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The Highlands and Islands Thread

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Old Saturday 23rd January 2010, 10:57   #76
Andrew Whitehouse
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seamoor View Post
We will be going to South Uist for a week on 15th may, this will be our second year. We are looking for Grey Phalarop, as we missed it last year. Any suggestions where we might see it. Thank you
Do you mean Red-necked Phalarope? Grey would just be a casual visitor at that time of year (and a fairly unlikely one).
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Old Saturday 23rd January 2010, 20:30   #77
Marcus Conway - ebirder
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An eventful and slightly surreal day.

I headed out early morning towards Abernethy. I hit a patch of black ice just south of Carrbridge, spun the Landy 180 degrees, and despite thinking I was heading into a ditch came to rest calmly on the (wrong side!) of the road. As I was recovering a cock Capercaillie walked across the road and continued into the forest.

Shaken by the near miss I headed home. I called at home and my key snapped in the door. I then got in and went to the bathroom and a pipe burst. Having mopped up I decided to go to Merkinch NR. Suitably chilled I started to photograph some of the birds and great scenery and spot an Otter cruising by. Plenty of Wigeon and the usual sawbills.

A couple of hours later an old woman calls at me 'Hello', ' Hello'. I turn round and she has a bag in her hand. 'You look like you could do with a wee cake. Take this cream bun (pr something like bun) with caramel icing' she says. I do, and she walks off without another word. I ate it and it was delicious!

Bring on tomorrow.

Last edited by Marcus Conway - ebirder : Saturday 23rd January 2010 at 20:45.
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Old Saturday 23rd January 2010, 20:41   #78
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Yo Marcus
Just about the only unbelievable thing there is that a Landy spun 180 degrees...they usually do the full 360. Good that things went ok for you.
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Old Saturday 23rd January 2010, 20:53   #79
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus Conway - ebirder View Post
An eventful and slightly surreal day.

I headed out early morning towards Abernethy. I hit a patch of black ice just south of Carrbridge, spun the Landy 180 degrees, and despite thinking I was heading into a ditch came to rest calmly on the (wrong side!) of the road. As I was recovering a cock Capercaillie walked across the road and continued into the forest.

Shaken by the near miss I headed home. I called at home and my key snapped in the door. I then got in and went to the bathroom and a pipe burst. Having mopped up I decided to go to Merkinch NR. Suitably chilled I started to photograph some of the birds and great scenery and spot an Otter cruising by. Plenty of Wigeon and the usual sawbills.

A couple of hours later an old woman calls at me 'Hello', ' Hello'. I turn round and she has a bag in her hand. 'You look like you could do with a wee cake. Take this cream bun (pr something like bun) with caramel icing' she says. I do, and she walks off without another word. I ate it and it was delicious!

Bring on tomorrow.
Great stuff Marcus,

Never spun a Landy, (they usually toppel?) but good effort. I Know some serious birders in UK who haven't seen a male Caper (Hi!), and one who hasn't seen a Caper at all!

Cheers G
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Old Saturday 23rd January 2010, 20:56   #80
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus Conway - ebirder View Post
An eventful and slightly surreal day.

I headed out early morning towards Abernethy. I hit a patch of black ice just south of Carrbridge, spun the Landy 180 degrees, and despite thinking I was heading into a ditch came to rest calmly on the (wrong side!) of the road. As I was recovering a cock Capercaillie walked across the road and continued into the forest.

Shaken by the near miss I headed home. I called at home and my key snapped in the door. I then got in and went to the bathroom and a pipe burst. Having mopped up I decided to go to Merkinch NR. Suitably chilled I started to photograph some of the birds and great scenery and spot an Otter cruising by. Plenty of Wigeon and the usual sawbills.

A couple of hours later an old woman calls at me 'Hello', ' Hello'. I turn round and she has a bag in her hand. 'You look like you could do with a wee cake. Take this cream bun (pr something like bun) with caramel icing' she says. I do, and she walks off without another word. I ate it and it was delicious!

Bring on tomorrow.
You, cars, winter and highlands obviously dont mix - i reckon you should act like a migrant and bugger off back to yorkshire in winter otherwie you'll kill ya's'en. At what member of the tetronidae was it you flushed last time?
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Old Saturday 23rd January 2010, 21:01   #81
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Originally Posted by Hotspur View Post
You, cars, winter and highlands obviously dont mix - i reckon you should act like a migrant and bugger off back to yorkshire in winter otherwie you'll kill ya's'en. At what member of the tetronidae was it you flushed last time?
Yes James - it was a Red Grouse last time. Just need to add a couple more to the 'car dancing on ice' list now!
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Old Sunday 24th January 2010, 15:37   #82
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seamoor View Post
We will be going to South Uist for a week on 15th may, this will be our second year. We are looking for Grey Phalarop, as we missed it last year. Any suggestions where we might see it. Thank you
Assuming Marcus is correct and you mean Red-Necked Phalarope, a good place to try is the RSPB reserve at Balranald on N Uist.

Have a look at www.western-isles-wildlife.co.uk for more information.

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Old Sunday 24th January 2010, 17:45   #83
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Last may i was out on the uists but it was on benbecula that i managed to connect with red necked phalarope. it was at loch of olavat on the A865 just south of griminish the lochs are easily viewed from the road,

Last edited by Dmacaskill : Sunday 24th January 2010 at 17:48.
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Old Tuesday 26th January 2010, 10:19   #84
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus Conway - ebirder View Post
An eventful and slightly surreal day.

I headed out early morning towards Abernethy. I hit a patch of black ice just south of Carrbridge, spun the Landy 180 degrees, and despite thinking I was heading into a ditch came to rest calmly on the (wrong side!) of the road. As I was recovering a cock Capercaillie walked across the road and continued into the forest.

Shaken by the near miss I headed home. I called at home and my key snapped in the door. I then got in and went to the bathroom and a pipe burst. Having mopped up I decided to go to Merkinch NR. Suitably chilled I started to photograph some of the birds and great scenery and spot an Otter cruising by. Plenty of Wigeon and the usual sawbills.

A couple of hours later an old woman calls at me 'Hello', ' Hello'. I turn round and she has a bag in her hand. 'You look like you could do with a wee cake. Take this cream bun (pr something like bun) with caramel icing' she says. I do, and she walks off without another word. I ate it and it was delicious!

Bring on tomorrow.
Erm, tomorrow, if the weather is OK I was thinking of driving up Strathconon to look for eagles. Could you please stay well away from there Marcus as driving along icy, single-track whilst looking for birds is dangerous enough without also having Landies pirouetting towards me.
Cheers mate, much appreciated.
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Old Saturday 30th January 2010, 17:48   #85
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A few sightings from the last few days;

Merkinch
Red Breasted Merganser, Little Grebe, Wigeon, Goldeneye

Artlurie
400 Scaup, 20 Common Scoter, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, 100 Curlew

Culbin Forest
2 x Goshawk skydancing and calling low over the forest, 30 Bullfinch (my biggest flock yet)

Nairn
Distant Auk specied may be Little

Burghead
King Eider still present. 25 Barwits in the sheltered bay.
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Old Sunday 31st January 2010, 18:37   #86
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Some recent shots

Curlew
Curlew
Redshank
Bullfinch
Rock Pipit
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Old Sunday 31st January 2010, 18:39   #87
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Add the one that I was really after.

Scaup
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Old Sunday 31st January 2010, 20:13   #88
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Very nice set of pictures Marcus. I particularly like the Bullfinch.

Alan
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Old Wednesday 24th February 2010, 15:07   #89
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hi, I'm spending a week in the Highlands around the middle of next month and for the first time....I'll have a decent camera! I think I know the main spots for most of the speciality birds though I'm worried I'll be too early for lekking capers & black grouse. Any thoughts on this? I'm particularly interested in any B&B's in the Speyside or Inverness area with pine martens coming to feeders and any large photogenic gatherings of LT ducks in the Moray Firth area would be nice too.

(I'm also after wildcats on the Ardnamurchan though think I'm more likely to see Nessie en route to Inverness!)

thanks for any advice.
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Old Thursday 25th February 2010, 17:40   #90
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Hello everyone. My wife and I are comparitive novices to birdwatching and have so far satisfied ourselves with watching and photographing birds in our garden and local vicinity. However, we have a caravan near Inverness which we usually visit in April , May and August for about a week at a time. Can any of you knowledgeable people recommend hides/screens near feeding stations in or near the Highlands where we can watch and photograph woodland birds at close quarters? I know the visitor centre at Loch Garten has feeders where you can see Great Spotted Woodpecker quite closely . Can anyone suggest any other feeding stations with hides on any other reserves /sites where we might see Crossbills , Siskins , Crested Tits , etc ? Hope you can help...it would be much appreciated ! Also , without leaving the Mainland , where is the best place to view Puffins....is Dunnet Head worth the trip ? Thanks a lot !
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Old Thursday 25th February 2010, 20:24   #91
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hi, I'm spending a week in the Highlands around the middle of next month and for the first time....I'll have a decent camera! I think I know the main spots for most of the speciality birds though I'm worried I'll be too early for lekking capers & black grouse. Any thoughts on this? I'm particularly interested in any B&B's in the Speyside or Inverness area with pine martens coming to feeders and any large photogenic gatherings of LT ducks in the Moray Firth area would be nice too.

(I'm also after wildcats on the Ardnamurchan though think I'm more likely to see Nessie en route to Inverness!)

thanks for any advice.
The RSPB may have their screen up at Tulloch moor by then for Black Grouse, as for lekking Capers I don't think there are any sites at all you can "legally" visit as far as I know. VIsiting any lek to photograph would have to be done under licence being a schedule one species, and I can't see SNH giving many of those out in the present climate!

At the moment there just don't seem to be many LT Ducks at all in the Moray Firth, but this may change by then as they move north. They often gather in the Cromarty Firth in spring or failing that Roseilse/Burghead Bay. You're correct re. Wildcats! Unless you happen to be Simon King a shot of Nessie is far more probable

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Old Friday 26th February 2010, 07:21   #92
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If you can visit Embo you can get excellent views of long tailed ducks from the pier,there are only small numbers at the moment but in early spring numbers can build up.
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Old Saturday 27th February 2010, 13:54   #93
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Glenmore Ski road today!
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Old Saturday 27th February 2010, 14:26   #94
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Is anyone taking any notice of the "Reduce speed" sign John

Strange, isn't it... you're basically just the other side of the mountains to me, and there's no snow here at all (some on Wednesday, but all gone by Thursday am)

D
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Old Saturday 27th February 2010, 16:46   #95
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If anybody is near Inverness (Marcus?) then there is currently an otter showing well under the bridge over the River Ness on Bridge Street. Despite being in the city centre it is showing no fear at all. I saw it at 4.55pm and I put my mate onto it and it was still feeding at 5.30pm. People are there with cameras and the otter is putting on a good show, diving and leaping about the place.

Also dolphins were showing well today near Rosemarkie beach and there are a couple of dozen whooper swans in their favourite field near Beauly railway station.
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Old Saturday 27th February 2010, 17:13   #96
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If anybody is near Inverness (Marcus?) then there is currently an otter showing well under the bridge over the River Ness on Bridge Street. Despite being in the city centre it is showing no fear at all. I saw it at 4.55pm and I put my mate onto it and it was still feeding at 5.30pm. People are there with cameras and the otter is putting on a good show, diving and leaping about the place.

Also dolphins were showing well today near Rosemarkie beach and there are a couple of dozen whooper swans in their favourite field near Beauly railway station.
Just missed it!
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Old Saturday 27th February 2010, 19:39   #97
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Is anyone taking any notice of the "Reduce speed" sign John

Strange, isn't it... you're basically just the other side of the mountains to me, and there's no snow here at all (some on Wednesday, but all gone by Thursday am)

D
Yes, it started snowing Wednesday morning and finally stopped Friday afternoon! Remarkably cleared from the roads very quickly by an army of snow ploughs attached to just about any contraption you could think of! Hats off to the local farmers, they have done a superb job keeping the place up and running, Highland council too. I think after this winter it's now a pretty well rehearsed routine.
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Old Saturday 27th February 2010, 19:42   #98
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Hello everyone , We have a static caravan near Charleston on the Black Isle and have been coming to this neck of the woods for years to see the dolphins and enjoy the scenery. My son has always been interested in the birds of prey and has photographed some of the Buzzards and Red Kite .Unfortunately , his partner doesn't seem to share his interest, so it's unlikely he'll come up this way again in a hurry . Now I've developed an interest in birding ( my wife would probably suggest it's an obsession) and I curse the opportunities we've missed to photograph many of the birds we've seen over the years like treecreepers and others that we don't see locally . Fortunately , we'll be back to this veritable birding wonderland in April , May and August for a week at a time . Could anyone suggest places where we are likely to see Crossbills , Siskins , Snow Buntings , Crested Tits and other small birds ? Many Thanks ! COLG .
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Old Saturday 27th February 2010, 20:44   #99
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Hello Again , I've just encountered Marcus' long feature on where Crested Tits might be found ( on another part of the forum) so probably , if I search about , I'll find the answers to my other questions....I'm just too impatient ! I also need to buy the 3 crucial Scottish birdbooks I've seen mentioned....I've just bought the one by Madders . Thanks guys ! Annoying Sassenach COLG .
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Old Saturday 27th February 2010, 20:58   #100
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Hello Again , I've just encountered Marcus' long feature on where Crested Tits might be found ( on another part of the forum) so probably , if I search about , I'll find the answers to my other questions....I'm just too impatient ! I also need to buy the 3 crucial Scottish birdbooks I've seen mentioned....I've just bought the one by Madders . Thanks guys ! Annoying Sassenach COLG .
i would definately recommend the best birdwatching sites ih the highlands by gordon hamlett
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