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The Highlands and Islands Thread (1 Viewer)

delia todd

If I said the wrong thing it was a Senior Moment
Staff member
Opus Editor
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Scotland
Wow! Pictures don't come much better than that one! Well done Ray.

D
 

DMKSlater

Well-known member
Three sightings of at least two individual Golden Eagles from top car park Findhorn valley, couldn't discount one bird doubling back on itself and re-appearing but my hunch is for three individuals. All juv birds.
 
Cracking afternoon in Coignafearn today, spotted a few Golden Eagles (one came in nice and close and seemed to be a juve in its first winter colours) and two very noisy buzzards! We had a walk up the hill behind the carpark (Carn Coire Dhealanaich) and there were plenty of Red Grouse and Fieldfare on the slopes. A highlight was having a Mountain Hare bound out on to the path in front of us.... it took one look at me and ran off back up the hill. Must have been something I said! :)

There were a few big herds of Red Deer around and we heard the stags roaring across the glen, it never fails to give me a shiver. Lovely autumnal colours out there just now too, get out and enjoy the weather while it lasts!
 

JamesA

Crap Birder
This seems like a reasonable place to ask this... I'm currently planning a May trip to the Cairngorms, and a part of this will include going up Lochnagar. Is there any chance of Ptarmigan on Lochnagar, or is it so well trodden that anything that was there is now not? Anything else up there I should look out for?

Thanks in advance.
 

edenwatcher

Well-known member
I have seen ptarmigan on Lochnagar - it's quite a good hill for them. I read something about them "songflighting from the pinnacles". Dotterel are on the hills in this area. Which side are you thinking of approaching it from?

Rob
 

Capercaillie71

Well-known member
This seems like a reasonable place to ask this...

Technically, you should be asking this on the "Aberdeen - City and Shire" thread ;)

My pedantry aside, as Rob and Andrew have said, Ptarmigan are as common on Lochnagar as they are on the main Cairngorm massif. I have seen them close to the main route up, on the Ladder (the steep section that climbs onto the plateau). May is quite a good month as the male birds are displaying and tend to be a bit more vocal and active, flying about.

There is also a chance of Snow Bunting and Dotterel, although the latter is probably more likely towards the White Mounth area to the south-west.
 

JamesA

Crap Birder
Speedy replies, thanks all. Good to hear about the ptarmigan; dotterel would also be nice!

I was planning to go up the easy way from the carpark in Glen Muick to the east, then possibly head down along Glas Allt and back alongside Loch Muick, depending on how I feel, the weather etc.

Also, pedantry is awesome - sorry I didn't check my county borders first ;)
 

Capercaillie71

Well-known member
I was planning to go up the easy way from the carpark in Glen Muick to the east, then possibly head down along Glas Allt and back alongside Loch Muick, depending on how I feel, the weather etc.


Don't forget you'll need £3 for the car park at Glen Muick, It's a long way back if you get there with no change in your pocket!

If you are there earlyish, keep a look out for Black Grouse on the grassy areas along the river - Glen Muick is excellent for them. Also there are sometimes Ring Ouzels in the Allt Darrarie (the rocky glen to the south of the Glen Muick carpark).
 

JamesA

Crap Birder
Don't forget you'll need £3 for the car park at Glen Muick, It's a long way back if you get there with no change in your pocket!

If you are there earlyish, keep a look out for Black Grouse on the grassy areas along the river - Glen Muick is excellent for them. Also there are sometimes Ring Ouzels in the Allt Darrarie (the rocky glen to the south of the Glen Muick carpark).

Excellent, thanks. The carpark charge advice is particularly useful... It'll be an early start, weather permitting. Planning to have the whole day up there, really.
 

Adam M

Well-known member
Hello,

You guys must get this all the time. Heading up towards Grantown in March and looking for all the usual Scottish specialties. I know RSPB Loch Garten can produce Scottish crossbills, crested tits and capercaillie. Leaving ptarmigan, golden eagle and WTS eagle. Any good sites for these in the nearby area to Grantown? Nearby being about 90-120 mins drive tops. I know the Cairngorms is the usual answer for most of them, but anywhere in there specifically?

Black grouse, red squirrels, pine martin, divers and grebes all an added bonus, I've seen most of them but the missus hasn't.

Thanks in advance.

Adam M
 

Hotspur

James Spencer
United Kingdom
Hello,

You guys must get this all the time. Heading up towards Grantown in March and looking for all the usual Scottish specialties. I know RSPB Loch Garten can produce Scottish crossbills, crested tits and capercaillie. Leaving ptarmigan, golden eagle and WTS eagle. Any good sites for these in the nearby area to Grantown? Nearby being about 90-120 mins drive tops. I know the Cairngorms is the usual answer for most of them, but anywhere in there specifically?

Black grouse, red squirrels, pine martin, divers and grebes all an added bonus, I've seen most of them but the missus hasn't.

Thanks in advance.

Adam M

Get Gordon Hamletts book - it is essential. Caper due to disturbance issues should only be sought at Loch Garten. I had lots of crossers a few years ago in Boat of Garten woods. Carn ban Mor held Ptarmigan and Dotterel. Osprey are everywhere. Try Lochindorb for Divers and obviously Ruthven for Slavs. Goldies can be tricky but Findhorn Valley is as good a bet as any at the top end (and has Ouzels as well). I believe there has been a WT Eagle there this winter but for a gen one a trip to Mull is probably in order.

James
 

Alcina

Melkorendil
Adam M

Cairngorm itself can produce ptarmigan at the summit, and is a much easier walk than most of the mountains as there's a track up to the restaurant which you can walk up.

I am told that black grouse can be seen from the screen at Tulloch Moor, though I've never tried it myself.

For goldies, the Findhorn Valley is the place, but you'll be in for a long wait! From the parking area at the end of the public road, with the road behind you look over the hills to the left of centre in front of you; that seems to be a good area for them to appear, both from my experience and people I've spoken to.

Red throated divers seem to be pretty thin on the ground; I had no luck at all with them last year, in spite of searching several possible sites.
 

markgrubb

Leading a life of quiet desperation
Hello,

You guys must get this all the time. Heading up towards Grantown in March and looking for all the usual Scottish specialties. I know RSPB Loch Garten can produce Scottish crossbills, crested tits and capercaillie. Leaving ptarmigan, golden eagle and WTS eagle. Any good sites for these in the nearby area to Grantown? Nearby being about 90-120 mins drive tops. I know the Cairngorms is the usual answer for most of them, but anywhere in there specifically?

Black grouse, red squirrels, pine martin, divers and grebes all an added bonus, I've seen most of them but the missus hasn't.

Thanks in advance.

Adam M

The last 2 New Years I have stayed in Grantown and the local Anagach woods were very good. If you park beside the golf club there is a path across the course that leads to the woods and a network of paths. Just at the entrance to the woods (by the sheds for golf course equipment) are some feeders. Cresties seemed easy to see in this area and there were plenty of red squirrels too. Make sure you are familiar with cresties calls as the easiest way to see them is to tune in to their calls-on sight alone they are a lot harder to see
 

forthbirder

Well-known member
Hi to the regulars on this thread. I am hoping to visit Insh Marshes Reserve in late March. Does anyone know if the harrier roost will still be active at that time of year or will the birds have dispersed to the moors by then? Thanks in advance for any info, Mark
 

jpoyner

Well-known member
Scotland
Get Gordon Hamletts book - it is essential. Caper due to disturbance issues should only be sought at Loch Garten. I had lots of crossers a few years ago in Boat of Garten woods. Carn ban Mor held Ptarmigan and Dotterel. Osprey are everywhere. Try Lochindorb for Divers and obviously Ruthven for Slavs. Goldies can be tricky but Findhorn Valley is as good a bet as any at the top end (and has Ouzels as well). I believe there has been a WT Eagle there this winter but for a gen one a trip to Mull is probably in order.

James

If the trip is March then remember that is still full on winter up here.......Ospreys, Slavs, Divers and Ouzels won't be at these sites (though maybe a few things moving by end of March). Winter hillwalking for Ptarmigan on Carn ban mor is certainly for the experienced and well equipped only,though saying that, you can get them at the ski areas with a bit of luck. The Moray Firth should easily turn up all three Divers and Slavs at this time of year, anywhere between Findhorn and Burghead best bet.

Check the forum below or follow me on twitter to keep up to date with latest conditions/news.
 
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Adam M

Well-known member
Thanks for all the advice folks. Ended up book a cottage by Loch Insh at the end of March, the day after I hand my dissertation in at uni. Really looking forward to it now.

Happy birding

Adam
 

smc4761

Well-known member
Birdwatching novice here so any help would be greatly appreciated

I will be heading to the Outer Hebrides towards the end of march, weather permitting. I will be heading to North Uist and Berneray, mainly. I have been to the area before but more for walking than birdwatching. I have walked around the RSPB place at Balranald, but did not particularly see anything of note although to be honest I was not really birdwatching.

Are there any particular areas that are good for birdwatching, wildlife watching, aprt from Balranald.

Any general advice also about birdwatching. I tend to keep walking until I see something of interest. Is this the best way or would it be more beneficial to find a good spot and wait to see what comes to me.

I also find that when i walk along the beach and see any birds that as soon as I get within about 100 metres they all seem to fly off, making it difficult to identify anything even with binoculars. Any advice /tips

Thanks
 

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