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Leighton Moss RSPB
1st June 2018

We started our journey to Scotland on Friday, with a visit to Leighton Moss RSPB. Unfortunately, due to heavy traffic on the M6, we didn't have very long at the reserve. We popped down to Lillian's Hide to see what was about.
A couple of Marsh Harriers were flying at the back, Great Crested Grebe, Grey Heron, Tufted Ducks, Coots & a Lesser Black-backed Gull.
We had a cup of tea by the visitor centre, before we headed up to our B&B at Gretna Green.

Grey Heron

Grey Heron

Goosander [Female]

North Berwick,Bass Rock & Loch of the Lowes
2nd June 2018

We headed to North Berwick to catch the 3 o’clock boat around Craigleith & Bass Rock. At Craigleith we saw Kittiwakes, Puffins, Razorbills, Common Guillemots & Shags. Last time, when me & Mum went, we were blown away by the sheer number of Gannets & other seabirds. This time we had 2 special creatures, a Grey Seal pup [unusual for this time of year] & a Purple Sandpiper in full Summer Plumage.

Bass Rock is home to over 100,000 Gannets & their numbers are increasing, but it's also home to Kittiwakes. After cruising around the rock & having excellent bird's eye view of Gannets on the nest, we headed back to North Berwick. We had supper in North Berwick, before continuing our journey north.

We popped in to Loch of the Lowes near Dunkeld to have a quick look around. Me & Mum headed down to the hide, where the Ospreys were nesting on the other side of the loch. We also saw some Fallow Deer from the hide. The Male Osprey brought in a fish to the nest & the Female was breaking pieces to feed to the chicks. We also had a quick on the feeders and saw a Male Great Spotted Woodpecker feeding on peanuts. Down by the hide, was very special Duck in the form of a Male Mandarin Duck. This was probably our first sighting of Mandarin Ducks in Scotland! WOW! On leaving Loch of Lowes, we saw a few more Fallow Deer in a field. We then headed towards Nethy Bridge. When we arrived at Nethy Bridge, we saw a Pine Marten in the garden feeding on peanuts. No pics yet, but hopefully in the next few days.

Atlantic Puffin [Summer]

Razorbill & Common Guillemots

Purple Sandpiper [Summer]

Atlantic Puffin [Summer]

Shag [Adult]

Common Guillemot [Summer]

Grey Seal [Juvenile]

Osprey [Pair]

Mandarin [Male]

Fallow Deer [Females]

Loch Garten RSPB & Cairngorm 3rd June 2018

I woke up this morning at 3:51AM & saw a Hedgehog foraging around the garden. The birds started feeding  on & around the feeders. There were Siskin, Blackbird, Robin, Goldfinch & Chaffinch. We popped along to Loch Garten RSPB to see how EJ was getting on. The sad news was, the eggs are not going to hatch, due to the Male not feeding her and EJ had to catch her own fish. I managed to see a lovely Bank Vole from the visitor centre. A few Siskins were around the feeders. We then headed up to Cairngorm, to look for some Ring Ouzels. The Male & Female were foraging for insects by the car park.

After shopping in Aviemore, we went to Milton Loch to see the Grey Herons at their Heronry. We also saw Caledonian no 828 passing through en route to Broomhill AKA Glenbogle, which it was from the TV series "Monarch of Glen". Afterwards we went to look for Red Grouse. We popped to Broomhill Station to see no 828 setting off with the returning service to Aviemore.

We went over some moorland, where we saw Common Gulls, Red Grouse & a Skua. This was no ordinary Skua, this was our first ever Long-tailed Skua! Normally seen on passage, but inland sightings are very rare.  

Ring Ouzel [Female]

Grey Heron [Adult]

Siskin [Male]

Siskin [Juvenile]

Meadow Pipit [Adult]

Ring Ouzel [Male]

Common Gull [Adult Summer]

Skylark [Adult]

828 at Broomhill, Strathspey Railway

Red Grouse [Female]

Red Grouse [Juvenile]

Long-tailed Skua [Adult]

Chanonry Point
4th June 2018

We had to go to Inverness this morning for Mum to buy a new camcorder, as she dropped hers last night and broke it. Luckily, she was able to get one exactly the same. In the afternoon we went to Chanonry Point as it was near Inverness to have a look for Bottlenose Dolphins. We saw a least a dozen of them swimming offshore, sadly we didn't see them jumping out of the water. We also saw a few Common Terns flying past the point. On the way back to Nethy Bridge, we saw a pair Red-legged Partridges & a Brown Hare in the field.

Bottlenose Dolphins

Herring Gull [Adult Summer]

Red-legged Partridge [Adult]

Brown Hare [Adult]

Scotland 5th June 2018

We were a bit late getting out today because the Pine Marten was feeding in the garden and we didn’t want to disturb it.
After taking some pictures of it, we headed towards Strathconon, to see what it was like. We saw a few Red Deer in the valley & on the hillside. There was a Tree Pipit doing a songflight. Like in the Findhorn Valley, there were also some Feral Goats. A few Butterflies were seen as well, including Small Pearl-boarded Fritillaries.

Pine Marten [Adult]

In the afternoon, we went to Tollie RSPB near Dingwall to see the Red Kites being fed. As well as Red Kites coming down for food, it also attracts the local Common Gulls. Around the feeders were Great Spotted Woodpecker & a family of Yellowhammers.

In the afternoon, we popped to Loch Ruthven RSPB for the Slavonian Grebes, but sadly didn't see any. We had at least one Northern Damselfly on the beach. We went back over the Farr Road at Strathdearn & saw at least 5-6 Mountain Hares from the roadside. A few Red Grouse were also seen on the moor and a Meadow Pipit perched on the post. Near Nethy Bridge, a Roe Deer doe was feeding in the field.

Small Pearl-boarded Fritillary

Red Deer [Male]

Tree Pipit [Adult]

Red Deer [Female]

Red Kite

Yellowhammer [Juvenile]

Red Kites

Yellowhammer [Male]

Red Kite

Mountain Hare [Summer]

Mountain Hare [Summer]

Mountain Hare [Summer]

Red Grouse [Female]

Red Grouse [Male]

Meadow Pipit [Adult]

Scotland 6th June 2018

The following morning at Nethy Bridge, we saw a Male Bullfinch & Great Spotted Woodpecker on the feeders. Other birds of note, were Skins, Chaffinches Blackbird & Greenfinch. Me & Dad had a quick look at the ponds in Abernethy & a few White-faced Darters were on the wing, along with Four-spotted Chasers.

We went for a cup of tea at Loch Garten RSPB, before walking around Loch Mallichie. We had a good walk there & saw Common Redstart, Damselflies, Osprey, Stoneflies, Crossbills, Spotted Flycatcher & the star bird, Crested Tit. Me & Dad checked the other pond in Abernethy, this time for Northern Damselflies.

There was quite a lot of these Damselflies with Four-spotted Chasers. Near Tulloch were a small group of Lesser Butterfly Orchids. We eventually managed to see both Red-throated Diver & Slavonian Grebe on a private lochan from the roadside.

White-faced Darter [Male]

White-faced Darter [Male]

Four-spotted Chaser

Common Redstart [Male]

Tree Pipit [Adult]

Osprey [Adult]

Common Crossbill [Male]

Common Crossbill [Male]

Parrot Crossbill [Female]

Parrot Crossbill [Juvenile]

Spotted Flycatcher [Adult]

Crested Tit [Adult]

Lesser Butterfly Orchid

Northern Damselfly [Male]

Loch Mallichie

Red-throated Diver [Summer]

Slavonian Grebe [Summer]

Ythan Estuary, Newburgh

Ythan Estaury & Loch of Strathbeg RSPB
7th June 2018

We went to the Ythan Estuary near Newburgh to see the Elvis the King Eider. When we first got there, he was resting on the bank with the other Eiders.

Unlike last time, he swam on the water quite often during our vist. There were Common & Sandwich Terns fishing quite regularly and a huge gathering of Common & Grey Seals on the bank. After about 3 hours the King Eider swam over to our side of the bank and got quite close. He kept getting chased by a Herring Gull and Common Eiders. After a while, Elvis seemed relaxed swimming along the bank. He then flew further down the estuary & out of sight, but not before giving us stunning close-up views.


Common & King Eider [Males]

In the afternoon, we headed to the RSPB Reserve at Loch of Strathbeg. From the Visitor Centre, we saw loads of Common Terns & Black-headed Gulls nesting on the island. There was even some Koniks maintaining the reserve.

A few Tree Sparrows were present near the car park, but all the feeders were empty. Barn Swallows flew over the car park & were nesting in the barn. Other birds seen included Meadow Pipit & Whooper Swans. Sadly no Bearded Tits, only heard briefly.

Common Tern [Summer]

Sandwich Tern [Summer]

Grey Seal

King Eider [Male]

Konik Foals

Barn Swallow [Juvenile]

Meadow Pipit [Adult]

Common Tern [Flock]

Grey Seals

Nethy Bridge & Strathdearn 8th June 2018

In the morning we were greeted by the local Red Squirrel in the garden.

After breakfast, we headed to Strathdearn to explore the Findhorn Valley. We saw a few herds of Red Deer on the hillside. A Brown Hare was first seen on the road, before running up the hill. A Female Northern Wheatear was also present. A pair of Grey Wagtails were nesting in the Findhorn Valley.

We went back over Lochindorb and encountered 2 Female Red Grouse escorting families of Chicks across the road. A couple of Meadow Pipits were by the lochside with a Male Reed Bunting.

We went to a private lochan to look for the Slavonian Grebe, but no joy this time, but we did see a delightful family of Goldeneye.

Red Squirrel [Adult]

Red Deer [Young Males]

Brown Hare [Adult]

Northern Wheatear [Female]

Reed Bunting [Male]

Red Grouse [Female[

Grey Wagtail [Male]

Red Grouse [Female]

Goldeneye [Female & Ducklings]

Nethy Bridge 9th June 2018

This morning as we were packing the car up, the Pine Marten made a return visit to the garden. It was good to see him in the daylight again.

A brief stop at Loch Garten RSPB, for a last look around. A Coal Tit, Four-spotted Chaser & Great Spotted Woodpecker were of note.

We had a lunch stop at Loch of the Lowes, before heading further south. Another stop, was made at Loch Leven RSPB. We then continued down to the B&B in Dumfries & Galloway.

Pine Marten [Adult]

Four-spotted Chaser

Great Spotted Woodpecker [Male]

Dumfries & Galloway 10th June 2018

We had a day to explore as much of Dumfries & Galloway as we could. We started with a visit to Ken-Dee Marshes RSPB for Willow Tits. The birds seen were Black-headed Gulls, Oystercatcher, Red Kites, Great Spotted Woodpecker & a probable Willow Tit. A Bank Vole was even seen from one of the hides. A Golden-ringed Dragonfly was on the wing.

In the afternoon, we went to a Kite feeding station. At first, the Red Kites soared overhead, then after the food was thrown down on the ground, they swooped down to grab it. Same thing happened, when some of the food was put on a table. A few Kites perched there & on the ground. Also in the area were a couple of Helmeted Guinea Fowl.

Later, we headed to Cairnsmore of Fleet near a superb old railway viaduct.
We saw Stonechats, Song Thrush, Barn Swallow & Northern Wheatear.

We headed back the B&B via the Forest Drive. A Golden-ringed Dragonfly perched on a stick right by the road. A Grey Wagtail was foraging along the stream and a few Pond Skaters were on one of the ponds.

Red Kites

Red Kites

Golden-ringed Dragonfly

Stonechat [Juvenile]

Grey Wagtail [Male]

Northern Wheatear [Male]

Golden-ringed Dragonfly

Leighton Moss RSPB 11th June 2018

On our way home we popped into Leighton Moss RSPB & to Lillian's Hide to look for the Bittern. There was no Bittern seen during our visit, but quite a lot of Black-tailed Skimmers were basking on the wall of the hide. Also a lot of Damselflies as well, mainly Common Blue. Afterwards we made our way back south.

Black-tailed Skimmer [Male]

Common Blue Damselfly [Male]

Somerset Levels 20th May 2018

We went to Ham Wall RSPB on the Somerset Levels to meet up with the Bristol Ornithological Club. We headed down towards the Avalon Hide. We saw Four-spotted Chasers, Nursery Web Spider & Cetti's Warbler along the way. Variable Damselflies were seen on the reserve. A Common Pochard flew over the 1st viewing platform and Goldfinches fed on thistle seeds. From the Avalon Hide were Great Crested Grebes, Bittern, Drinker Moth Caterpillar, Great White Egret & Marsh Harriers. Afterwards we made our way to the Tor View Hide & on the way, a Grey Heron flew over. From the Tor View Hide, a Reed Warbler was singing & showing well. A Juvenile Moorhen was being fed by an Adult in the reeds. Also more Four-spotted Chasers & an Azure Damselfly. Back in the car park, a Female Common Blue perched briefly. In the afternoon, we explored Shapwick Heath Nature Reserve. A couple more Damselflies, included Banded Demoiselle & Red-eyed Damselflies. Also a couple of Beetles were crossing the path & were identified as [Donacia vulgaris] a type of Longhorn Beetle. Loads more Variable Damselflies were seen on the Shapwick side of the Levels. As their name suggests, they are extremely variable colouration. Also a few Large Red Damselflies were on the wing. A couple of Great White Egrets flew past. On our way back to the car park, we saw a Mute Swan Family, Peacock Butterfly & a brief view of Male Marsh Harrier. The best & last sighting of the day was a Glow Worm Larvae. Despite it's name, it's a member of the Beetle Family. During the evening, the Female uses a green light to attract a Male, which can fly.


Four-spotted Chaser

Four-spotted Chaser

Nursery Web Spider

Cetti’s Warbler

Common Pochard [Male]

Great Crested Grebe [Summer]

Red-eyed Damselfly [Male]

Variable Damselfly [Male]

Large Red Damselfly

Variable Damselfly [Female]

Donacia vulgaris

Banded Demoiselle [Male]

Goldfinch [Adult]

Drinker Moth [Caterpillar]

Goldfinch [Adult]

Great White Egret [Summer]

Great White Egret [Summer]

Great White Egret [Summer]

Shag

Lesser Butterfly Orchid

Glow worm larvae

©  Christopher Teague 2018