Tuesday 7 May 2024

Scotland weekender - April 24

A quick (too quick really) break to Scotland with the lads; Lee, TB, Hawky and myself. We flew from Stanstead to Edinburgh, first flight on Fri 26th April, 2 nights in Aviemore, then last flight home on Sun 28th. 

Lee had never birded Scotland before so were after the specialities, inc: Golden Eagle, White Tailed Eagle, Crested Tit, Black Grouse, Red Grouse, Ptarmigan and Capercaillie, plus some other bits. We knew Caper would be very hard due to roaming restrictions due to breeding/lekking season and Ptarmigan we were relying on low level snow which unfortunately wasn't there and we decided it would take too much of our time looking for them.    

All bird photos below courtesy of TB.     

Up up and away

Red Grouse 

Ring Ouzel - pair seen at Cairngorm ski centre

Bullfinch - one of 4 - the highlight of an unproductive day spent driving to the west coast
The crew

Loch Garten - Osprey on the nest seen, plus red squirrel, redstart of note

Findhorn Valley, we visited 3 times, each of is stringing Golden Eagles on occasions until finally on the last day we had two, the later showing pretty well

Findhorn Valley - Dipper eventually gave itself up, plus singing Wheatear

In hindsight an extra night would have been better and we could have given Ptarmigan a proper go. We failed to get Capercallie, Ptarmigan, White Tailed Eagle and Black Guillemot, all ticks Lee needed. We luckily (thanks to Hawky) bagged a Crested Tit last knockings at Nethy Bridge by the feeders. The Black Grouse lek on the first evening was great and unexpected, assuming it need an early morning visit. Good views of summer plumage Black Throated Diver, Great Northern Diver and Slav Grebe were had. 

We had a good laugh, and a few beers. The hotel at Coylumbridge was a great base and would defo recommend it. Will probably do it again one day, maybe a bit earlier in the year when there's more snow.