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The Highlands and Islands Thread (1 Viewer)

Marcus Conway - ebirder

Well-known member
Just a pointer to anyone thinking of going off piste to look for Capercaillie during the lek. This year I have noticed many sites are now signposted as under video surveillance specifically during the lekking period to identify potential human disturbance from birders and photographers. There are also clear signs to say that disturbance is a criminal offence from April 1st.

The best place to see these wonderful birds remains the Caper watch at Loch Garten.
 

S West

Member
Hello All,

I am moving up to Inverness at the beginning of April for 6 months, and wanted to know a bit about birding in the area. Where is good to go? I haven't seen any of the Scottish species, and I want to see them all! Unfortunately though, I don't have a car, so will have to use public trasport to go anywhere (unless I can find anyone with a car thats willing to let me tag along). So, where can I get to without the use of a car? Can I get to Loch Ness via public transport?

Any help would be very welcome!
 

Marcus Conway - ebirder

Well-known member
Hello All,

I am moving up to Inverness at the beginning of April for 6 months, and wanted to know a bit about birding in the area. Where is good to go? I haven't seen any of the Scottish species, and I want to see them all! Unfortunately though, I don't have a car, so will have to use public trasport to go anywhere (unless I can find anyone with a car thats willing to let me tag along). So, where can I get to without the use of a car? Can I get to Loch Ness via public transport?

Any help would be very welcome!

Loch Ness is a waste of time bird wise (given the area)

Inverness itself is great, the Ness holds lots of interesting birds and a walk to Merkinch should give some more waders.

Buses/trains to
Nairn, waders, crossbills, cresties
Fort william, divers, otter
Black Isle, lots of interesting birds and mammals
Carrbirdge, cresties, maybe Capercaillie, Crossbills
Aviemore, then bus up Cairngrom for Ptarmigan, Dotterel, Snow Bunting
Kinguissie more forest goodies and Loch Insh
Even north to the top of the country would be good.
etc
Lots of easy birding to be done by public transport.

When are you moving?

In fact drop me a PM and don't mind showing you around if I have a day off.

Cheers
 
Last edited:

S West

Member
Oh wow! Thanks for all of the good suggestions! I didn't expect there to be so much accessiable by public transport! I fly up on Thursday, as I need to find accommodation before my job starts. Thanks again for your help!
 

roougers

Born again birder!!
At last the weather is picking up. At Loch Eye today birds singing in the woods included blackbird, robin, wren, great tit, treecreeper, siskin, crossbill and greenfinch. On the loch mute swan, teal, wigeon, tuftie, scaup, pochard, goldeneye, mallard, cormorant, coot and great crested grebe. with hundreds of pink feet and greylags in the fields at the north end of the loch.

Is Loch Eye accessible to the general public?

I've just moved back to the area (about 5 mins away from the Loch) and went for a snoop about and was told in no uncertain terms by 2 guys in a Land Rover that it was off limits. I used to bird there as a kid with no problems.

I had already seen all I wanted to anyway tho!!
 

roougers

Born again birder!!
Interesting to read back this thread about the Gyr Falcon. I'm 90% sure I saw one in the distance around Cromarty about a month or so back, then again on my side of the water about a week later, both times around the small cliffs at the mouth of the Cromarty Firth. I had sort of forgot about it.

Any recent sightings? I dont subscribe to any of these rare bird alerts, done all that in a past life!! LOL
 

Dmacaskill

Well-known member
Is Loch Eye accessible to the general public?

I've just moved back to the area (about 5 mins away from the Loch) and went for a snoop about and was told in no uncertain terms by 2 guys in a Land Rover that it was off limits. I used to bird there as a kid with no problems.

I had already seen all I wanted to anyway tho!!

Loch Eye can be acessed from the public footpath at the south end that runs through Midoxgate or from the track that runs down to the loch from the fields at the north end, but i prefer to view the loch from the boathouse at Loch eye house!
 

roougers

Born again birder!!
Thanks for that.

Of note today at Nigg....

From the hide
300+ Pink Feet
30 Pintail
4 Greenshank

Cromarty side of Nigg Yard
15 RB Merganser

Mouth of Cromarty Firth
100+ Long Tailed Duck (Really close to Nigg side shore)
10 Common Scotter
4 RBM
3 Brent
Perigrine

Pretty grim morning so it was just a quick scoot aboot.
 

roougers

Born again birder!!
Well, last day of my 'reading week' today, so decided to take a wee trip up to the North end of Loch Fleet to add a few to my year list. Believe it or not Bullfinch was my top priority as we seem to have a dearth of them over the water and anything more would be a bonus.

Its the first time I have been in Balblair wood since I was a kid and I wasnt disapointed, got my BF's after 2 minutes walking, unfortunately no Crested Tits that were a common site back in my youth, but a couple of Crossbill made up for that and a plethora of common types and a nice GS Woodpecker obliging for the camera.

The Loch itself (viewed from the Forest Hide) held some nice views of BT Godwit which we only really see at a distance over in Nigg, as well as a few Dunlin. My second Osprey of the year completed a very good morning.

A walk from Littleferry to the mouth of Loch Fleet didnt produce much, but a Sandwich Tern was spotted out at sea, and an unexpected year tick.

A quick look in by Embo Pier on the way back produced a good number of Common Scoter, LTD and a Breeding Plumage RT Diver as well as a flock of Turnstone I didnt linger, as by this time the other half was running out of trashy magazines and I had 4 year ticks in the bag.

All in all a great day out in temperatures of 18 degrees!!!
 
I was up in Orkney for work this week (am I allowed to be a smug git?|=)| ) and had some very close encounters with the ubiquitous Greylag geese, they seemed happy for me to get fairly close to them. I had a walk along the Peedie Sea in Kirkwall and spotted Redshank, Mute Swans, Black Guillemots and Wigeon, all within a couple of metres of me.

Had a cracking encounter with a Hen Harrier (a first for me) near Marwick Head, it swooped down over my head and started to hunt in the field on front of me. Close enough that I didn't need the Bins! I went back to the Guest House a very happy chappie indeed.

Drove back to Inverness via Assynt but didn't get to see much as the weather was vile, I'd hoped to see Puffins at Dunnet Head but its a wee bit early for them.

Spent lunch here on Thursday |=)| 2011-03-31 15.29.09.jpg :
 

delia todd

If I said the wrong thing it was a Senior Moment
Staff member
Opus Editor
Supporter
Scotland
am I allowed to be a smug git?

No! You haven't been here long enough to grip us all off like that:-C:-O

Sounds like you had a great week, just a wee bittie jealous. You can't really better that lunch spot can you.

D
 

roougers

Born again birder!!
Swallow and Sand Martin on the golf course at Tain this morning. They must have been marvelling at my play.....................not.:eek!:
 

Mark A Spedding

Well-known member
Hi everyone,

Heading up to Speyside next weekend. Was just wondering if anyone could help with the latest sites for the specialities. The main birds we require info for are:
Scottish/Parrot Crossbill, Crested Tit, Ptarmigan and what is the latest on Capers as I haven't seen any info on the pagers this spring. Are they still running the Caper watches at Loch Garten?

Cheers

Mark
 

roougers

Born again birder!!
Mark, Crested Tits were easily viewable from the walk to the visitors centre at Loch Garten yesterday morning but I didnt see any Crossbill at all, although I am pretty sure I heard a few on the footpath round Loch Mallachie. My time was limited there so its not conclusive, others I spoke to had seen Crossbill around, and apparently on the golf course at Boat of Garten (is this a regular spot?).

I always find for a guaranteed Ptarmigan year tick, the Glenshee Ski Centre never lets me down. Of course its a drive from Speyside, but I have always found the birds easy to see there and the weather is often slightly better.

Enjoy it, it was 22 degrees there yesterday, I suspect it may be a bit cooler for you.
 

OwenW

Well-known member
Just a pointer to anyone thinking of going off piste to look for Capercaillie during the lek. This year I have noticed many sites are now signposted as under video surveillance specifically during the lekking period to identify potential human disturbance from birders and photographers. There are also clear signs to say that disturbance is a criminal offence from April 1st.

The best place to see these wonderful birds remains the Caper watch at Loch Garten.

Hi - how long does the Caper lek last? I am not going to be in Nethy Bridge until June 17th and the official sessions at Loch Garten appear to have ended by then. Will the best bet for Caper be an early drive through the woods (have a Prius, so silent running is almost possible)?

Thanks!

Owen
 

Marcus Conway - ebirder

Well-known member
The only way to see Caper is from Loch Garten. I have seen Caper from the Osprey hide in mid June though I do believe the Caper watch has finished. They are seen most days throughout the day as they feed on/in the cotton grass, but require a lot of searching.

Have seen Ptarmigan every time I have been up Cairngorm this winter - though it can still be extreme up there.
 

roougers

Born again birder!!
Big influx of Wheatear today in Ross-shire, 50 + noted around Fearn. Blackcap and Willow Warbler noted at Bayfield Loch this evening.

Quick trip over to Dornoch today yieled a very smart Slav Grebe close in off Embo pier.
 

Mark A Spedding

Well-known member
Thanks for the replies folks. Could I be greedy and ask if the Findhorm valley is still good for Golden Eagles? If not,is there a current reliable site? Thanks again.
 

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