Early this morning the McMahon clan drove north to Scotland, as part of a short break centred around Speyside.
Our first venue after three hours solid driving was the excellent Westmoorland Tebay Services off the M6 in the Lake District. Not only was the cooked breakfast excellent but there were some birds there as well, which included 'bubbling' Curlew on the adjacent moorland, nine Crossbills and singing Willow Warblers, Garden Warbler and Spotted Flycatcher. On next to the outskirts of Edingburgh, where a committed animal lover took in our physically disabled foster dog Theo for a week. With our friend Diane taking in the other foster dog Joseph and Eleanor's parents looking after Bobsie, it left just Tor and Bazra with us to explore Scotland!
Birds seen and heard by the roadside included plenty of gulls and corvids, Common Buzzards, Sparrowhawk, Peregrine, Oystercatchers and a Wood Warbler. We motored over the impressive Firth of Forth bridge and on to Loch Leven, a large freshwater loch near Kinross. Here the RSPB maintain the Vane Farm nature reserve.
Siskins and Blackcaps were in good voice on our arrival, and other warblers included Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff. Some chattering Tree Sparrows was a sound from sunny Northants, and some of the birds visible from the hides was very much Nene Valley-like, with a drake Garganey, a pair or two of Little Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Redshank,a Pink-footed Goose, Black-headed Gull colony etc. A Glossy Ibis feeding close to a flock of Greylags sadly does not reflect the current Northants scene however!
A Temminck's Stint had been seen earlier in the day but couldn't be found by us or those there in the latter part of the afternoon, but a Red Squirrel coming to bird feeders in the shadow of the foliage will hopefully be the first of many on this trip!
|'C'mon Mum, when|
are we going for a run?'