Saturday, 29 June 2013

Scotland Day 35 (28th June)


Our last full day yesterday in Wester Ross.  In wet conditions it was first to the beach at Gairloch to play with the dogs in the surf and check out birds on the sea-front and in the bay.  No huge surprises with the birds simply being repeats of previous days.  The drizzle turned to rain so we took cover in a cafe with an Internet connection for some 90 minutes.

The weather then improved so we elected to walk the five mile plus Slattadale trail again.  This begins at sea level alongside Loch Maree and then ascends rapidly to cut through a couple of peaks of the Torridon Mountain range.  The scenery was pretty special but the birds pretty mundane.  However a party of Crossbills were vocal but sadly didn't provide views which might have indicated exactly which species they were!  A White-tailed Eagle wasn't the species of eagle we anticipated but was welcome nonetheless!  A couple of Red-throated Divers were on Loch Maree and several Tree Pipits sang from near the shore.

Late afternoon/evening saw us exploring the headland on the south/west shore of Loch Ewe.  Birds included Twite, Lesser Redpoll, Siskin and the usual shore birds.  As in most areas there were some excellent road-side smothering of wild flowers which included at least one of the species of Butterfly Orchid.

We finished the day with a late evening walk through woodland and pasture adjacent to Gairloch.  This produced plenty of common birds but not the hoped-for scarce mammals.  Local gaming interests ensured that Pheasant and Red-legged Partridge were present, both species looking out of place.  A just-fledged juvenile Whitethroat fluttered around precariously.


Eleanor and Neil

A distant shot of a White-tailed Eagle,
taken to show the size difference between
it and the mobbing Common Buzzard!

A passing Raven with some type of offal
offering in its bill and gullet!

The Song Thrushes in Scotland
revel in the sometimes dank and wet
conditions, perfect for an endless
supply of worms, slugs and snails.

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