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Monday, 13 May 2013

Speyside weekend Day 3

Me and Mike were up before breakfast again and out to Loch Garten for the Capercaillie watch, Mark decided to stay in bed seeing as he'd seen the female yesterday, a male was showing as we arrived but as usual it was distant and due to the number of people in the hide and the restricted angle of view we only managed a couple of brief head views through other peoples scopes at first, however as a few people started leaving we managed to work our way to the front and more importantly got our scopes onto the bird and were able to watch it as it slowly made its way to the left coming out into the open on a couple of occasions, not brilliant views but probably the best I've had at this location over the years, there were also Crested Tits and Red Squirrels on the feeders and the Ospreys did a change over. After breakfast the whole group headed to Tulloch Moor in search of Black Grouse but it was probably a bit late in the day and there was no sign of any, we decided we would try again early the next morning, the group then decided on a walk in the Abernethy Forest while me, Mark and Mike spent a bit of time back at the Loch Garten car park hoping to get some Crested Tit photos but they had also stopped performing. It was a nice sunny morning so we made the decision that rather than rejoin the group we would go straight up to Cairngorm next, there was still a fair amount of snow up there and coupled with a Bank Holiday weekend it was fairly busy, however we got parked OK then took the funicular up to the Ptarmigan Restaurant, we went out onto the terrace but although it had been nice lower down the dark clouds had rolled in and it was blowing a gale up there, we did our best but there wasn’t a bird to be seen. Mark had seen a Ptarmigan from the train on the way up so we decided to go back down and search the lower levels, a couple of Ring Ouzels attracted our attention not far up from the visitor centre and not getting a good view of them me and Mike climbed up to where we had last seen them, we failed to relocate them but as I scanned higher up I came across a Ptarmigan perched on a rock, unfortunately it flew off and over a ridge before I could alert Mike to it who had walked a bit further ahead. We carried on scanning but gave up as a squally shower came through and returned to the car park where we met up with the rest of the group who had come up after us and they had found an almost summer plumaged male Snow Bunting looking for scraps around the cars, this was a real bonus and we spent a bit of time photographing it although a car park is not the best of backdrops. Late afternoon found us all at Loch Insh where a pair of Ospreys are nesting and we got some reasonable views of one of the birds perched near the nest and flying around then me, Mark and Mike finished off with another session with the Slavonian Grebe at Avie Lochan as we made our way back to the Hotel.

Tulloch Moor

Loch Insh

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