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

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Early July saw a slight improvement in our weather though it was still a bit changeable. Although we have now had the longest day, we still have 18 hours of daylight available for wildlife-watching, and bird day-lists still regularly hit 60+ and mammal day-list still average 7+.

Just about all bird species now have fledged young, making them easier to find as they feed in family groups.

Wildlife highlights included:

An amazing and rare close encounter one early morning with a female Capercaillie and her 2 chicks, seen taking grit from the edge of a track (see pic - courtesy of Alan Everest).

Good views of a Peregrine Falcon family on a craggy cliff, the fluffy grey chicks growing rapidly, with the adults often perched nearby.

Regular sightings of Scottish Crossbills in our local Caledonian Pine forests, their presence often being betrayed by their chunky 'glip - glip' calls and the sound of pine cones dropping.

Good views of a Golden eagle in a beautiful upland glen, first over a high ridge, and then the very rare opportunity to see it well through the scope when it landed on a rock in the heather - magic!

A new 2008 record mammal day-list of 11 species! namely: Rabbit, Roe Deer, Brown hare, Bank Vole, Red Squirrel, Reindeer, Brown rat, Red Deer, Mountain Goat, Sika Deer and Mountain Hare.

Regular sighting of Crested Tit families - these real 'local specialities' always proving popular with my clients.

A short, but very enjoyable trip to the Isle of Mull produced superb views of Sea Eagle & Golden Eagle (both adults & youngsters), and a very close loch-side encounter with an Otter - marvellous stuff!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Late June saw more changeable weather, with most days seeing us experience a little bit of everything, except snow, thankfully! Bird day lists continued to hit 60+ species most days, with one late June day also giving us 10 mammal species!

Wildlife highlights included:

An amazing dawn encounter with arguably 'Britain's rarest mammal' a magnificent Scottish Wildcat - the animal in question seen hunting wader chicks, our attention being drawn to it by the furious, and very vocal 'mobbing' of the parent waders. The Wildcat's key i.d. points of large size, heavy build, broad head, black spinal fur, white face & whiskers and thick black ringed tail leaving us with little doubt as to it's lineage.

Good views of Osprey parents feeding their chicks, and the fast-growing chicks being seen to stretch & exercise their wings for the first time.

Decent views of a Golden eagle duelling with a Buzzard in a beautiful upland glen, giving us the chance to see just how much bigger than a Buzzard an Eagle really is!

A very dapper pair of Black-Throated Divers, resplendent in their beautiful grey black & white plumage with a very young looking chick - good news for a very rare species.

A close encounter with a lovely Golden Plover on a local heather moorland (see pic) our attention being drawn to it by it's plaintive whistling call.