Monday, 20 April 2015

Scotland day 3 - A right Caper!!

I was up at before stupid o’clock this morning and it was freezing -3c on the car temperature gauge. What was I doing! I was on a small journey to Loch Garten to join a few other nutcases in the hope of seeing my first Capercaillie. As I got closer to the loch I hit thick fog which surely was not going to increase the chances of seeing this species.

The Osprey centre opens at 5.30am to allow the opportunity to witness the males leking during April and May. The fog which stayed around right up to the finishing bell at 8am (when the centre closes before re opening at 10am) was almost a sure thing of not seeing any birds and the second piece of bad news was that no bird had been seen since 17th April. Prior to that two males had been seen one an old resident and what appeared to be a younger male which could make proceedings a big lively if there is a female to scrap over!

The pair of Osprey entertained in patches. The centre has the nest site covered from all angles by CCTV. Volunteers also monitor the nest from a smaller hide 24/7. It was a shame the weather had spoilt any chance of seeing the birds but it was time to depart but there was time to watch a pair of Goldeneye displaying before going into Aviemore to get some breakfast and some supplies. Before Aviemore I spied some Red breasted Merganser off a bridge over the Spey and stopped to capture the moment.

I returned to Loch Garten semi refreshed. The sun had broken through and was warming the place up nicely! On with plan B find Crested Tit another life bird for me. I watched the feeders for a while and then parked in the car park where the pathway leads down to Loch Mallachie. This circular walk is good for Crested tit and Crossbill.

I had walked a circuit without any views of either species when I decided to walk the water edge and bingo a Crested tit was flitting around on the low branches to the pines. At last I had almost given up on seeing this species for the day!

Late afternoon I returned to the Findhorn Valley in search of a Golden Eagle but was as unsuccessful as everyone else that had been walking the area. Peregrines, Sand Martin, Wheatear, Curlew, Black and Red Grouse kept me entertained as did an Oystercatcher squawking away sat on the roof of The Bank of Scotland back in Aviemore. Perhaps it was look out!!

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