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, August 30, 2008

August saw the changeable weather continue, with seemingly no two consecutive days the same! This far North Autumn comes early, and later in the month the first signs were noted; shorter days, cooler mornings & evenings, Rowan trees full of their vivid red berries , a few leaves changing colour.

Bird day-lists remained around the 45-50 mark with many of the migrants now gone , and mammal day-lists were still good at 6-9 depending on our luck.

Wildlife highlights included:

An amazing close encounter with a very bedraggled-looking Scottish Wildcat one drizzly dawn - the fierce glare it gave us with it's wild orange eyes had to be seen to be believed!

A brief visit to a garden in our area by a Rose-Coloured Starling, a rare visitor to the UK, normally found much further East, it was enjoyed by a small number of keen birders , but sadly, not by me, as I missed it!

Our local juvenile Ospreys, now deserted by their parents, initially seemed lost without them & spent many hours calling in vain for them , but eventually seemed to accept their situation & knuckled down to some self-sufficient fishing.

A pair of lost/disorientated Sperm Whales turning-up in the Moray Firth, the initial joy & amazement soon turning to sadness, however, when one of them stranded, and sadly, despite the best efforts of many good people, died.

Also in the Moray Firth, the resident Dolphins delighted many with their super acrobatic displays , sometimes coming amazingly close to the shore.

Many of the local speciality birds such as Crested Tit, Scottish Crossbill, Red-Throated Diver, Black-Throated Diver, Slavonian Grebe, Osprey ,Red Grouse, Goldeneye & Golden Eagle continued to show, some more regularly than others of course, though all were seen during the month.

Mammals featured well during the month with the following all being seen at some stage;

Red Deer, Roe Deer (see pic), Reindeer, Sika Deer, Red Squirrel, Brown hare, Mountain hare, Mountain Goat, Stoat, & Bank Vole.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Late July saw the weather remain changeable, though temperatures were generally quite high, with plenty of sunshine & 16hours+ daylight. Bird day-lists dropped a little into the low 50's due mainly to the exodus from our area by most of the wader species, though mammal day-lists still hit 6+ most days. Another sign of Autumn approaching was the early forming of 'winter flocks' by our resident small birds.

Wildlife highlights included:

Visits to our local Osprey nests gave us good views of the nearly full-grown youngsters furiously exercising their wings in readiness for their 'maiden flight', while their parents sat nearby screeching encouragement.

Super views of a Black-Throated Diver family all fishing together on a beautiful upland loch, their dapper black, white & grey plumage never failing to impress my safari clients (see pic).

Regular sightings of whole families of Spotted Flycatchers eagerly catching insects.

Great views of a Slavonian Grebe family, with the parents seen feeding the still stripy , but rapidly growing youngster.

Regular sightings of Crossbills, their loud 'glip -glip' calls betraying their presence as they fly from tree to tree in search of pine cone seeds.

The Roe Deer rut is now in progress, with the bucks frequently being seen chasing after the does, and their rasping, barking calls being heard from some distance.