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

Monday, October 01, 2012

September 2012 started unseasonably cold, with overnight frosts and even a light dusting of snow on the higher tops, but soon turned milder, and the rest of the month was again quite changeable. The days are getting noticeably shorter now, and the mornings and evenings cooler, and we are undoubtedly into Autumn. A few summer migrant birds lingered in the area until late in the month, but the vast majority had headed South by mid-month. With the Winter visiting birds yet to arrive, our bird day-lists are probably at their lowest in late September at around the 30's, though mammal day-lists remained strong at 6-9 depending on our luck. I took advantage of this slight lull in activity to take a trip South to visit my relatives and friends in South-East England, so my report may be a little shorter than usual.

Wildlife highlights included:

Regular dawn sightings of Capercaillie taking grit from secluded forest tracks, though a stealthy approach is required, as they seem to spook very easily.

Up to 4 male Black Grouse were seen at dawn at a  traditional upland 'lek' site on colder mornings, though they never lingered for more than an hour after first light.

Good views of a female  Hen Harrier hunting  over a managed Red Grouse moor - an enjoyable, but sadly very rare sight........

Crested Tits were seen regularly as part of mixed winter flocks in our local Caledonian forest, and we were also fortunate enough to see a couple coming to feeders at several favoured sites.

Golden Eagles were sighted regularly in suitable upland habitat, especially on the first sunnier day after a couple of rainy ones.

Red Grouse were seen reasonably frequently on the moors, though they are noticeably more wary of Humans since the 'shooting season' started.....

Dippers on our local rivers were seen to be getting very territorial, with much chasing and fighting occurring, especially at first light.

Red Deer stags started to show some preparations for the upcoming 'rut' with a few of the larger animals seen sharpening their antlers and pawing at the ground, and some 'roaring' aggressively.

Our local speciality mammals showed well throughout the month, with regular sightings of Red Deer, Red Squirrels, Mountain Goats and Mountain Hare.

Incoming wildfowl were also noted as the month wore on , with Wigeon & Teal being seen on local lochs.

My trip down south gave me the opportunity to see some species not found this far north - such as Dartford Warbler, Woodlark and Marsh Tit amongst others....