Sunday, 17 February 2013

Scotland Trip Part 3

So last full day and we headed of to the RSPB reserve at Loch Kinnordy, where by all accounts there is a Drake Smew present, so after about an hour drive we parked up and a local told us that the Smew was showing from the Swamp Hide, so along we went.

There was a lot of ice on the Loch in front of the hide so sadly all the birds were pretty distant, but the Smew was there along with Teal, Wigeon, Goosander, Goldeneye, Whooper & Mute Swans and of course Mallard, so just for the record:

We then wandered back popping in all the other hides but the Loch in front of those was completely frozen so there was nothing much to see. On leaving the last hide we had a Buzzard land and try to hide in the trees not to far away:
Then a Brambling showed quite well at the feeders:

So after a successful visit we set off to Montrose to visit the Reserver at Montrose Basin, we first stopped at the SWT Visitor Center (to make use of the facilities of course!) Here we had the usual small bird suspects, plus some Tree Sparrows, which are always a welcome sight. We then set off for the hides over the other side of the basin near Dun House. We drove through Montrose and were about to cross the River Esk, when Tina shouted "Waxwings!" so a quick U-turn was called for, luckily there were no parking restrictions and sitting on a TV aerial opposite were 13 Waxwings:
Brilliant! We stayed and watched them for a while and were about to leave when they started dropping down into the garden of the house and feeding, so out of the car and more photo's (I took quite a few, I will add them to the Gallery shortly), but just one more here:
So 2 Waxwing sightings in 2 days, totally unexpected and both in the least likely of places, but I'm cot complaining! So onwards. We parked up and then walked the 2k to the hide overlooking the estuary,which was the best choice as the tide was out and viewing from the other hide would be distant to say the least, , finding a flock of Twite on the way:
The first things to see were 6 Goldeneye, (1m & 5f),
then Redshank, Oystercatcher, BHG, GBBG, Mute Swan, Goosander, Little Grebe, and a Common Sandpiper, but then the stars of the show turned up, first a female Long Tail Duck appeared:
She didn't stay to long and flew off over the other side of the estuary, then moments later the Drake came into view:
A shame that the light was going at this point as these were the best Long Tail sightings we had ever had, he then flew off to join his mate, we watched them for ages in the distance where they were joined by another pair, so 4 LTDs, pretty good. So after refreshments and before it got dark we headed back via the coast path, where we found some Curlew, Shelduck, Pink Footed Geese and a Black-tailed Godwit, well pleased.
Then we trekked back to the car the only addition being some Roe Deer in the trees.

When driving back over Glenshee it was dark and the snow was coming down quite heavily, but the reward were Mountain Hares everywhere, it took us ages to get down to Braemar as we were constantly stopping to avoid Hares and watch the Red Deer that had come down from the mountains for the night, even though it was pitch black I manged to get a Hare in the headlights and take a very shaky photo:

So Saturday arrived and time to leave, we weren't coming straight back to the Black Country though, we were returning via Edinburgh, so we called in at Loch Leven (Vane Farm) RSPB just north of Edinburgh for a first visit.
The weather was terrible, drizzle and murk, and the reserve was pretty quiet and all the ducks etc were staying way out in the Loch, we tried all the hides, only one had any decent sightings. Goosander, Whoopers, Heron, Greylag:

We were entertained if that's the right way of putting it by 2 wardens rescuing a Sheep stuck in the bog, at one time we thought someone would have to go and rescue them as they kept sinking to their knees in the mud, but they managed it.

We popped back to the excellent Cafe at the Center for lunch and courtesy of the scopes up there, watched two Short Eared Owls hunting along one of the tree lines, so it was worth the visit just for that. (The lunch was pretty good too!)

So endeth the Scottish trip, bringing our year tally to 85 and 59 for the trip.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! That was some trip Tom! Too many highlights to pick out but the Crested Tit and Long-tailed Ducks I am very envious of!

    A great read and splendid images!