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Friday, August 7, 2015

Cairngorms road trip, Ospreys fishing, Spoonbills and a surprise herd of Reindeer!

Just got back from a jaunt up to the Cairngorms with my good mate Rob. The weather was less than perfect but it was a great road trip. I did all the driving, Rob all the cooking ... I like driving and he's chef, so it was a good deal! 102 bird species, some interesting flora and mammal species, stunning scenery and good music recorded every night bar one.... so without further ado and less than normal prose from myself  here's the pics!

Pick of the crop was a toss up between 3 majestic Ospreys hunting in tandem over Lochindorb in the rain and 2 Spoonbills at low tide on Findhorn Bay

Osprey_lochindorb, 29/07/15

Osprey_lochindorb, 29/07/15

Osprey_lochindorb, 29/07/15
As well as these 3 over Lochindorb (where we also had a single Black Throated Diver), we had 10 other Ospreys .. they're doing well up here and it seemed to us as if there was at least 1 on nearly every loch!

Spoonbill_Findhorn Bay, 28/07/15

Spoonbills_Findhorn Bay, 28/07/15

Spoonbills_Findhorn Bay, 28/07/15
Hooded Crow_Findhorn Bay, 28/07/15
Grey Heron_Loch Leven, 26/07/15

Orchid species_ Loch Moraigh, 26/07/15

I reckon we were up there at the peak season for wild flowers and a wide variety were in full bloom, not all identified as yet including these orchids .....

Amphibious Bistort_Loch Leven, 26/07/15

Wild Pansy_Loch Moraigh, 26/07/15

Spotted Flycatcher_Cheviots, 25/07/15

Precious few opportunities to photograph smaller birds and I failed woefully to get any decent pics of Crested Tits when about 25 or so suddenly turned up in a tit flock at Abernethy Forest (all too close, fast moving and then they were gone!). The flock also included about 30 Willow Warblers, 10ish Tree Pipits, 3 Treecreepers and 20 Spotted Flycatchers which were pleasingly plentiful throughout the trip .... this one was actually taken on the way up in the Cheviot Hills but it was the best pic!

A few landscapes from the trip and a few of the 'lads' ....

Abernethy Forest

Loch Leven


Photographing those Spoonbills at Findhorn Bay


Playing the Insch Marshes

 On the RSBP reserve at Insch Marshes we came across the perfect place for a bit of outside music and recording. On the elevated platform there we could play and watch the wildlife at the same time and when the rain came the we just moved downstairs and it was almost like being in a recording studio!

Got a single female Marsh Harrier here too - good for Scotland.

Recording at the Insch Marshes

Rob_up in the Cairngorms!

Rob_Wild flower spotting hunting, Loch Moraigh
Around Abernethy

Surrounded by Crested Tits in Abernethy Forest

No Red Deer sightings but plenty of Roes around and the most unexpected mammals were these semi wild Reindeer, a herd of 20 or so including a couple of young 'uns, near to the top of Cairngorm

Reindeer, young stag_Cairngorm, 30/07/15
Reindeer foal running with the pack_Cairngorm, 30/07/15

Roe Deer, Loch Leven

Like I said, and as you can probably gather from some the above, there were precious few 'golden hours' for photography and we had to invest a fair amount of time logged on to local weather forecasts in order to dodge the rain clouds, but this is all part of the fun and we did it successfully and didn't lose a single day to rain.

Sometimes you can try and do too much on a road trip .....I can remember driving right around Scotland many years ago in little over a week ... a great experience but too much of it spent behind the wheel. This was just right but even then we only covered half of the potential sites in the Cairngorms .... we missed out on some key species including Crossbill, Dipper, Ptarmigan and Golden Eagle but 102 species ain't bad for July and for the record here's the list -

  1. Red Grouse (Lagopus lagopus scotica)
  2. Red-legged Partridge [sp] (Alectoris rufa)
  3. Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
  4. Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
  5. Canada Goose [sp] (Branta Canadensis)
  6. Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
  7. Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
  8. Gadwall [sp] (Anas strepera)
  9. Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
  10. Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
  11. Common Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
  12. Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
  13. Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
  14. Common Goldeneye [sp] (Bucephala clangula)
  15. Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator)
  16. Black-throated Diver [sp] (Gavia arctica)
  17. Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
  18. Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
  19. Eurasian Spoonbill [sp] (Platalea leucorodia)
  20. Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
  21. Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
  22. Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus)
  23. Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
  24. Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
  25. Peregrine Falcon [sp] (Falco peregrinus)
  26. Osprey [sp] (Pandion haliaetus)
  27. Western Marsh Harrier [sp] (Circus aeruginosus)
  28. Eurasian Sparrowhawk [sp] (Accipiter nisus)
  29. Eurasian Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
  30. Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
  31. Common Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
  32. Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
  33. Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
  34. Grey Plover [sp] (Pluvialis squatarola)
  35. Common Snipe [sp] (Gallinago gallinago)
  36. Whimbrel [sp] (Numenius phaeopus)
  37. European Curlew (Numenius arquata arquata)
  38. Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
  39. Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia)
  40. Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)
  41. Dunlin [sp] (Calidris alpina)
  42. Ruff (Philomachus pugnax)
  43. Common Gull (Larus canus canus)
  44. Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
  45. Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
  46. Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
  47. Common Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus)
  48. Sandwich Tern [sp] (Sterna sandvicensis)
  49. Rock Dove [sp] (Columba livia)
  50. Woodpigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
  51. Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
  52. Common Swift [sp] (Apus apus)
  53. Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major)
  54. Eurasian Jay [sp] (Garrulus glandarius)
  55. Common Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
  56. Eurasian Jackdaw [sp] (Corvus monedula)
  57. Rook [sp] (Corvus frugilegus)
  58. Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
  59. Hooded Crow [sp] (Corvus cornix)
  60. Common Raven [sp] (Corvus corax)
  61. Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
  62. Blue Tit [sp] (Parus caeruleus)
  63. Coal Tit [sp] (Parus ater)
  64. Crested Tit [sp] (Parus cristatus)
  65. Collared Sand Martin [sp] (Riparia riparia)
  66. Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
  67. Northern House Martin [sp] (Delichon urbicum)
  68. Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
  69. Eurasian Skylark [sp] (Alauda arvensis)
  70. Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus)
  71. Willow Warbler [sp] (Phylloscopus trochilus)
  72. Common Chiffchaff [sp] (Phylloscopus collybita)
  73. Wood Warbler (Phylloscopus sibilatrix)
  74. Blackcap [sp] (Sylvia atricapilla)
  75. Common Whitethroat [sp] (Sylvia communis)
  76. Goldcrest [sp] (Regulus regulus)
  77. British Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes indigenus)
  78. Eurasian Treecreeper [sp] (Certhia familiaris)
  79. European Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
  80. Eurasian Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
  81. Song Thrush [sp] (Turdus philomelos)
  82. Mistle Thrush [sp] (Turdus viscivorus)
  83. European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
  84. Common Redstart [sp] (Phoenicurus phoenicurus)
  85. Whinchat (Saxicola rubetra)
  86. Spotted Flycatcher [sp] (Muscicapa striata)
  87. House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
  88. Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
  89. Yellow Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla flava)
  90. Grey Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla cinerea)
  91. Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii)
  92. Meadow Pipit [sp] (Anthus pratensis)
  93. Tree Pipit [sp] (Anthus trivialis)
  94. Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
  95. European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)
  96. Eurasian Siskin (Carduelis spinus)
  97. European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)
  98. Common Redpoll [sp] (Carduelis flammea)
  99. Common Linnet [autochthona] (Carduelis cannabina autochthona)
  100. Eurasian Bullfinch [sp] (Pyrrhula pyrrhula)
  101. Yellowhammer [sp] (Emberiza citrinella)
  102. Reed Bunting [sp] (Emberiza schoeniclus)

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