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Old Monday 19th June 2017, 18:31   #1
Essex Baker Boy
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Mar Lodge - Linn of Dee??

Hi, I will have a day of birding at the end of this month and I'm staying in Perth. I'd like to see some Scottish specialities but I don't really want to drive over to Speyside so I was looking for some ideas a bit closer to Perth.
I anticipate driving up the A93 to try for Ptarmigan around Glenshee but would be keen to see any Crossbills especially Parrot, as well as Black Grouse / Capercaillie / Golden Eagle.
I know I'm not going at the best time, & I know Caper will be nigh on impossible and I'm also conscious of it being the breeding season and therefore don't want to visit any sensitive sites or have information of sensitive sites put on here.
I have been fortunate to see all the species previously in the Highlands so I'm just looking for recommendations where I can go birding with a outside chance of bumping into any or all of the afore-mentioned species.
I understand Mar Lodge could be worth a visit but it's a vast place so any pointers on where to look there would be appreciated.
Thanks in advance - Paul
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Old Monday 19th June 2017, 18:55   #2
delia todd
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Hi Paul

Unless anyone knows any different, I don't think you'll see Capercaillie without going to Speyside. I don't know a site for Parrot Crossbills but Crossbills are available almost anywhere in suitable habitat.

Mar Lodge, although a lovely run, is over 50 miles from Perth and is not a particularly fast road. Another run, which not too many people are aware of is Glen Freuchie, where you should see Black Grouse and possibly Eagles too. Crossbills are in the woodland on the northern slope, whether there are any Parrots there too, I don't know.

This area is much nearer to Perth and is a stunning trip.

Let me know if you're interested in that as an alternative and I'll give you full directions.

I took this picture there last May.

On the way back to Perth you would pass close to Loch of the Lowes if you wanted to pop in for close views of Osprey and many other species too.
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Old Monday 19th June 2017, 20:19   #3
Essex Baker Boy
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Hi Delia, thanks for your reply.
Glen Freuchie certainly sounds like an interesting site and as you say, it's not too far either.
If you can send me more specific directions I would be very grateful - thank you.
Cracking photo of Black Grouse too by the way!
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Old Monday 19th June 2017, 20:57   #4
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I've zoomed this map out to give you an overview of the area, just use the zoom controls to the right of the map for more detail.

Depending whereabouts you are staying in Perth, 20 mins or so up the A9 will get you to Dunkeld, where you turn off left onto the A822 sp Aberfeldy and Crieff. A few miles up that road, you'll see a sign post for Rumbling Bridge. A few yards down is a car park. Park there and walk on down the hill to Rumbling Bridge. If the river is in spate it's well worth the few minutes break. Grey Wagtails should be seen and maybe salmon trying to jump up the waterfall.

Return to the A822 and continue on to Amulree. Go past the hotel and turn right onto the little road (probably signposted to Kenmore, but could be Garrow or Loch Freuchie.. just can't remember, as I don't look LOL).

If you're on your own, just take it slowly and keep your eyes skinned both sides of the road, we saw the first Black Grouse almost immediately. It's not a very busy road, but there is quite a bit of local traffic needing access, so watch where you stop.

You'll get views of the loch on your right. and there's a place to park beside the river near Garrow.

After Garrow, the road climbs very steeply (it's supposedly the steepest climb in Scotland!) up to the moor. You should find places to park up there and if it's clear, the possibilty of Eagle floating around. There's a forest up the top, which may have Crossbill, though possibly more likely in the forested areas on the way down the other side on the way to Kenmore. Listen for Wood Warblers too.

At Kenmore, turn right onto the A827 to Aberfeldy and civilisation Then decide what you want to do.

1: Continue on that road back to the A9 at Ballinluig
2: Cross the River Tay and take the B846 over to Tummel Bridge and Loch Tummel (use the road on the south side of the loch) towards Pitlochry and the A9.

If you want to go to Loch of the Lowes, turn left off the A9 after Dowally (signposted to Blairgowrie). Visitor centre and three hides.

It's a favourite run of mine.
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Old Monday 19th June 2017, 21:03   #5
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PS

If you can get hold of Gordon Hamlett's book Best Birdwatching Sites: Scottish Highlands, he has the area covered in that too.
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Old Monday 19th June 2017, 22:23   #6
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Wow - Fantastic info Delia - much appreciated. Thank you.
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Old Sunday 25th June 2017, 07:23   #7
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Thoroughly recommend Glen Freuchie - lots to see both at the south end of the glen (near the loch) and at the north end on the high ground just before dropping down into Kenmore (the drop down is quite a road...!).

Glen Lyon and Glen Lochay are well worth a look also. In fact you can do a loop by going right along Glen Lyon, then up and over the road at Pubil, which bring you into the end of Glen Lochay (it's a very potholed road, but careful driving and it will be no problem).
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Old Monday 26th June 2017, 15:55   #8
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Thank you very much - I'm leaving for Scotland tomorrow morning, returning Friday. I'll let you know how I get on
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Old Monday 26th June 2017, 16:04   #9
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Good luck Paul.... the forecast for Thursday looks good anyway. Let's hope it stays like that.
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Old Tuesday 27th June 2017, 09:17   #10
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Actually.... tomorrow is now looking to be the better forecast. Think the weather front must have moved rather quicker than expected.
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Old Monday 3rd July 2017, 16:49   #11
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Brief Trip Report - Loch Lomond & Perthshire June 2017

As promised, here are the details of my trip. Thank you for those that posted information and directions - we had a great trip although couldn't do everything we wanted to due to very poor weather.

The weather did its very best to spoil our trip with strong northerly winds, heavy rain, and cold temperatures the majority of the time meaning we had to constantly change our itinerary to accommodate the ever changing conditions.

Arrived Glasgow on 27th June and drove up to Loch Feorlin to be met with heavy overcast skies and light rain. We saw the male Pied-billed Grebe and heard it wailing too. We also saw male and female Hen Harrier, male Bullfinch, and several Redpoll and Siskins. On the nearby sea loch were two Gannets and three Eiders. Stayed the night at Balloch by Loch Lomond.

28th June – strong cold winds but no rain. We kayaked from Luss to Inchconnachan Island where after a lot of hard work pushing through waist high damp bracken we connected with our main target species of the entire trip – two Wallabies! Incredibly shy and wary following the cull which began in 2009 but amazing to see them in such a setting. Also present on the island were two Fallow Deer and two Grey Squirrels and dozens of Redstart family parties. An Osprey was fishing offshore as were a couple of RBMergs.

We then drove across country to Perthshire passing by the Red Kite feeding station at Argaty where 8 Red Kites were in the air and 2 Brown Hare were in the field.

The weather improved along the Perthshire river although the wind was still strong. We were successful in seeing a female Beaver and her Kit along with Dipper, a family of Kingfishers, an Osprey and two Roe Deer at dusk. Headed back to Perth to sleep.

29th June was forecast to be very heavy rain all day through with a strong north wind and it was! Birding was only possible from hides or the car. Loch of Lowes produced Ospreys in the nest and a Sparrowhawk as well as 3 Red Squirrels, a Yellowhammer and a few Fallow Deer. Loch Kinnordy gave us female Marsh Harrier, c.10 Tree Sparrows, and a pair of Bullfinch. A drive to Glenshee enabled 10 minutes of birding from the car in dreadful weather but yielded 2 Ring Ouzels, 3 Red Grouse, 2 Mountain Hare, a Wheatear, and 2 herds of Red Deer totalling c.35. The evening was spent in a Perthshire Pine Marten hide. The rain finally eased but the wind actually increased which seemed to have spooked the resident Pine Marten family however after over 8 hours in the hide the female finally appeared and visited us three times. Also present was a Bullfinch, a family of 4 GS Woodpeckers, 2 Red Squirrels, Bank Vole, and Wood Mouse. Arrived back at the Travelodge at 02:15, bed at 02:45!!

Our final day was the 30th June and the first day when it felt mild enough not to need a coat, and it didn’t rain! We tried the river again hoping for Otter as we had heard one the other evening but not seen it. No joy but we did see Dippers, Kingfishers, Grey Wags, Bullfinch, and Goosanders with Yellowhammers everywhere. A drive back across country now to Glasgow airport enabled us to stop at the mightily impressive Rumbling Bridge where the river was in spate and looked awesome. A drive around Loch Freuchie provided incredible scenery but not too many birds although Short-eared Owl made it on to the list and 10+ Red Grouse, 2 Wheatear, Red-legged Partridge, & Common Sandpiper were all noted. Here we had the good fortune to meet some other birders who told us about a non-breeding pair of Black-throated Divers on a roadside lochan not too far away so we headed there and saw the cracking pair in summer plumage reasonably close to the car.

All the best, Paul.

Last edited by Essex Baker Boy : Monday 3rd July 2017 at 17:07.
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Old Monday 3rd July 2017, 17:02   #12
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Cor!!! You really had a cracking few days didn't you Paul.

I'm glad you managed to do some of the things that you wanted and that Glen Freuchie provided some lovely scenery at least. Rumbling Bridge can be quite spectacular after rains!

Thanks for reporting back lad.
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