The weather forecast for Tuesday was not looking good for Speyside, but we ventured out for another full day wildlife excursion. As it happened, the showers were infrequent and light and it was the excessively strong wind which proved to be more significant.
The first main venue was Loch an Eilein on the Rothiemurchus Estate. This is a pleasant circular walk around a loch in pine woodland of a variety of ages, but including some ancient Caledonian stands. Most of the birds were typical Highland woodland birds, with Crested Tit, Tree Pipit and Spotted Flycatcher all in good numbers. Like many areas of water in Scotland, anxious trilling Common Sandpipers escorted us along the loch-side paths. A couple of pair of Swifts suggested they may be part of the relict population nesting in old conifers in this part of the world. Goldeneye and flighty 'Crossbills' were about the best of the rest.
Next it was on to Loch Morlich and the extensive Glenmore Forest Park. We walked a lengthy trail, the forest providing the necessary shelter from the increasingly gale force winds. By this time we were seeing Red Squirrels regularly on the plentiful feeders in gardens and lodges, but it was still difficult to find them in the forests. Birds included more 'Crossbills', Crested Tit, Redstart, Tree Pipit, Spotted Flycatcher and Goldeneye.
The remainder of the day and evening was spent searching for and baiting mammals. More Red Squirrels and both species of deer provided super views and after dark we saw Wood Mice, Badgers and finally two Pine Martens!
Eleanor and Neil