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

Saturday, March 31, 2012


March 2012 was incredibly mild and spring-like virtually throughout in this area, with record high temperatures, sometimes over 20c being recorded mid-month! & the weather generally very pleasant. We now have more hours of daylight than darkness, so it really feels like spring too...The migratory birds obviously thought so , with many returning to the area a good week earlier than normal.... & with these returning migrants adding to the resident birds & lingering winter visitors, bird day-lists crept up into the 40's, whilst mammal day-lists were steady at 6-9 depending on our luck.

Wildlife highlights included:

Local speciality species that continued to show well included Dipper, Black Grouse, Red Grouse, Capercaillie, Crossbill, Red Squirrel, Red Deer, Mountain Goat, Mountain Hare etc all being seen regularly - though Crested Tit became more difficult as they began nesting early....

Osprey (see pic), Slavonian Grebe, Red-Throated Diver & Black-Throated Diver - all very sought-after 'Highlands' species - returned to local breeding sites later in the month, putting smiles on many faces...

Winter visitor bird species such as Whooper Swan , Redwing, Fieldfare & 'Grey' Geese continued to linger , though their numbers were seen to reduce later in the month.

More wader species, such as Redshank & golden Plover, & even a rare inland Dunlin were noted later in the month, joining the Oystercatchers & Lapwings.

A 'proper' dawn chorus can now be enjoyed most mornings , with many more species joining the ever reliable Robins & Blackbirds..

The 'mountain' species such as Ptarmigan & Mountain Hare were seen on & off, though they have lost their pure winter-white colours now, it being replaced by a mottled grey.

Amazingly, a second 'rogue' Capercaillie appeared, at a different location to the 'original' one - giving me much more chance of showing my safari clients this incredibly rare & (usually) very wary species!

Both the Black Grouse & Red Grouse are at their easiest to see now, with the Blackcocks 'lekking' for a couple of hours from dawn , and the cock Red Grouse seemingly spending all day posturing & displaying.

Golden Eagles get progressively harder to see as the days grow longer, but we did manage a couple of good views, on both occasions seeing them in aerial battles with Buzzards.

We are now entering my favourite time of year for wildlife-watching in this area, so I hope to be very busy showing lots of safari clients the special wildlife of this beautiful & unspoilt area over the coming weeks....