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Wildlife in and around the city of Bristol

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Bristol and Avon Bird

Sightings

Wildlife in the Forest of Dean

Bob Bushell’s Wildlife
Photography

Scotland with the BOC 4th-11th May 2019

We headed to Scotland on Friday evening on the National Express Coach overnight up as far as Glasgow.

04/05/19 Journey to Fort William & Fassfern

In the morning, we arrived at Glasgow Bus Station. We changed over to the local City Link Coach for the journey to Fort William. We got in to Fort William abouth mid-morning and meet up with the Bristol Ornithological Club. Before we went to Glenloy Lodge, we had time to spare to look around the nearby Fassfern Estate. We saw some Green-veined Whites, Orange Tips, Speckled Wood, Common Crossbills, Goldcrests, Willow Warblers, Lesser Redpolls, Siskins & a Garden Warbler around the woods. When we arrived at Glenloy Lodge, we saw the Pine Marten feeding in front of the house. Jon put some more food out for it. We managed to have a much longer view of the Pine Marten on our first evening. This was a Female, who had a Tick above her face. She seemed very relaxed near the lodge & even sat on Jon's car at times. We also saw a second Pine Marten during the evening, this time a Young Male. He is slightly darker than the Adult Female. Before it got too dark, we saw a Red Squirrel feeding on the feeder.

Willow Warbler [Adult]

Green-veined White

Orange Tip [Male]

Bumblebee

Siskin [Male]

Red Squirrel [Adult]

Pine Marten [Female]

Pine Marten [Female]

Pine Martens [Female & Juvenile Male]

05/05/19 Ardgour, Kinglairloch & Glen Glamadale

On our first full day in Scotland, we caught the Corran ferry over to Ardgour. We saw a few Black Guillemots that nest in the terminal. We also saw 2 distant White-tailed Eagles. A Rock Pipit was foraging in the seaweed for invertebrates. We stopped in a layby by Loch Sunart and saw both Red-throated & Great Northern Divers, also Grey Seals. We headed towards Kinglairloch. We saw a Female Northern Wheatear, Wild Goats & a pair of Stonechats. We for a walk through Glen Galmadale. A few Meadow Pipits, Willow Warblers & a Male Reed Bunting. A few plants were in full flower such as Lousewort & Heath Mlikwort. We also saw came across the Larvae of the Northern Eggar Moth. I spotted a Juvenile Song Thrush by the small stream. A couple of Lesser Redpolls landed on top of the trees briefly. When got back to the car park, we saw a herd of Red Deer in the field. A couple walked down the road, before crossing the road to go into another field. We went back through Morven Peninsular & saw more Red Deer. We caught the ferry back over to Fort William & made our way back to Glenloy Lodge for ou evening meal and more Pine Marten action.

Black Guillemot [Summer]

Black Guillemot [Summer]

Rock Pipit [Summer]

Northern Wheatear [Female]

Great Northern Diver [Summer]

Otter Sprint

Northern Eggar Moth [Larvae]

Red Deer [Male]

Red Deer [Male]

Red Deer [Herd]

06/05/19 Arisaig & Muck

We headed to Arisaig, to catch a boat to the Isle of Muck. On route, we passed a loch & saw a pair of Black-throated Divers by the roadside. After getting on the boat to Muck, we saw a Common Buzzard soaring overhead and also a distant White-tailed Eagle over the mountains. A Great Northern Diver was also seen, but no picture this time. We saw loads of Common Seals. We had a quick stop at Eigg, which was long enough to walk along the pier & back. There were a couple of Common Gulls sitting on the beach and some Eider Ducks on the rocks. We made our way to Muck and had time to explore around. A Robin was foraging by the cafe. A Juvenile Song Thrush was sheltering from the sun calling to its parents and a pair of Northern Wheatears were feeding in the field. One Corncrake was heard calling from the field by some of our group but sadly I didn't hear it because of the wind. A couple of Common Pheasants were seen. These were introduced to the island in very small numbers. I spotted a Male Hen Harrier flying overhead & away from us, too quick for a picture but lovely to see. Skylarks performed their songflight and we saw more Common Gulls & Common Terns. A White-tailed Eagle flew in front of the Isle of Rum. There does seem to be quite a lot about now.  A few Meadow Pipits were present on the island. We heard a Common Snipe calling in the field, but had trouble seeing one. Eventually one flew around & landed back in the field. We got back on the boat back to Arisaig. We stopped at Eigg briefly on the way back. We saw a few Common Eiders in the harbour. We saw a small flock of Kittiwakes fly in front of the boat. After arriving back in Arisaig, we started to make our journey back to Glenloy Lodge. We saw the Black-throated Diver pair, which were still present on the loch by the roadside. There was not many seabirds about, which was surprising, but we had a lovely day and saw some great birds.

Isle of Eigg

Common Buzzard [Adult]

Common Seal

Common Seal

Common Gull [Summer Pair]

Song Thrush [Juvenile]

Common Eider [Male]

Northern Wheatear [Male]

Isle of Rum

08/05/19 Loch Sheil Boat Trip & Ariundle Woods NNR

We went to Glenfinnan to take a boat along Loch Shiel. The birds of note were Juvenile Great Cormorant, Common Gulls, Golden Eagles, Red-breasted Mergansers, Osprey & White-tailed Eagle on nest. Jon and Angela picked us up at Acharacle. A Common Gull was nesting in a small boat. We went to Garbh Eilean hide to have lunch. We saw Grey Heron, Grey Seals and Cormorants. In the afternoon, we explored around the woods of Ariundle National Nature Reserve. Plenty of Green-veined Whites & Orange Tips on the wing along with a few Bee-flies. Jon showed us a pine cone that had plucked by Common Crossbills. Lots of Wood Anemones and Bluebells were in flower & a couple of Bugles. We manged to see the Wood Warbler singing on the tree branch. The other day we heard one singing near Kinglairloch, but we didn't see it. A Tree Pipit was showing & singing well from the top of a tree. A Palmate Newt was found on the path and Jon moved it to safety after we got a few photos of it. We stopped briefly at Strontian to look for the long staying Male Black Duck by the 2nd bridge, but no sign of it. Afterwards, we headed off to catch the Corran ferry back to Fort William & Glenloy Lodge.   


White-tailed Eagle [Adult]

Osprey [Adult]

Common Seals

Cuckoo-bee

Wood Warbler [Male]

Palmate Newt

Red-breasted Merganser [Pair]

Memorial Island

07/05/19 Glenloy & Glenroy Valleys

Before heading off to exlore the valley, we had look in the Moth Trap. There were Powder Quakers, Common Quaker, Clouded Drab, The Engrailed & Hebrew Characters.

We explored around the valley close to our base in Glenloy during the morning. I spotted a Juvenile Mistle Thrush perched in the tree. At the end of the road Jon parked up and we continued down the track on foot, passing a group of Highland Cattle grazing on the moor. We saw a couple of Male Whinchats and heard a Grasshopper Warbler reeling, but could not locate it.There were a few more Northern Eggar Moth Larvaes on the path. Some of the flowers we saw were a Pale Butterwort & Round-leaved Sundew. A Green Hairstreak was resting on the path & eventually was moved safely to the side. We saw another distant White-tailed Eagle perched & flying over the mountain. On the way back we saw Siskin & Tree Pipit in the conifers. A few Common Crossbills were perched on top, but were not feeding on the pine cones. A few Heath Moths were about an we saw one resting on the path. In the afternoon, we explored the valley at Glenroy. On the way we saw 2 Male Black Grouse feeding on the ground. At the viewpoint for the famous parallel roads we saw a few Sika Deer down in the valley far below. Driving down the road we spotted a couple of Goosanders swimming along the river. We had another walk through the valley & we saw a Male Black Grouse perched up in the tree. Further along a Male Ring Ouzel perched and called briefly before flying off. A pair of Northern Wheatear were feeding nearby. The spectacular bird of the day was a Male Hen Harrier. He was constantly being mobbed by Hooded Crows, so didn’t hang about very long. Back near the car park, we saw another Black Grouse. This time it was a Female also known as a Greyhen. She was perched in the tree near to where the Male had been perched.

Highland Cow

Mistle Thrush [Juvenile]

Northern Eggar Moth [Larvae]

Green Hairstreak

Tree Pipit [Adult]

Common Crossbill [Male]

Goosander [Male]

Black Grouse [Male]

Ring Ouzel [Male]

Northern Wheatear [Female]

Male Hen Harrier & Hooded Crow

10/05/19 Loch Ness and Loch Ruthven RSPB

In the morning we were greeted by a Red Squirrel on the feeders. We drove along the south side of Loch Ness and on the way passed a Loch that had Black-throated Divers. We stopped at Cumin’s seat to look for raptors and saw a Red Grouse in the heather before heading to Glen Killin for a walk by the loch. We stopped at Inverfarigaig for lunch. I spotted what I thought was a Squirrel Drey. It was actually Witch's Beard, which is a nest belonging to a Gall Wasp. In the afternoon we stopped at Loch Duntelchaig, where we saw another pair of Black-throated Divers. While we were watching these, an Osprey flew over us carrying a fish. A Tree Pipit landed a couple of metres away from us in the front of the minibus giving us good views. We got to the Loch Ruthven Reserve and the weather started to get a bit rainy, so we went to the hide. All we saw from the hide was 2 pair of Little Grebes. We managed to see a pair of Slavonian Grebes from the beach. We headed back to Glenloy Lodge as the weather closed in.

Red Squirrel [Adult]

Greylag Goose dropping

Witch’s Beard [Gall Wasp nest]

Slavonian Grebe [Summer]

Black-throated Diver [Summer Pair]

Tree Pipit [Adult]

Loch Killin

09/05/19 Chai-aig Falls & Loch Arkaig

A very early morning visit to a Black Grouse lek. This time of year, the Females are already nesting and are not at the lek site. The Males still like to display though and it was certainly worth getting up early for. We also had a bit time of looking for Otters. We saw 2 biefly, before they swam up river. We went for a walk along the river listening to the dawn chorus. There was Blackcap, Common Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Grasshopper Warbler, Willow Warbler & Chiffchaff. We also saw Robin, Pied Wagtail, Common Sandpiper & Hooded Crow. After breakfast, we headed to Loch Arkaig. We saw a Juvenile Whooper Swan, which had been present for a few weeks and then stopped to look at Chia-aig Falls. A few Orange Tips were flying up & down along the road. Jon managed to find the eggs on the stem of a Cuckooflower, which is the Larvae foodplant. The eggs are very small & orange, so they are difficult to find. We walked down the path at the eastern head of the loch. We saw 2 Grey Wagtails, Common Sandpiper, 2 Goosanders & a Dipper. A Speckled Yellow Moth was hiding in the grass. I managed to photograph a Male Orange Tip nectering on Cuckooflower. From the bridge by the falls, the Dippers were flying back & forth feeding their chicks in a nest underneath the rockface. Occasionally, they posed on the stones near the bridge long enough to be photographed before flying downriver to collect more insects. We could watch those all day, but we had to move on. A pair of Common Sandpipers were on some stones by the roadside. While we were having lunch, Mum spotted a Sexton Beetle. We moved it off the road & put it out of harm's way. Further up the road, a Male Whinchat was perched on a branch & singing. In the valley, we saw loads more Red Deer. We parked at the end of the road and had a walk up Glen Dessary. I spotted a Green Tiger Beetle and an unknown Moth. I showed the photo to Jon & he told me it was a Brown Silver Line, which is a very common species in Britain. There was not many birds in the valley apart from a couple of Tree Pipits, but we saw plenty of Red Deer.

Black Grouse [Male]

Black Grouse [Male]

Common Sandpiper [Adult]

Orange Tip [Male]

Sexton Beetle

Whinchat [Male]

Red Deer [Male]

Loch Arkaig

Glen Dessary

Red Deer [Herd]

Dipper [Adult]

Loch Arkaig

11/05/19 Fort William & Journey to Glasgow

Our final full day in Scotland was spent in Fort William. We said our goodbyes and we all made our seperate ways home. As our coach didn’t leave until this evening, we spent the morning on a boat trip around Loch Linnhe. Apart from Herring & Common Gulls we also saw a Great Northern Diver. The highlight of the morning was the sight of both Grey & Common Seals. After yesterdays rain, the weather was lovely again. In the late afternoon, we walked down to Inverlochy Sidings to see the Jacobite returning from Mallaig. The train was hauled by 45407 Lancashire Fusilier. After arriving at station & the passengers got off, the engine departed on the rear of the train. It then shunted the empty coaching stock into the yard. 37518 was shunting 45212 onto the other line next to the carriages. It was in light steam & was being prepared for the following day's service. 45407 came off the stock & headed on right hand side line in the yard. We headed back to Fort William with plenty of time to catch the City Link Coach back down to Glasgow at 19:00. The journey through Glencoe was beautiful in the evening sunshine and we passed Loch Lomond as the sun was setting. At Glasgow Bus Station, we changed back over to the National Express Coach for the overnight journey to Bristol.

Nevis Range

Herring Gull [1st Summer]

Common Seal [Adult]

Grey Seal [Adult]

Common Seal [Adult]

Common Seal [Adult]

Common Seal [Adult]

45407 The Lancashire Fusilier shunting at Iverlochy Sidings

Ben Nevis from the Loch Linnihe boat

12/05/19 Heading to Bristol

We got back to Bristol Bus station, where Dad picked us. The coach continued it's journey back down the M5 to destination of Plymouth. It had been a fantastic holiday. Huge thanks to Jon & Angela for being excellent hosts & making us feel welcome. Thanks to Alastair for organsing the holiday. Also thanks to Nick, Annie, David, Clive, Kate, Lynda, Jeff & Judy for their company.

Scotland with the BOC