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

Monday, March 17, 2008

March may be regarded as early Spring in many parts of the UK, but it is still very much Winter in this area. Though the lengthening days may hint of what is to come, the sleet, hail , snow & frosts suggest that we are still in Winter's icy grip.

Wildlife highlights included:

Close scrutiny of a wintering Geese flock giving us 3 different species - Greylag, Pink-Footed and Greenland White-Fronted.

Good views of Scottish Crossbills in the Caledonian Pine Forests (see pic).

Pied & Grey Wagtails returning to the area, after their partial Winter migration to milder climes.

Dawn birdsong increasing in both numbers of birds & volume, as the mating instinct kicks in.

Wader numbers increasing along the Spey floodplain - Lapwings, Oystercatchers, Redshanks & Curlews, their calls seemingly filling the air with hope that Winter is nearly over.

The Drake Goldeneyes serenading the females with their amazing display dance which involves cocking their head violently onto their back then pointing their bill skywards whilst croaking loudly - an amazing sight!

Black Grouse numbers increasing at their 'lek' sites, with the males getting noticeably more aggressive and noisy as lekking season draws near.

Red Grouse males becoming more conspicuous on the heather moorland, their guttural "go-back" calls giving away their location, and the males' vivid red 'eyebrows' almost seem to glow as they reach their finest breeding plumage.

A super close-encounter (less than 100 metres away) with a sub-adult Golden Eagle seen hunting along a low ridge at the foot of the Cairngorms one beautiful frosty dawn, an amazing wildlife experience, and for once I was able to get some good video footage, so I can get to relive it over & over again.

Frogs being seen near watery areas for the first time this year.

The final week of March saw the welcome return to Speyside of some of our most popular local specialities, namely Ospreys, Red-Throated Divers and Black-Throated Divers.