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

Thursday, December 03, 2009


November 2009 started very mild, but ended very wintry with sub-zero temperatures and the first 'proper' snowfall on the Cairngorm Mountains. The days are getting much shorter now, with only around 8 hours of daylight. With most of the winter visitor birds now here, bird day lists are usually between 30 & 40, with mammal day lists steady at between 5 & 9.


Wildlife highlights included:


A spectacular invasion of our area by record numbers of Fieldfares, with some flocks over a thousand strong, and with good numbers of Redwings as well, it was not uncommon to see berry bushes literally covered in these attractive winter thrushes.


The discovery in our area of 2 locally rare birds - a Great Grey Shrike (or 'butcher bird '- notorious for it's habit of storing it's prey of small birds, mammals & invertebrates on spiky bushes or barbed wire fences) which frequented a local airfield for several weeks, & a Black Redstart (a small robin-like bird with a lovely orange tail which it regularly 'shivers' ,a bird more usually found in urban or mountain environments much further south) which took a liking to a small local farm (see pic.)


Regular sightings of resident 'specialities' such as Dipper, Red Grouse , Red Deer, Red Squirrel.


Good sightings of increasing numbers of male Black Grouse near traditional 'lek' sites.


Decent views of Whooper Swans & winter wildfowl on our local lochs.


Some of my favourite local wildlife watching spots being featured on BBC1's excellent Autumnwatch TV programme, with presenters Chris Packham & Kate Humble showing such 'local specialities' as Crested Tit, Ptarmigan, Pine Marten & Mountain Hare amidst a beautiful snowy mountain backdrop.