Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Another Scotland Trip - Part 3 - Moray Coast

Day 5 proved to be a showery, windy and very cold day so we hopped along the coast stopping at various spots to see if we could find anything.

We started at Lossiemouth, but there was literally nothing apart from a few distant Shelduck and Gulls, so we headed on to Kinston on the west side of Spey Bay, the weather at this point was really rough, so we parked with a good a view as we could get across the bay and used the car as a hide.

There was Teal, Mallard, Mute Swan and some Goosander visible but everything else was hiding, although this Yellowhammer (a species that we hadn't seen for a while) stopped on some gorse by the car:
From here we headed over to the other side of the bay and even ventured out of the car, but not for long, we did add some Merganser and saw some waders flying around but that was about it. So we carried on down the coast stopping at Portgordon, Buckie, Findochty and Portknockie to see what we could find in the harbours and sea. Primarily all we came across were Eider, Cormorant, Herring Gull and some distant views of Gannets. We did see a diver at Findochty but it wouldn't stay up long enough to confirm what it was before disappearing, we know it wasn't a Great Northern, but could have been a Red-Throated or Black Throated, we will never know!

We called in at Findorn Bay and the dunes at Findorn, where we saw another Yellowhammer and Meadow Pipits, but the tide was way out in the bay so apart from easily identifiable Shelduck and Oystercatcher we couldn't confirm anything else. A shame as by now the weather had cleared, so home and a G&T for Tina and a pint of ale for me!

Day 6. We headed back to Chanonry Point today to try again for Dolphins, the weather was bright but again a strong wind so the channel was very choppy we did get some sightings though:
We stayed for a while but the views didn't get any better, so we decided to head for a couple of RSPB reserves (via Cromarty) on the Black Isle, the first stop was the wonderfully named Fairy Glen, this was a wonderful walk up through woods alongside a brook, our first bird here was a Dipper flashing past. This was followed by many sightings, we must have seen 3 or 4 different Dippers. The weather had become a bit overcast now and in the woods it was fairly dark, so the photos aren't sharp, but these are probably the best Dipper sightings we have had:

We added two Treecreepers to the list:
and a beautiful Grey Wagtail:

Other than these we did see Mallard, Wren, Chaffinch and Dunnock on the walk.
From Fairy Glen we headed to Uldale Bay where we were surprised to find a large flock of Pink-footed Geese and a single Scaup:
There were plenty of Curlew about, plus some Teal, Lapwing and a pair of Mute Swan.

There we go then, G&T and Ale time again I think.

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