Highland Wildlife and Birdwatch Safaris, Guided wildlife excursions, Aviemore, Scotland
Highland Wildlife and Birdwatch Safaris, Guided wildlife excursions, Aviemore, Scotland

Sunday, March 25, 2007


Mid- March saw Winter return with a vengeance, with one 48 hour period seeing 10 inches of snow fall in the Cairngorms National Park -very scenic (see pic) and great for skiers- not so great for birders wanting to get to remote areas!
However,the weekend of the 24th/25th saw the winds switch from Northerly to Southerly and the beautifully calm, sunny days made for perfect safari conditions.
A safari on the Saturday gave 50+ bird species & 8 mammal species:
The Rivers produced Dipper, Grey Wagtail, Goosander, and Goldeneye.
Farmland's highlight was a great close-up of a perched Long-Eared Owl, it's prominent ears and bright orange eyes showing well at close range - sadly, it flew off as soon as I reached for the camera! Yellowhammer, Lapwing, Oystercatcher, Curlew, greylag Geese & 4 Thrush species as well as Roe Deer and Sika Deer were also all seen.
Moorland gave us Black Grouse (lekking), Red Grouse, Meadow Pipit and Stonechat.
Lochs produced 4 red-Throated Divers & 3 Black-Throated Divers and many other species of wildfowl & waders.
Forest specialities were represented by a beautiful male Crossbill seen drinking from a puddle, and several Red Squirrels.
Mountain habitat's best sightings were 20+Reindeer , white Mountain Hares, and a herd of multi-coloured Mountain Goats with 2 tiny youngsters.
Even the breakfast stop was enlivened by a close encounter with a dashing male Sparrowhawk attempting to snatch a chaffich from the bird feeders as we enjoyed our bacon butties!
A great day of wildlife-watching, and all with a fantastic backdrop of blue skies and snowy mountains!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Early March saw lengthening days and rising temperatures and more birds making their return to Speyside for the breeding season. Curlews were seen to join the Lapwings and Oystercatchers , their bubbling calls drawing your attention to them from some distance away.
I saw my first Grey wagtail of the year on the 4th March, it,s long tail pumping furiously as it sat on a rock in the River Spey, it,s gorgeous lemon yellow underparts showing well in the sun.
Our Winter visitors are still around, with good numbers of Greylag geese and Whooper Swans still being noted, with just the odd report of a Waxwing here & there, though Waxwing numbers in the UK this Winter are well down on the previous few years.

Thursday, March 01, 2007


February ended with more signs of Spring approaching. The Red Grouse are becoming noisy & conspicuous now, their guttural "go back , go back" calls enlivening the previously quiet Moors, their red eye-combs becoming visibly larger & brighter. Oystercathers are returning to their breeding grounds along the River Spey flood-plains, their dapper black & white plumage & bright orange bills brightening up the still wintry scenery (see pic), their shrill "peep peep peep" calls filling the air as they wheel around in display flights.