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Griswold’s Vacations 2020 (1 Viewer)

Paul Longland

Well-known member
A decent first trip Rich.
The wagtail is worth it on its own. a cracking little bird, which I have now visited twice. The heads of the valley road may not be finished yet, but my last outing to Norfolk resulted in two blown tyres and pretty mangles alloys curtesy of a very large, unseen pothole on a country lane. (at least it was on the way back from my first lifer of the year, a desert wheatear in Ecccles.
Look forward to reading of your adventures in Scotland. Good luck with the elusive black duck. It is so nailed on I have had five goes at it and never connected once!
Hopefully it is a long lived individual, as my main birding trip this year is to Andalucia in April so it will have to wait for now.
 

ClarkWGriswold

Carpe Carpum
Staff member
Supporter
Wales
Day 1

So we left Neath at 03:00 and made pretty good time up to Glasgow. Some Roe Deer were the only sightings of note. A couple by the FOD and then a couple more up in Lancashire.

Did try a vegan pastie from the Cornish Pasty Company on the way up. Absolutely delicious. :eat: Filled with spiced cauliflower and onion baji.

Stopped off at Strathclyde Loch. Went through dozens of Black-headed Gulls but couldn't find the Ring-billed Gull. It was now that the heavens opened and me and the boy got soaked. I panicked a bit when he slipped the lead but he just legged it back to the car to get out of the rain:-O

The last leg of this journey has turned into a real ache over the years - the last 120 miles are covered by average speed cameras:storm:

We then did our usual and stocked up on cheese at Rothiemurchus, and meat from the butchers in Nethy. Couldn't get in the hot tub as there was a fault:-C So it was time for an early night.

Rich
 

ClarkWGriswold

Carpe Carpum
Staff member
Supporter
Wales
Day 2

Absolutely brilliant c5 mile walk through the local forest with the hound. He just enjoys being out and about. On returning my nephew was having food so Bud and I did a little circuit alongside the river. Cracking views of a treecreeper and a heap of Siskins by the football pitch. On the river itself a pair of Dippers was busy feeding away.

In the afternoon we went for a spin to Burghead. A good choice as it turned out. Sheltering in the harbour were 9 Eider. Just outside of the harbour were 4 Long-tailed Ducks, Goldeneye and a few Red-breasted Mergansers. Shag was a year tick as well. Wandered up to the point and had decent views of a Black-throated Diver. On the way back we drove around Lochindorb. Very windy but there were good numbers of Goldeneye and a pair of Goosander on the loch itself. Had a swift beer in the Nethybridge Hotel as dogs are allowed in. Once we moved the boy away from someone else's Border Collie, his behaviour was brilliant.

Back to the cottage for cheese. I can recommend the Stinking Bishop:eat: The hot tub had been fixed but required some time for the water to warm up so again, there was no chance for a soak.
 

ClarkWGriswold

Carpe Carpum
Staff member
Supporter
Wales
Forgot to mention that my brother in law and father came across some scat full of small bones in the forest. Unfortunately I was up ahead with the dog so didn't see it. Cat was the first thing that sprung to my mind. I showed them a picture of Pine Martin scat and they didn't think it looked at all like that.

Rich
 

ClarkWGriswold

Carpe Carpum
Staff member
Supporter
Wales
Day 3

Another brilliant day in Speyside. With the hot tub fixed the boys were in there at 7:15 this morning:eek!: I headed down to Loch Garten with the pup. As soon as we arrived the snow came down. Absolutely magical. Just me and the pup wandering around the reserve by ourselves.

Next we went up to the reserve centre. Heaps of Coal Tits etc. and then a Crested Tit came down to feed. Cracking views.

Back now to the cottage. The others took the sledges whilst I slow cooked some beef in red wine and completed a job application :eek!:

On returning we decided to head back down to Abernethy for another walk. Another good decision. Whilst the others were distracted by a Roe Deer, an absolutely stunning female Capercaillie flew out of the tree. For the brief amount of time it was in view the colours were amazing. As is often the case with these birds (so it seems) it was gone in a flash. The others didn't get on to it:-C

Still with a good amount of daylight left we headed to Loochindorb. A few Red Grouse showed themselves and were a nice year tick. My old man and sister in the car behind also saw a Black Grouse.

Anyway. Just put some spuds on for mash and then it's beer in the hot tub timeB :)

Nos da pawb.

Rich
 

JWN Andrewes

Poor Judge of Pasta.
Glad it's going well, I'll keep my fingers crossed for the Ring-bill on the return journey.

We're on a mostly non birding trip to Cambridge & London, made even less birding by our failure to find the Ring-necked Duck in Bedford on the way down in horrible weather!
 

ClarkWGriswold

Carpe Carpum
Staff member
Supporter
Wales
Glad it's going well, I'll keep my fingers crossed for the Ring-bill on the return journey.

We're on a mostly non birding trip to Cambridge & London, made even less birding by our failure to find the Ring-necked Duck in Bedford on the way down in horrible weather!

The weather is making it hard work though I certainly don’t think it’s been as bad here as down South James.

Hope you have a good/ safe trip.

Rich
 

ClarkWGriswold

Carpe Carpum
Staff member
Supporter
Wales
Day 5

Set off at 09:00 for Findhorn Bay. Back in the house by 09:45:-O Summer tyres and the snow did not mix! Decided to err on the side of caution.

Took the boy for our circular walk around past the Spa. As usual there were good numbers of Siskin, Chaffinch, Goldfinch and the odd Greenfinch. Returning to the cottage it was time for a dip in the hot tub. I quickly reached the conclusion that one hour spent in the hot tub on your own increases your life expectancy by 2 hours. It is totally relaxing and destressing. Whilst an hour spent in the hot tub with the children decreases your life expectancy by a fortnight:-O

Roads now gritted we headed over to Findhorn. Good numbers of birds out on the sea and the boy enjoyed playing with various Labradors and Border Collies on the beach. Out on the sea were a couple of Red-breasted Mergansers, good numbers of Eider, and a few Long-tailed Ducks. 3 groups of Scoters flew past with the first group appearing to contain at least 2 birds with white wing bars - so Velvet Scoter in the bag along with circa 25 Common Scoter. The Velvets would have been a lifer for Max but he was busy snowboarding on Cairngorm with my brother in law.

Time to head back to the cottage for a soak:t:
 

KenM

Well-known member
A great report Clark! Sounds like you’re having a great time, I envy you the snow and not forgetting the Capercaille...I still need that :-C

:t:
 

ClarkWGriswold

Carpe Carpum
Staff member
Supporter
Wales
Day 4

Got my order of days mixed up - old age!3:)

Set off at about 07:00 with the pup heading for the Corran Ferry. A couple of Roe Deer and Red-legged Partridges were seen on the way. The ferry costs £8.50 each way for the car and all passengers. Stopping to the left of the ferry we watched a couple of Shags, a Common Seal and a Rock Pipit and Pied Wagtail on the shore.

Next it was off to Strontian passing a few Goosander on the loch shore on the way. A scan of the river mouth gave a single female Mallard. So off wet set up the footpath to the second bridge. Upstream of the bridge was a hybrid but nothing else. Returning to the bridge I bumped in to a bunch of birders from Brighton - great bunch of lads, all looking for the same quarry. Then it was a walk up to the Ariundel Centre scanning the river where possible. A local lady walking a gorgeous Red Setter and Border Collie said it was the highest she'd seen the river. A sinking feeling began to set in. Time for a recharge. Absolutely delicious bacon, eggs and tattie scones eaten (and a very friendly chef), we felt suitably recharged.

A couple of the Brighton lads obviously had the same idea as me (great minds8-P) and were in the café. I agreed to check back downstream and give them a shout if anything turned up. Unfortunately, whilst walking to the Lodge, the heavens opened (again) and Bud sat down and refused to move - he can be such a snowflake3:) so we went back to the car and headed to a hide a few miles along Loch Sunart. The only bird of interest was a Goosander.

Returning I decided to check the Strontian area one more time as it's likely to be next year before I return to the area. On walking over to the river mouth one of the Brighton lads was waving his arms in my direction. They had located the bird. After dipping so many times it was good to see this bird actually existsB :). The male Black Duck was sat at the river mouth with a female Mallard. A lifer in the bag.B :). And big thanks to the Brighton birders.

Time to head home for a glass of wine and a dip in the hot tubB :)
 

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ClarkWGriswold

Carpe Carpum
Staff member
Supporter
Wales
A great report Clark! Sounds like you’re having a great time, I envy you the snow and not forgetting the Capercaille...I still need that :-C

:t:

Cheers Ken. The boys (and I, I must admit) loved the snow. It was the first time the hound had been in it and he kept sliding along on his shoulder for some strange reason3:).

For the brief time I saw the Caper she was amazing. The sun caught her in flight and she was full of gold, bronze and copper colours.

Rich
 

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