Monday, 8 July 2013

Scotland Day 43 and 44 (6th and 7th July)


Our last two days of our Scottish trip, started on Saturday morning with further visits to small woodland reserves within the Insh Marshes complex, a return to Uath Lochans and associated woodland and a look at Loch Insh itself.  We then drove to Newtonmore and took the dead-end road to Laggan which we were advised was good for wildlife.  It seemed quiet but then a Pine Marten hopped, skipped and jumped across the track and disappeared in to a plantation carrying prey.  However all the subsequent wildlife sightings from this road were pretty much repeats of what we had seen elsewhere.  We then said good-bye to the Highlands and drove south in to Perth and Kinross.  A singing male Common Rosefinch has been summering in a hamlet off the beaten track to the west of Pitlochry.  Although it hadn't been reported for five days, on arrival and even before we had turned the engine off the bird could be heard singing!  It kept its distance at the top of some very high conifers but was a smashing pink bird.  Apart from its own song, rather disconcertingly it also sang a perfect rendition of a Greenfinch and also phrases of Goldfinch and Chaffinch!  Clearly it has been there too long!  A fly-over Osprey was about the sixth individual that day.

We finished the birding day in Forestry Commission woodland near Pitlochry which produced yet more Crossbills, Siskins, Tree Pipit etc, and then drove on to B & B accommodation in Callender.

Sunday morning and we explored the Braco area which in the spring is good for Black Grouse.  However, despite plenty of searching we again failed to connect, so we simply had to do with Crossbill, Raven, Red Kite, Osprey, Tree Pipit etc.  The roadside verges were good for day-flying moths such as Chimney Sweeper and plenty of orchids.

Nuthatch, Magpie and Yellowhammer were the first for some weeks and a few Chiffchaffs were on territory (scarce much further north).

In the afternoon we visited a Red Kite feeding station west of Stirling near Doune at a farm called Argaty.  Lots of research locally emanating from this centre including Red Kite support and monitoring.  Relatively small numbers came down to feed on bits of carrion, swooping down and snatching morsels in their characteristic fashion.  A couple of local Common Buzzards had learnt too, but used a bold horizontal dash and grab tactic rather than the vertical stoop of the kites.  A few images of the kites flying around in the hot conditions are subject of a separate tab on this blog-site entitled 'Hot Red Kites'.

The evening was spent exploring the hills and lochs to the west of Callender.  Plenty of common birds and another juvenile Cuckoo was seen with attendant Meadow Pipits as adoptive parents.  

And that was finally the end of our Scottish trip and now time perhaps for a rest!


Eleanor and Neil

Four Spot Chaser (dragonfly)

Goldeneye with ducklings

Common Rosefinch

Common Buzzard

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