Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Another Scotland Trip - Part 1 - Osprey, Loch Ruthven and Findhorn Valley

Well I have finally sorted out some photos and am ready to put up a report of our recent trip to Scotland that we did at the end of April. We stayed in a great apartment overlooking the harbour at Burghead on the Moray Coast.

This was a great location for exploring and for some bird watching. Eider were resident just outside the harbour making frequent visits into the harbour, Common Scoter, Gannets and Oystercatcher were seen from our balcony, so a good place to be.

But lets start at the beginning, we travelled up via Edinburgh stopping overnight at our daughters, then heading north over the Forth Bridge. We planned a stop to meet up with Jo & Jimmy to do some Osprey watching, I'm not going to say where this is, it's probably a widely known secret but best not to publish it. The pair of Ospreys duly obliged and we spent a pleasant hour here whilst we had lunch:

In addition to the Osprey we were treated to good views of a pair of Goldeneye:

as well as Blackcap, Dunnock, Willow Warbler, Robin, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Goosander, Blackbird, Black-head Gull, Crow and Robin. So a good start to the week, with the Osprey adding to our year list.

We carried on to Burghead and a well earned pint!

Day 2 saw us heading a fair distance to Loch Ruthven, the objective being to see Slavonian Grebe in summer colours. We had been in February and saw a single Slavonian in winter plumage, this time we were treated to a pair in full colours nest building within good view of the hide:

There were also 2 pairs of Little Grebe, one of the pairs was also nest building:
On the walk back to the car we had good views of Meadow Pipit:
and Willow Warbler who wouldn't stay still long enough for a photo, never mind.
From Ruthven we headed into Findhorn Valley across the moorland where we saw our first of many Wheatear and our only Red Grouse of the week.

The target for Findhorn was Golden Eagle, none obliged though, speaking to other birders, they had made brief appearances earlier but they didn't show in the time we spent there. From the end of the road we walked the track into the valley for a couple of miles following the river, where we saw, Meadow Pipit, Wheatear, Oystercatcher, Common Sandpiper, Common Gull, Swallow, House Martin, a Peregrine, Newt, Mountain Hare and our first Dipper of the year:

A great walk, but sadly the Dipper never came close enough or stayed still long enough for a photo.

We headed back to BUrghead via Loch Flemington, just in case the American Coot was still about, but no sign. So endeth day 2 and part 1.

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