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

Friday, April 30, 2010

April 2010 started with another massive dump of snow, which fortunately didn't stick around too long as more spring-like weather gradually took hold, though we had plenty of days where the weather could certainly be described as 'changeable'! The lingering wintry conditions certainly held back the usual influx of spring migrant birds, and the winter visitor birds lingered longer than usual. Bird day lists increased up into the 50's, and mammal lists remained steady at 5-9 depending on our luck.

Wildlife highlights included:

Year ticks! Spring migrant birds seen for the first time this year included Common Sandpiper, Willow Warbler, Sand Martin, House Martin, Swallow and Tree Pipit.

Good dawn views of an Otter on the River Spey - a 'first' for one of my safari guests - and a great start to the day!

Regular decent views of Capercaillie, one of Britain's rarest & most sought-after birds, at the RSPB's excellent early-morning Caper-watch initiative at their beautiful Loch Garten reserve - and a bonus (& unexpected!) late afternoon close-encounter with a female on a nearby forest track (see pic).

The Black Grouse continued to entertain , as the 'leks' hit their peak activity mid-late month.

Our local Ospreys appear to be on eggs already - the females now only leaving the nest briefly to exercise, whilst the males now do all of the fishing.

Forest walks provided us with regular sightings of Crossbills (all 3 species) & occasional sightings of Crested Tits - though it is important to know their calls, as an aid to location amongst the ever increasing volume of 'general' bird song.

Local lochs gave us good views of some of our rarest & most beautiful water birds - namely Black-Throated Diver, Red-Throated Diver & Slavonian Grebe - all now in their superb summer plumage.