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

Friday, April 01, 2011

March 2011 started cold & wintry with lots of snow which thankfully, gradually disappeared from lower levels as the weather slowly warmed up as the month went on. We actually ended the month with temperature creeping into double figures, and though winter is coming to an end , this far north,it's not quite spring yet. With our winter visitor birds still lingering, and the first few summer visitor birds arriving, bird day-lists crept up into the 40's, with mammal day-list steady between 5 & 8.

Wildlife highlights included:

An amazing , (once in a lifetime?) encounter in a local forest with an incredibly impressive & aggressive cock Capercaillie, who displayed magnificently , allowing me the rare opportunity to photograph & video this iconic & very rare 'local speciality' at VERY close range (he approached me!), and really enjoy his tail-fanning, strutting, popping, belching antics as never before - up until the point that he obviously took exception to my presence & physically attacked me, forcing me to retreat to a safe distance - an unforgettable experience!!! (see pic)

Dawn chorus! After many months of virtually silent mornings, a combination of warmer, longer days & the urge to establish a territory & find a mate inspired our local songbirds to do their stuff & cheer us all up after a long, hard winter.

E.J., our local 'celebrity' Osprey returned to her nest at RSPB Loch Garten at the end of the month - here's hoping for another successful breeding season! Several other Ospreys were also reported in the last few days of the month.

Also returning to lochs in the area were other 'local specialities' such as Red- Throated Diver, Black-Throated Diver, & Slavonian Grebe - all very popular with my safari customers, especially as they are now in their superb summer plumage.

Tree Pipit, Wheatear & Sand Martin were all also reported for the first time this year.

The cock Black Grouse were becoming noticeably more showy, noisy & aggressive at their 'lek' sites as breeding season approaches.

Numbers of wader species such as Oystercatcher, Lapwing & Curlew were seen to visibly increase along local river floodplains, and much displaying was noted.

Our other (resident) 'local speciality' species - Crested Tit, Crossbill, Goldeneye, Dipper, Black Grouse, Red Grouse, Golden Eagle, Red Squirrel, Red Deer, Mountain Hare etc continued to show well.

Whooper Swans continued to show well on favoured local lochs, though they will soon be leaving us for their breeding grounds farther north.

I managed a short trip down to south-east England towards the end of the month, mainly to visit relatives & friends, but I did manage to sneak in a few birding trips where I added a few species never or rarely found up north such as Wood lark, Nuthatch, Ring-Necked Parakeet etc to my year-list.

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