Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Weekend Up North...

On the 1st February James Shergold woke me up at 01:30 and we maid our way to Northern Scotland along with Anthony Bentley, Kieran Lawrence, and Andrew. Our first stop was Perth to meet up with some strange folk from Western England. The first bird stop was Tulloch Moor where we failed to see Black Grouse. The next stop was Boat of Garten where we failed to see Crested Tit, and the stop after that was Loch Flemington for the American Coot and we actually saw it! Although it wasn't the most exciting bird iv ever seen it was quite interesting, the dark band on the bill, dark red spot on the top of the frontal shield, grey body and obvious white sides to the undertail-coverts made it clearly different from the surrounding Coots. Unfortunately I completely failed at getting a good photo, the distance and bad light are my only excuse.


(American Coot - Harry Murphy)


(American Coot - Harry Murphy)


(American Coot - Harry Murphy)


(American Coot - Harry Murphy)

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(American Coot - Harry Murphy)

Next stop was Nairn and was quite productive with Black-throated Diver, Long-tailed Ducks, Scaup, Brent Geese and Velvet Scoter. Further east was even better with Black Guillemot, Great Northern Diver, Slavonion Grebe and the best Long-tailed Ducks iv ever seen. The small Harbour at Burghead held at least 7 Long-tailed Ducks of all ages, some showing down to 4 meters!



(Long-tailed Duck - Harry Murphy)


(Long-tailed Duck - Harry Murphy)


(Long-tailed Duck - Harry Murphy)


(Long-tailed Duck - Harry Murphy)


(Long-tailed Duck - Harry Murphy)


(Long-tailed Duck - Harry Murphy)


(Long-tailed Duck - Harry Murphy)


(Long-tailed Duck - Harry Murphy)


(Long-tailed Duck - Harry Murphy)

The Great Northen Diver was rather good as-well.



(Great Northern Diver - Harry Murphy)


(Great Northern Diver - Harry Murphy)


(Great Northern Diver - Harry Murphy)

The last successful stop that day was a visit to Udale bay RSPB where we located the drake American Wigeon. Sunday Morning was totally dreadful, despite looking for birds at several sights nothing was found and it wasn't until the afternoon when we had about 6 Capercaillie as a group and we came across a party of 6 calling Crossbills and all 9 of us agreed that they were Scottish Crossbills! The last highlight of the trip for me was at last light when 3 of us decided to leave "the wood" and and drive to Loch Garten at speed to look for Crested Tit, I was pretty sure I was going to leave Speyside once again without seeing one and had little hope. I ran to the feeders at Loch Garten and much to my surprise their was still a Coal Tit that had not bothered to go to roost and 5 seconds later a Crested Tit joined it! Obviously because the camera was in the car it hopped around in a 5 ft tall, bare tree for about 20 seconds until it flew of into the higher trees. Sprinting to the feeders was a very good decision because Anthony Bentley and Matthew Bruce arrived 10 seconds later and unfortunately missed it. A great trip and one to remember.

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