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Monday, August 19, 2013

19th August

Back from Scotland:

Well the drive to our holiday croft at Avielochan wasn’t to tiring and was punctuated with a stop over in a Travel Lodge near Perth. Normally we stop off in Dunkeld (near the Loch of the Lowes Osprey’s) but as we weren’t holidaying in the far north west this time thought we would try out a TL for the first time. It was okay but could have been slightly cleaner. Sonia (our daughter) had chosen to come for the first 5 days before returning by train to London. In this time I tried to show her some of the better walks and views in the Aviemore area.

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Avielochan and the croft seen from the Ptarmigan Restaurant and vice versa (10 miles apart). It wasn’t until we had booked the tickets that we became aware that unless we paid an extra £10 for a guided walk we wouldn’t be allowed to leave the restaurant area and explore the plateaux. I nearly asked for our money back but thought I would wait and see what birds were visible from the viewing platform. Luckily enough two of the Cairgorm specialities were visible, though only the Snow Buntings (5) were close enough to be photographed.

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Snow Buntings; not quite as splendid as the birds I see on the North Norfolk coast. 

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I could show you more of this cracking bird but I don’t want to bore you.

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Little Grebe chick for comparison. There were several pairs present on the loch.

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Unfortunately I didn’t see any Osprey’s fishing on the loch but they passed overhead on 3 dates. I was surprised to see 4 Hobby’s hawking insects and chasing Starlings and hirrundines. Apparently two birds have been fitted with geo-locaters.

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We had a pleasant walk along the Findhorn Valley one afternoon. Before setting off we lunched, sandwich in one hand, bins in the other. It wasn’t long before I had picked up a Golden Eagle further up the valley, unfortunately the camera wouldn’t focus on it. After a several hours walking we returned to the car and drove back down the valley to an area that allowed good views up several valleys. It didn’t take long before this huge lump appeared. It was a long way off but unmistakeably a White-tailed Sea Eagle. Once that had departed a bit further down the valley patrolling the ridge was another Golden Eagle. The Red Deer on that were grazing and loafing close by kept a close eye on the bird, some of the hinds had quite small calf's with them.

One early morning I popped up to the moors around Lochindorb. I stopped in several places scanning the distant Pine Plantation and was luckily enough to see a small family party of Black Grouse. Higher up on the moor I was soon picking up groups of Red Grouse, some of which were feeding on grit on the road. The loch had a sleeping pair of cracking plumaged Black-throated Diver.

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Other birds seen on or in the bushes around the banks of the loch.

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This is wood was a 10 minutes walk from the croft, I did see Red Squirrel here as well as on several other walks and drives. It also held Crested Tit but I was never able to get a picture I was pleased with.

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This is the Loch Garten Osprey nest tree, there are two birds in the picture but the view is a bit distant.

Some of the views and places we visited

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Findhorn Valley (above)

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Lochindorb (above)

Other views from close to the Croft

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Due to family matters we had to cut short the holiday to drive back to Norfolk. It did give me the chance for 3 days birding at Cley or elsewhere on the eastern side of the county. Unfortunately the though reasonable had winds from the wrong direction. 

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One Icelandica race Black-tailed Godwit amongst a flock of limosa birds

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As it was quiet I spent a lot of time looking out to sea where apart from the odd Gannet, Razorbill, and a few Arctic Terns the only movement was Swallow, House and Sand Martins coming in from the NE.

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1 comment:

birdman_euston said...

20 Aug:
Wood Warbler Deadman's Cnr NE tip of boating lake a34 0840-0930 at least (lifer - joy unconfined - pure white underneath with no discernible yellow), also 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Garden Warbler all a34, 3 Whitethroat a34 chat bush & a OGC pen a39.