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

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Late April saw fantastic weather - high pressure and clear skies meant cold, crisp mornings followed by warm, sunny days - perfect safari conditions.
Safari highlights (as voted for by my customers) were several good dawn sightings of Otter on the River Spey ( a good way of justifying the 4am alarm clock!) , lekking Black Grouse, calling Cuckoos, Ospreys catching fish and delivering them to the nest, a hunting Red Kite, good views of Scottish Crossbills, and an amazing close encounter with 2 Ptarmigan.
With bird day-lists now hitting 60+ and mammal day-lists of 7-8, it is probably fair to say that we are getting into peak safari-season!

Sunday, April 22, 2007


Mid April at last saw us enjoy some Southerly winds and warmer weather, and with it came some of our returning migrant birds, with species such as Ring Ouzel (see pic), Wheatear, Common Sandpiper, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Swallow, House Martin & Sand Martin all being seen in this area for the first time since late Summer last year.
Capercaillie always seem to feature on my Safari guests "wish-lists", but are one of the most difficult species to see, with many hours searching in suitable forest usually ending in failure, or at best, with a fleeting glimpse of the backside of one as it disappears noisily into the canopy, it having seen you long before you saw it!
However, help is at hand in the form of the RSPB early morning Caper-Watch , which takes place at their Loch Garten reserve between April 1 and May 20, with the Osprey hide and a specifically built new hide overlooking a traditional lek site giving us a much better chance of seeing this magnificent creature. With as many as 4 Capercaillie being seen on some mornings it is well worth a visit, and also means less pressure on other sensitive lek sites.

Monday, April 09, 2007

April started with the weather showing signs of improvement, with the Easter weekend being particularly pleasant, and ideal for safaris. However, with no Southerly winds to report, returning migrant birds were still very thin on the ground.
Despite the lack of migrants, day-lists of birds started to creep up into the mid 50's, with day-lists of mammals regularly reaching 7 or 8.
My personal favourite sighting of early April,s outings had to be the return to her nest of a female Osprey - to be joined a day later by a male who soon earned his conjugal rights by bringing her regular fish deliveries!
Another highlight was a close-up fly -past by a dashing male Merlin with a small bird clutched in his claws, which interupted our viewing of the (still mainly white) Mountain Hares in a beautiful mountain glen.
The Slavonian Grebe was seen to have transformed from it's uninspiring black and white Winter colours into it,s beautiful summer plumage with those amazing gold ear tufts seemingly glowing in the sunshine.
Most of the other "local specialities" continued to show well and I think it' fair to say that my safari customers went away very happy with what they had seen , if a little tired maybe, after the 5am starts!