in an effort to find either eagle species in apparently excellent habitat.
Birds noted on the way back included the pair of Black-throated Divers again with their youngster on Loch Clair (plus a Greenshank), and five Red-throated Divers plus the usual Eider and Red-breasted Merganser on Gairloch sea-front.
Eleanor and Neil