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

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Mid-June saw me take a trip to Sutherland on the North West coast of Scotland to visit the Scottish Wildlife Trust's beautiful Handa Island Wildlife Reserve. Just a 10 minute ferry crossing from Tarbet, during which we saw Black Guillemots and Seals, sees you land on one of the small, uninhabited island's many unspoilt sandy beaches. A short walk through heather moorland provided Meadow Pipits, Stonechats, Wheatears, Sedge Warbler, Skylarks, and a super close-up of a family of Red Grouse, and aroused plenty of interest from the nesting Arctic Skuas & Great Skuas, though thankfully, they were not particularly aggressive on this occasion!

The main attraction of Handa though is the island's 300ft+ high sandstone cliffs and the huge (200,000!) numbers of seabirds that nest on them. From our clifftop viewpoint we saw, heard (and smelt!) Guillemots, Razorbills, Kittiwakes, Fulmars, and most popular of all, good numbers of Puffins (see pic),often at close range - a breathtaking spectacle that I highly recommend.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Early June saw many species with newly-fledged young, causing many aaaaahhh! exclamations amongst my customers as doting parent birds were seen dutifully feeding their wing-quivering offspring.
Though the weather has still been a little changeable, the days have now lengthened to around 20 hours of available birding time, for those with the stamina to attempt it!
The combination of sun and rain has given a very lush look to vegetation and inspired the wild flowers to bloom, and accordingly, more butterflies are now being seen regularly.
Early June highlights included:

Seeing one of our local Ospreys delivering a good-sized trout to the nest.

A Peregrine Falcon hunting waders over a riverside field.

7 Buzzards circling together using the same thermal in a beautiful local glen.

Regular sightings of Cuckoos, often being chased away by Meadow Pipits.