Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Winterwatch Our Way! Part Three

So our last two days. Day five is a walk day, our destination today is Glen Muick a lovely walk in the right weather on the Balmoral Estate. However today wasn't quite the right weather but what the heck! The wind was howling and it was a tad on the cool side, but we went any way. We started off walking into the wind and down to Loch Muick. This took a while but we were rewarded with a couple of Black Grouse giving us a very brief flypast. Occasionaly the sun did come out;

This gave us the opportunity for a coffee stop sitting against the boat house out of the wind. Tina and myself were just chatting as we do when not four feet away from us a Dipper came around from behind the boat house and landed. I don't know who was more shocked the Dipper or us. Needless to say it took one look at us and scarpered, being blown around mercilessly by the wind as it went.

Feeling suitably refreshed we carried on now with the wind behind us making progress a lot easier (and unintentionally quicker at times as the wind gusted behind us) The only other sighting on the walk was a Mountain Hare spooked by a group of walkers a hundred yards or so in front of us:
The rest of the walk was uneventful, though we did see a Treecreeper as we headed through the trees back to the car. Another great day.

Our plan for the final day was to drive to Montrose Basin via the RSPB Reserve at Loch Kinnordy. However the weather forecast for later in the day was looking bad so we decided in the end only to go as far as Kinnordy so that we were certain of getting back over Glenshee before the snow came.

Loch Kinnordy was great, giving us our best Red Squirrel sightings in a log time:

We saw three within a few minutes, in fact they ended up chasing one another around the woods!
So onto birding, I guess the highlight was a Bittern that flew right across the front of the hide. It took us completely by surprise, I tried to get the camera on it but just got a blur, never mind!

Next up were four Whooper Swans that insisted on staying over the far side of the Loch playing hide and seek in the reeds. This is the best shot that I could get:

A group of about 13/14 Snipe gave us some good entertainment as the constantly moved around, of course they never cam very close to the hide:

There were also plenty of Teal
and Wigeon about and some distant Goldeneye. A few female Tufted Duck came for a visit towards the end, looking nice in the sunshine:
So a good day was had, but again being sensible we headed back with plenty of daylight left, this gave us a chance for a slow drive down Glenshee back to Braemar as the weather worsened:
Although Red Deer don't seem bothered by horizontal snow!

So now it's time to go home, we awoke to a bit of the white stuff:
and found that the road out of Braemar over Glenshee was closed due to the heavy snow and drifting on the summit. This meant a big detour north towards Aberdeen then across to the coast and down the east coast through Dundee adding a good hour onto our journey. Never mind it was all worth it.

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