Sunday, 19 April 2015

Scotland Day 2 - Findhorn Valley!

I spent most of the day in the Findhorn Valley searching for Golden Eagle. The day started cold and overcast which kept all raptors on their posts until mid morning. Buzzard was the first raptor to hit the skies followed by a pair of Peregrine who spent some time harassing a Buzzard that had obviously strayed where it shouldn’t have ventured.

The valley holds red Grouse which is a life bird for me and this species was quickly added to this total. Several birds were seen throughout the day in various parts of the valley.

The temperature increased to 11c in the afternoon with sunshine and blue skies. I remained in the only car park and scanned the mountains. Sadly the improvement in weather was not enough to tempt my target bird into action. A Merlin zipping along the lower edge of the mountain was the only other raptor of note in this period. Mountain hare and Feral Goat were present on the slopes for most of the day. I saw my first Red Squirrel along this route I'm sure there will be plenty more seen before the week is out.
(View from the carpark)
Mid afternoon I took the Farr Road which is a very scenic but tricky route along a very narrow track. I was glad to see crash barriers at the highest points but wondered if they would save anyone if they misread the layout of the road.

My final stop of the day was at RSPB Loch Ruthven where Slavonian Grebe are known to be present. A scan of the lake located a single bird in stunning breeding plumage unfortunately it was ¾ of the way across the loch and well out of camera range. Little Grebe were also present of the loch. A strange leucistic type crow was noted in flight whilst at the loch.

I drove back to my hotel via the Farr Road seeing more Red Grouse along the way. A day of mixed fortunes but I think the Eagle is going to be a tough bird to see at this time of year!

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