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

Thursday, August 02, 2012

July 2012 was, in tune with the rest of the UK, yet another very unsettled month weather-wise. However, with the days still long and with plenty of wildlife to see, this area is still well worth a visit.
Just about every locally breeding bird species has well grown young by now , and along with our regular mammals, we now have our best chance of also seeing a good selection of Butterflies.
Bird species day-lists dropped a little, into the 50's as our wader species left the area for their Autumn coastal territories, whilst mammal day-lists varied between 6 and 9 depending on our luck.

Wildlife highlights included:


A very rare,  and  very welcome, dawn (daylight!)  sighting of a normally very nocturnal Pine Marten on the edge of a local forest - and to make sure we were certain of what we had seen, it actually showed itself a second time a few minutes later - great stuff!

Dawn in a local Caledonian Forest also gave us super, if brief,  views of a female Capercaillie with 2 chicks - great to see, and very encouraging to see evidence of breeding success for what is one of our rarest and most threatened species.

Our local Ospreys continued to entertain us, with most nests now having hungry young able to fly and learning  to fish, July is one of the best months to witness the 'must-see' spectacle of Osprey 'plunge-diving' for fish on our local lochs and rivers, before carrying off their prize like a torpedo (see pic courtesy of Malcolm Fincham)

Local speciality species seen well this month included Dipper, Slavonian Grebe, Red-Throated Diver, Black-Throated Diver, Osprey, Crested Tit, Crossbill, Red Grouse,  Red Squirrel, Red Deer, Mountain Goat, Mountain Hare, with the occasional Golden Eagle sighting, though Black Grouse were very elusive.

July is the last month to offer a good chance of seeing the 'mountain bird' species, and a walk up to the quieter areas around the summits gave good views of Ptarmigan , Dotterel and a solitary Snow Bunting - though suitable days weather-wise were very few and far between....

The Moray Firth Dolphins are a fantastic wildlife spectacle, and a visit , on a rising tide, to Chanonry Point on the Black Isle gave us super views of these charismatic creatures feeding at quite close range, putting a smile on the faces of the watching crowds.

Our local Roe Deer were noted to be rutting this month, with much 'barking' from the Bucks as they chased the Does around, especially at first light.

Stoats were spotted on a number of occasions, often chasing young rabbits, and occasionally feeding on road-kill.

Butterflies are at their most abundant at this time, and most of the common species were seen, with a few sightings of our local speciality - the Scotch Argus (see pic)