Friday, 15 February 2013

Scotland Trip Part 2

Well the second half of the week saw an improvement in the weather (just about) We listened to the radio and there were no reports on Radio 2 of any closures, so we set out on Thursday to cross The Lecht and drop down to Loch Garten and Aviemore. There are two roads off the A93 that head that way, the first had a sign saying closed due to snow drifts, so we proceeded 5 miles further up to the second only to be faced with another sign!  We turned around and started to make a plan to head back over Glenshee and do something that way only to hear on the local radio 10 minutes later that the pass over the Lecht was open, so we turned around and headed up, I must say that I was thankful in places that we have a Landrover!

So we arrived at the Lecht Ski Centre and used that as our first coffee stop and to use the facilities! Even before we got out of the care the Lecht Snow Buntings did the job, I took more photos as this is a great little bird, but seeing as I have put a couple of Glenshee pictures in part 1 I wont add any more here. We had hoped to see Ptarmigan but alas no luck, just happy with more Red Grouse:
We proceed down off the mountains towards Garten, picking up a Heron, Pheasant and Buzzard.

We arrived at Garten and parked at the Osprey Center, the objective here was Crested Tit, we have always had good sightings, but today it looked like they weren't going to show, until one made a brief visit:
If you like Coal Tits this is also the place to be, I won't say there are hundreds, but certainly a lot and impossible to count, this though is when we had a bit of fun. We broke out the Coffee and had a snack, I was eating a cereal bar, next thing a Coal Tit pays me a visit and tries to land on my bar! So I thought well if they really want to:
Next thing they were at our supplies:
Then the Great Tits joined in:
In addition to these, we added a Great Spotted Wood Pecker, Chaffinch, Blue Tit and Robin, again with the Crested it's quality not quantity!

We then decided to have a ride across to Aviemore on the off chance of picking up Ptarmigan there, so headed through Aviemore Town to the Ski Slopes. We were just heading into town and I was stunned to see a tree full of Waxwing, sorry the photos aren't great but it was pretty dull!

Again just sheer quality!
So on to the slopes, the weather now become very murky, we managed a Goldeneye on the Loch driving up to the slopes, and more Snow Bunting, but no Ptarmigan. So after refueling with some hot Potato and Leek soup from the cafe, we headed back for Braemar via the Lecht as we didn't want to be going over in the dark.
Stopped again at the Lecht to use the facilities, now no Skiers just Snow Buntings! As we descended again we did pick up a new species for the trip some Red Legged Partridge which was nice (getting dark now):

End of part 2

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