The weather has turned cooler up here during the last two days, together with some drizzle and light rain.
We have spent the last two days exploring areas close to us and on both the Glenmore and Rothiemurchus estates. These last two estates contain some of the best pristine Caledonian forest still in existence. Despite being a popular area for tourists, it isn't long before you lose people and can immerse yourself in some fabulous habitat. Some of this old forest with ancient Scot's Pines and waist-height heather is difficult terrain to find wildlife, such is the cover and scarcity of our quarry. The Crested Tits are moving around in pairs, collecting food for their nestlings. Their calls are more subdued but they have moved up a gear or two in their frantic search for caterpillars and grubs. Crossbills of one variety or another can be heard all the time as they fly over in small groups, but it hasn't been possible to obtain really good views of perched birds.
Damp depressions in the heather and mud-fringed pools are home to Snipe, Green Sandpiper and Teal. It's not often you see a Snipe perched on top of a century-old Scot's Pine, and the Woodcock are roding in day-light conditions. Interesting passerines in this habitat include the old favorites of Meadow and Tree Pipit, Spotted Flycatcher, Redstart and Willow Warbler.
A couple of visits to the car parks just below the Cairngorm Mountain ski-lifts and funicular railway provided plenty of Red Grouse, a single male Black Grouse and up to three pairs of Ring Ouzel.
A walk along the entire length of the Badenoch footpath this afternoon was very pleasant but only managed to provide repeats in the shape of Osprey, Dipper, Grey Wagtail, Stonechat, Redstart etc.
Eleanor and Neil