Sunday, 2 June 2013

Scotland Day 7 (Friday 31st May)

Hi

Experiencing some internet connection problems up here in the lochs and mountains of west Scotland!  Friday saw us exploring further areas around Strontian and slightly to the north around Kentra and Loch Moidart.  Most birds were more of the same in rather grey and cool conditions.  A few power showers and strong sunshine afterwards cleared the air and kept us watching the horizon for the next dark cloud on its way.

A walk along the sandy causeway to Tioram Castle notched up a few fly-over Crossbills, Common Tern and singing warblers; the abandoned castle itself was home to Raven, Rock Dove and Rock Pipit.  Plenty of Red-breasted Mergansers fished the shallow waters where the fresh water merged with the sea loch, the males already well in to eclipse plumage and losing their stunning late winter/spring plumage.  Ravens fed their fledged young and Grey Herons stalked the rippling tides.

The afternoon was spent exploring the folds and mountain-sides of Morvern with a couple of vast vistas providing scanning opportunities.  Here herds of Red Deer were visible as far as the eye could see, Ravens croaked overhead and six hunting eagles were made up of four White-tailed and two Goldens.

We progressed along the side of Mull Sound to the outpost 'community' of Drimmin where the road effectively ends.  Very much a leafy rustic English lane nestled in the protected folds of west Scotland!  A two and a half hour hike along an ancient burial route without seeing another person was good for the soul and for obtaining close views of both Red and Roe Deer.  Birds were much the same as elsewhere and included a couple of bright red Crossbills and still large numbers of Willow Warblers.  A Dipper on a heavily-wooded burn was the first we have managed to see on this trip.

At 10.20pm we began a 90 minute evening/night drive back from Drimmin to Strontian in a vain effort to see Pine Marten and Wildcat.  Plenty of sheep and deer but no hoped-for Scottish predator!

Regards

Eleanor and Neil
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