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Wildlife in and around the city of Bristol

www.landcaretrees.co.uk

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Bristol and Avon Bird

Sightings

Scotland Cairngorms May 2016

We popped into Leighton Moss RSPB on our way up to Nethy Bridge. We took a look at the new tower hide, but sadly there were no birds in front. There was a Little Egret fishing and flying past, also 7 Ruff in full breeding plumage. A couple of Grey Herons were fishing nearby as well. Several Red Deer were seen at the back of the reserve. A few Swifts were flying around after insects. The Grizedale & Tim Jackson Hides were very quiet for birdlife but saw some Red Deer hoof prints. At the log feeder we saw a Female Great Spotted Woodpecker. Back at Lillian’s Pool the Ruff came sightly closer to the hide, but still a little bit distant. A Male Marsh Harrier flew behind the pool. At the main feeders near the car park a Male & Female Bullfinch showed well from the hide. We popped over to the other hides. The Eric Morecambe Hide had a Little Egret, Grey Heron, 2 Pintail & loads of Black-headed Gulls but no Avocets. We went for a walk down to Lower Hide but weren’t very much there. Plenty of Willow Warblers & Wrens singing about the reserve. Also a Male Pheasant displaying on the path, while the Female was resting in the bushes. The final hide we popped into was the Causeway Hide where some more Black- headed Gulls were nesting. A Male Marsh Harrier flew past close to the hide and a brilliant way to the end the day. Then we made our to the George Washington pub near Carnforth for the night.

We started our journey into Scotland with a brief visit to Walton Crag to see a pair of Ravens & the local Peregrine Falcon.

We also popped into Loch of the Lowes to see our first Ospreys of the year. The Male spent a couple of minutes incubating before the Female took over. A Great Crested Grebe was swimming right in front of the hide. The feeders were busy with Yellowhammers, Siskins, Chaffinches, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Greenfinch, Pheasants & a couple of Mallards. Sadly no Red Squirrels around during our visit.

We then continued our journey up to the chalet at Nethy Bridge.

We started our tour of the Highlands at the Loch Garten RSPB and EJ the Female Osprey was also incubating on the nest, while Odin the Male was perched in the tree around the back. The feeders provided the usual birds such as Chaffinches, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Robin & also Bank Voles. Down by the loch itself was a Common Sandpiper briefly.

At Broomhill a pair of Goldeneye were seen on the River Spey before they took off and flew downstream.

Our usual visit to Lochindorb is one of the best places in the Highlands for seeing Red Grouse. Common Gulls also breed here in good numbers. The Loch itself is also good for Black-throated Divers which breeds here. We saw two birds at both ends of the loch but they seemed to be getting disturbed by some people in canoes. The loch is also good for Waders like the Common Redshank we saw. 2 Ospreys flew over, one with a fish.


As it was going to be very sunny day we went on a long drive to Scourie to catch the the boat over to Handa Island. In the bay we saw a Common Sandpiper perched on the rock. After the crossing over we were met by the people of the Scottish Wildlife Trust. We saw a few Arctic Skuas of both Pale & Dark Morph birds. The Arctic Skuas arrived back from their Wintering ground a week or so before we visited. Handa has more Great Skuas or Bonxies than Arctic Skuas which were flying over or sitting either side of the reserve path. At one of the few lochs on the island were some Skuas bathing. Two Dark Morph Arctic Skuas were sitting nearby though still too early to nest. From the sea cliffs, there were of course a couple of Great Skuas, Fulmars, Kittiwakes, Guillemots, Razorbills, Puffins, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Great Black-backed Gull & Herring Gull. On the circular path around was a very obliging Skylark. A Raven was also robbing the nest of one of the seabirds. We kept seeing it fly past with an egg in its beak. A Male Wheatear was foraging around the cliff tops. A Hooded Crow also made a brief appearance in flight. A very unexpected bonus was a Male Snow Bunting in full breeding plumage! Although a few pairs breed in mainland Scotland & Iceland this was a really excellent bird to see. As well as the seabirds on the island there was also a Rock Pipit. A Female Wheatear was perched on a dry stone wall. While we were waiting for the boat back to the mainland we saw another Rock Pipit & 2 Ringed Plover on the beach. Back on the mainland we saw 2 Red-breasted Merganser, 2 Cuckoo flying in the distant & a herd of Red Deer whilst en route back to Nethy Bridge. It had been a really hot day and it was lovely to see the Skuas so close. I think we went the right time too as they weren’t nesting yet. If we had gone in a couple of weeks time we would have all needed to wear hats!!

We went to look for Black Grouse near Nethy Bridge but didn’t see any but saw a few Roe Deer & a Willow Warbler singing on the wire. A Brown Hare was seen on a roadside bank also near Nethy Bridge.


We went to Strathdearn in the Findhorn Valley and our first sighting was an Osprey briefly. The usual Feral Goats are always present in the valley. We didn’t see any Eagles but saw a pair of Common Redstarts and a Spotted Flycatcher. A few Mistle Thrush were also seen in the Findhorn. More Red Grouse were seen along the Farr Road and some Males were displaying and fighting.


We popped into Loch Ruthven RSPB and a Female Stonechat was perched on the fence post. The star bird here that we came to see was the Slavonian Grebe and although the view was distant it is still cracking bird to see.


In the evening we had a bag of chips down by the Spey near Grantown. A pair of Goldeneye were swimming a few yards further from where we were parked. Suddenly the pair took off and flew down river. Back near Nethy Bridge we didn’t have any luck with Black Grouse in the evening, but saw Red- legged Partridge & a couple of Roe Deer by the roadside on the way back to chalet.


We went to Chanory Point near Inverness to see the Bottlenose Dolphins at high tide. In the car park we saw House Sparrows & a Male Linnet. We did see some Dolphins during the high tide but sadly not any breaching out of the water, just the usual diving. A few Common Terns flew past the point. We stayed most of the time at the point just in case of a breaching Dolphin but sadly, nothing. It was surprisingly cold there after the previous days heat. Later in the day we made the long journey to Portsoy where a White-billed Diver had been present but not when we were there. We only saw Eiders and Fulmars on the sea, which were a bit distant to photograph. It was a short detour to Bow Fiddle Rock which is home to loads of Kittiwakes. There were also Shags, Herring & Lesser Black-backed Gulls resting on other rocks.


We started with a quick visit to Loch Insh to see the Ospreys. The Adults were mostly on the nest and perched in the tree. There was also a bit of flying around the loch. Down by the church we saw a family of Song Thrushes. Next we moved on to Lochindorb to see the Red Grouse again by the roadside. After we parked the car by the loch, me & Dad walked up the hill to look for Mountain Hares. We managed to find one sitting by a boulder briefly before running over the top. When we were walking back down to the car we saw two more Hares running away. A Oystercatcher was foraging beside the loch. We popped to Loch Morlich to look for Red-throated Divers but none this year. We saw 3 Goosanders and Spotted Flyctachers near the car park. We popped to Loch Garten RSPB to look for Crested Tits by the car park. The Adult was seen briefly before being chased off by a Blue Tit. In the evening Stewart showed us a rare Stump Lichen he had found in Abernethy Forest. You can read more about this Lichen on Stewart’s blog:- www.firwoodcottage.blogspot.co.uk

Loch Garten RSPB 14th May 2016



We went back to Loch Garten RSPB for our last chance of sighting a Crested Tit. It again made a very brief appearance around the feeders near the car park. Afterwards we continued our journey to Anstruther in the county of Fife.

Scotland May 2016 - week 1

Leighton Moss RSPB 6th May 2016

Great Spotted Woodpecker [Female]

Little Egret [Summer]

Bullfinch [Male]

Pheasant [Male]

Eric Morecambe Hide

Black-headed Gull [Summer]

Marsh Harrier [Male]

Loch of the Lowes 7th May

Osprey [Pair]

Peregrine Falcon

Great Crested Grebe [Summer]

Yellowhammer [Pair]

Loch Garten and Lochindorb 8th May

Red Grouse [Male]

Siskin [Male]

Siskin [Female]

Common Sandpiper

Bank Vole

Common Gull [Summer]

Red Grouse [Male]

Red Grouse [Male]

Black-throated Diver [Summer]

Red Grouse [Female]

Osprey

Arctic Skua [Dark Morph]

Arctic Skua [Pale Morphs]

Great Skua [Adult]

Great Skua [Adult]

Great Skua [Adult]

Great Skua [Adult]

Great Skua [Adult]

Skylark

Snow Bunting [Male]

Common Guillemot [Summer]

Raven

Rock Pipit

Red Grouse [Male]

Stonechat [Female]

Red Deer [Female]

Dotterel [Female]

Spotted Flycatcher [Adult]

Reindeer

Our final visit of the day was Cairngorm and some local Reindeer were on the ridge of the mountain.

Red Grouse [Female]

Handa 9th May

Common Sandpiper

Arctic Skua [Dark Morphs]

Handa Island

Arctic Skua [Pale & Dark Morph]

Arctic Skua [Dark Morphs]

Great Skua [Adult]

Great Skua [Adult]

Great Skua [Flock]

Skylark

Kylesku

Red Deer [Herd]

Strathdearn & Loch Ruthven RSPB 10th May

Willow Warbler

Brown Hare

Feral Goat

Red Grouse [Male]

Red Grouse [Male]

Slavonian Grebe [Summer]

Red Grouse [Male]

Goldeneye [Male]

Chanory Point 11th May

Bottlenose Dolphin

Bottlenose Dolphin

Bottlenose Dolphin

Bottlenose Dolphins

Common Tern [Summer]

Bow Fiddle Rock

Cairngorm 12th May

Ring Ouzel [Male]

Ring Ouzel [Male]

Ptarmigan [Male]

Mum & Dad were exploring the woods of Rynettin while we were on the mountain watching 5 Dotterel. In this species it’s the Males that do the incubating. The Females do all the displaying to attract the Males. After a while the Dotterels seemed very relaxed in our presence and were preening their feathers. Suddenly they all flew to the higher plateau and couldn’t be located, so we made our way back down the mountain.

Ptarmigan [Male]

Ptarmigan [Female]

Well, this was a big day for me because I was hoping at last to see some Dotterel on Cairngorm and the person who took me up to see it was a man called Andy Howard, a professional wildlife photographer. Before we made a trek up the mountain, I was watching a pair of Ring Ouzels near the car park. After we began to ascend up the mountain we spotted a pair of Ptarmigan, this was the first time that I’ve seen Ptarmigan in the heather during the Spring. Normally in the Winter, Ptarmigan forage around the lower parts of the mountain. Further up the mountain was a pair of Red Grouse, the Male was hiding in the heather most of the time.

Red Grouse [Female]

Red Grouse [Male]

Dotterel [Male]

Dotterel [Male]

Dotterel [Female]

Dotterel [Female]

Dotterel [Female]

Dotterel [Female]

After joining Mum & Dad, we popped to Loch Garten RSPB to look for Crested Tit but sadly no sign. We did see Chaffinches, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Female Great Spotted Woodpecker & Treecreeper near the car park.


Many thanks to Andy for taking me. Seeing the Dotterel was the highlight of my holiday.

You can see Andy’s website at www.andyhoward.co.uk

Loch Insh, Loch Morlich, Lochindorb & Loch Garten
13th May

Osprey

Mountain Hare [Summer]

Oystercatcher [Summer]

Goosander [Female]

Goosander [Male]

Goosander [Female]

Spotted Flycatcher [Adult]

Treecreeper

Treecreeper

Stump Lichen

Crested Tit

Northern Wheatear [Female]

During our week we also managed to see White-tailed Eagle, Golden Eagle, Hen Harrier and Goshawk.