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

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

February 2011 was surprisingly mild throughout, with only the occasional overnight frost & just a little hill snow, temperatures were well above average, & some decent wildlife-watching weather was enjoyed.

Bird 'day-lists' remained steady in the 30's or low 40's, with mammal 'day-lists' fluctuating between 5&9 depending on our luck.

Wildlife highlights included:

Birdsong! A weak dawn chorus was enjoyed on sunnier days, with more & more species joining in as the month progressed.

Dippers were seen to be performing their bizarre bobbing, wing waggling mating displays, accompanied by a distinctive scratchy song.

Goldeneyes too were spotted displaying, the attractively plumaged males cocking their heads sharply back & skywards whilst uttering their croaking calls.

Cock Black Grouse numbers increased at traditional 'lek' sites, and they were even seen (& heard) lekking on frosty mornings.

Cock Red Grouse too, were getting into mating mode, with some aggressive posturing & calling, with their bright red 'eyebrows' visibly growing - (see pic - courtesy of Greg Morgan)

Several Stoats, still in their white winter coats, were seen chasing rabbits or eating roadkill.

Mountain Hares were very popular with my guests, they too, still sporting their fantastic white winterwear, the lack of snow on the slopes making it easier to spot them!

Crested Tits remained pretty easy to see, often at close range , coming to forest feeding stations.

Great Spotted Woodpeckers were heard 'drumming' for the first time this year.

Crossbills, too, were frequently seen & heard as they too, displayed , called & were even singing - quite a rare occurrence.

Whooper Swans & other wildfowl remained on local lochs, grateful for the lack of ice, no doubt!

The Great Grey Shrike still showed regularly, though a good photo still eludes me!!

There were several more sightings of the Gyr Falcon at the Southern end of the Spey Valley - sadly, still not for me, though!
Pine Marten was seen at my baited site on several occasions, though he was not totally reliable, with us having about a 50% 'hit-rate'.