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Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Scotland Day 2

Me Mark and Andy (Martin wasn’t feeling well) were up early and out to Loch Garten for the Capercaillie lek this morning, one showed but like 3 years ago it was a distant and obscured view, we then had another quick look at the site where we saw Parrot Crossbills last time, there was a male Redstart there and Tree Pipits singing but no Crossbills so it was on to Tulloch Moor where we saw two male Black Grouse at the lek there. On the way back for breakfast we stopped to try and photograph a couple of Red Squirrels just after we passed the Loch Garten car park and were pleased to find a pair of Crested Tits there and a bit further up the road a couple of birders were watching a family party of Crossbills but they proved to be just common. After breakfast we decided to go up to Burghead and try for the White Billed Diver(s) reported from there in recent days calling first at a flash just outside the Boat of Garten where there was a Slavonian Grebe, at Burghead we met a couple of birders who had scanned the area without success and in fact had been talking to a local birder who watched the area every day and said he hadn’t seen any Divers of any kind let alone up to five White Billed, now a bit dubious of the earlier reports we headed along the coast to Portsoy where the one there had been reported yesterday, a scan from the 17th century harbour wall found a good selection of seabirds including some Long Tailed Ducks and a Great Skua on the sea but no Divers. We gave up early afternoon and headed back to the Findhorn Valley via Lochindorb, a pair of Black Throated Divers were nesting here again although they were distant on the other side of the Loch but no Red Throated seen, a lot of Red Grouse and Wheatears on the surrounding moorland. We spent the rest of the afternoon down Findhorn stopping just before the end the road by the Creag Fhionnlaidh and in glorious sunshine we were entertained by several Buzzards, a territorial pair of Kestrels and an Osprey that was fishing along the river then flew overhead then around 4-30pm Andy got on a Golden Eagle flying from the head of the valley, it flew towards us then off to the right where we lost it behind the hills then a few minutes later we couldn’t believe our luck as it came out over the nearby crag being mobbed by a Buzzard and a Raven, quite high up but great views in the superb light, we checked out a couple of woodland areas on the way back but nothing more of note was seen.
Loch Garten early morning

Black Grouse at Tulloch Moor

also Red Deer there

the Red Squirrels just wouldn't keep still

but nice to find these

17th century Harbour at Portsoy


one of the Black Throated Divers on the nest

Common Sandpiper at Lochindorb

crags near Lochindorb

Findhorn Valley scenics

Mountain Goats and Red Deer on the Crag

the Osprey

and the very high Golden Eagle

a Dipper on one of the tributaries

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