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

Saturday, October 01, 2011

September 2011 started with cool, changeable weather, but, rather surprisingly, ended with a very mild & sunny spell, instead of the expected early autumnal frosts, and the days are growing noticeably shorter now.
With the last of the summer visitor bird species departing the area during the month, and just a few of the winter visitors arriving, bird day-list struggled to top 35 - 40 species, while mammal species remained steady at 6-10 depending on our luck.
As mid-late September is one of the 'quieter' times of the year for my safaris, I took some time off to visit relatives & friends down in the south of England, so this report may be a little shorter than normal.

Wildlife highlights included:

Last sightings for this year of summer visitors such as Osprey, Swallow, Wheatear etc - I found myself wishing them good luck on their migration to warmer climes, many as far south as Africa.

Winter visiting bird species began to increase, with good numbers of Greylag Geese & Mistle Thrushes being seen, and the first few Whooper Swans being reported at the end of the month.

Local speciality species still showing well included Dipper, Goldeneye, Goosander, Red Grouse, Black Grouse, Crested Tit & Crossbill, with occasional sightings of Capercaillie & Golden Eagle.

The Red Deer stags became noticeably more aggressive late in the month, with the first 'roaring' being heard, and the dominant males seemed to be assembling their 'harems' of females ready for the forthcoming 'rut'.

Crested Tits were noted to be coming to woodland feeding stations more frequently, especially on cooler mornings.

The mixed woodland flocks continued to grow in size, with some consisting of 100+ birds of 6-8 different species - but can you pick out the Cresties?....it's harder than you might think, and knowing their chuckling trill is a must!

Pine Marten was seen several times after dusk at a baited site, and we are now entering the best time of year in which to see them regularly as the number of dark hours increases.

Rowan trees are at their colourful, vivid red berry-laden best now, and the Thrush species are not slow to exploit this bumper autumn harvest.

A short trip West across to Mull produced great close-up views of 3 different Otters(see pic) and a super sighting of a soaring Golden Eagle along with all the expected seabirds such as Gannet, Guillemot & Black Guillemot etc - great stuff!

My trip south gave me the chance to see many species not seen this far north, and also gave me a 'life-tick' in the form of a very rare (& very pretty) Sabine's Gull- nice!

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