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The Highlands and Islands Thread (1 Viewer)

Marcus Conway - ebirder

Well-known member
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 .

Hi Col, hope that thread was helpful :t:

Buy Gordon's book. It'll take you a year non-stop to work through all his excellent sites!

Failing that and for some latest inside info you should book a guide or join a group.

By the way I learn't my trade at Marshside, Birkdale and Formby Point, and went to school near Southport.
 

COLG

Well-known member
Hi Col, hope that thread was helpful :t:

Buy Gordon's book. It'll take you a year non-stop to work through all his excellent sites!

Failing that and for some latest inside info you should book a guide or join a group.

By the way I learn't my trade at Marshside, Birkdale and Formby Point, and went to school near Southport.

Hi Marcus , Gordon has actually been in touch with me...I'll be sending a cheque to him for his book on Monday , it sounds indispensible ! Thanks for the info on the other site...I'm suddenly overwhelmed with too much information , it's wonderful ! The Southport area is actually really good for birdlife with Marshside , Martin Mere and Mere Sands Wood all in close proximity, but wildfowl don't really do a lot for me I'm afraid . Plus the fact that our camera only has a 175 -500 mm lens which makes it difficult to photograph anything at Marshside ! Give me garden and woodland birds every time !
 

COLG

Well-known member
But today I did not. Miss it. Or then, them!

Watched a family of Otters for three hours. Again they were showing down to three metres delighting the weekend crowds - too close to focus at one point!! Still shaking with excitement :king:

Update to follow when I calm down...

Fantastic ! Any photos ? Unfortunately, I won't be in Inverness til mid-April so I'm missing all the excitement ! COLG
 

delia todd

If I said the wrong thing it was a Senior Moment
Staff member
Opus Editor
Supporter
Scotland
Wow! Marcus that's a cracker.

I take it you had a good day then?;)

D
 

Jhanlon

Well-known member
Just wanted to say thanks for replying to my query. I'll be up in 2 weeks and otter is well and truly on my hist list - just praying they're still around! Bit worried about getting to any ptarmigan with all that snow you have up there but I'm sure there will be plenty of exciting birds willing to perform for the camera. One final thing - are the dolphins easy, and is the area tidal?
cheers
 

jpoyner

Well-known member
Scotland
Just wanted to say thanks for replying to my query. I'll be up in 2 weeks and otter is well and truly on my hist list - just praying they're still around! Bit worried about getting to any ptarmigan with all that snow you have up there but I'm sure there will be plenty of exciting birds willing to perform for the camera. One final thing - are the dolphins easy, and is the area tidal?
cheers

Ptarmigan are probably in Aviemore at the moment, the hill's totally buried!
 

Marcus Conway - ebirder

Well-known member
Red Letter Mammal Day

I set off later than hoped to look for the Dolphins. Having missed out a few times this year I fancied my luck today. Spent a few hours looking and sat through a few hail storms, but overall had pretty good views of between four and five Dolphins. Also plenty of divers moving around, long tailed duck, scaup and a little auk.

Then received a call from a fellow BF member that the Otter was back and showing well. Got stuck behind a tractor and by the time I made it back there was no sign.

Decided to walk up to Ness islands and trial the new camera on a few different settings, before heading back to the Otter spot. As I approached I could see a crowd had gathered and an Otter was performing immediately next to everyone. Fantastic. I have lost count of how many Otters I've seen, but to get one less than 90 seconds from home is a real beauty!

I called the OH and about two minutes after she arrived the Otter started chasing something. I have never seen an otter move so fast. It covered a few hundred metres, dolphin style, in a matter of seconds. The Otter then brought back its catch to the rock underneath the crowd - a metre long Lamprey! Still alive and writhing it took five minutes to die before the Otter could settle down to snack in leisure.

It chomped away for about an hour, before taking the Lamprey to a hole under the trees, and off it went again. This time she came back with company. Two young kits (or is it pups or cubs?). Fantastic. We watched them all swim around for several minutes until she carried them into another holt.

Happy with our lot we left her fishing under the bridge. Incredible to see an Otter with kits so tolerant. The only time she seemed nervous was when the old firm game finished and two hundred jolly drunks sang songs from the bridge.

I understand a fourth Otter had been collected by the RSPCA from the far side of the river. I am not sure of the full story - I understand that it was fine, but disorientated.

All in all a great afternoon of action watching the Otters. I'll get some pictures on the blog in due course (sharper than the starter for ten one above too) :t:
 
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COLG

Well-known member
Just wanted to say thanks for replying to my query. I'll be up in 2 weeks and otter is well and truly on my hist list - just praying they're still around! Bit worried about getting to any ptarmigan with all that snow you have up there but I'm sure there will be plenty of exciting birds willing to perform for the camera. One final thing - are the dolphins easy, and is the area tidal?
cheers

Hello , I hope you enjoy your trip , we,ve been coming to Inverness for many years and usually try to see the dolphins if we can . You've probably been advised already that the best place to watch them is from Chanonry Point near Fortrose . If you go over the Kessock Bridge just past Inverness on the A9 turn right onto the Cromarty road , go through Munlochy and Avoch and head towards Fortrose. You'll probably see Red Kite flying above the fields there. Pass through Fortrose and immediately after the village turn right into Ness Road and continue past the golf course until you reach the lighthouse , where there's a (very busy sometimes) car park . The dolphins seem to favour (in my opinion) appearing on the rising tide...maybe a couple of hours before high tide. It's an ideal place to view them because there's a deep channel at Chanonry Point and the Moray Firth narrows between there and Fort George . If you arrive at high tide and can't get to the Point there's a footpath next to the cottage at the side of the lighthouse that takes you to the beach and onto the Point . You'll probably see lots of seals , seabirds , possibly porpoises and hopefully, dolphins . But , be warned ,it's always windy (even in Summer) and can be very cold . So wrap up well !
 
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TheSeagull

Well-known member
I may well try for a trip up to see the otters, knowing my luck they won't be showing but a city centre location means that my mother can go shopping and won't complain :smoke:
 

jpoyner

Well-known member
Scotland
What are the main roads like at the moment?

John

All main roads now open. Parking is the biggest problem in the Strathspey area at the moment as many of the usual parking areas for sites are still buried under deep snow and the road verges too, so parking there not possible either. Strathdean (Findhorn Valley) is still only passable by 4 x 4 I am told. Conditions in Strathspey are still pretty extreme. Since the three day dump of snow we had last week there has been no thaw at all, last night's temp in Nethybridge was -15, current day temp still -3 !! Pretty much been wall to wall snow and ice since December 18th now.
 
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COLG

Well-known member
Hello everyone , You may have read in previous messages that I don't live in Scotland but visit in April , May , August and October. I've bought Gordon Hamlett's book and the Madders book on Scottish birds but is it worth buying the hefty "Birds of Scotland" edited by Forrester. At £75 it's very pricey and , I have to ask , is it worth the investment ? General bird books tend to show photographs of most , if not all , the birds that live in Scotland....Would you say that it's an essential purchase ? I'd welcome your feedback ! Thanks a lot .
 

Marcus Conway - ebirder

Well-known member
Hi Col, the birds of Scotland is a wonderful book. It's more for reference than anything else. I love my copy and spend hours pouring over the pictures and excellent text. It's not a book for ID purposes but more a history of each bird to have appeared in Scotland with a plethora of information on such area as behaviour, ecology and population trends.

They'll probably have a copy at Loch Garten, in fact, that's where I got mine.
 

Ben Nevis

Registered User
Supporter
Scotland
Hello everyone , You may have read in previous messages that I don't live in Scotland but visit in April , May , August and October. I've bought Gordon Hamlett's book and the Madders book on Scottish birds but is it worth buying the hefty "Birds of Scotland" edited by Forrester. At £75 it's very pricey and , I have to ask , is it worth the investment ? General bird books tend to show photographs of most , if not all , the birds that live in Scotland....Would you say that it's an essential purchase ? I'd welcome your feedback ! Thanks a lot .

It does sound a bit pricey but once you have a copy,you soon realise it was worth every penny.
 

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