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

Friday, October 30, 2009

October 2009 started cold, with frosts & even a light dusting of snow on the Cairngorms but, rather oddly, ended very mild with unseasonably warm temperatures. The days are shortening now, but by way of compensation, the trees are a glowing blaze of Autumn colours. Winter migration into the area is noticeably picking up now and bird day-lists are now into the 30's & 40's with mammal day-lists steady at 5-9.

Wildlife highlights included:

Amazing views of a Golden Eagle menacingly descending a steep upland slope at speed with it's huge talons outstretched, trying to harass a female Red Deer into fleeing, presumably in the hope it would fall - a magnificent wildlife spectacle!

The Red Deer rut is in full swing in October, and we witnessed many of the 'soap opera' moments - the posturing,... the romance,... the friction,... the aggression,... the winners ...& the losers.... one of British nature's must see events!

Decent dawn views of an Otter on the Spey, always the most sought - after mammal on my safaris, & making the early get-up worthwhile!

A memorable close encounter with 5 Red Squirrels at once feeding just a few feet away from us, so close that we could actually hear them grunting & squeaking to each other!

Seeing our first 'Winter Thrushes' - the Redwings were first to arrive, often betraying their presence with their thin 'seep-seep' calls & the Fieldfares arrived later in the month, and not surprisingly, our Rowan berries are disappearing rapidly!

Super views of a Crested Tit coming to a bird-feeder - not a common occurrence, and a rare chance for my clients to get a 'proper' look at one - rather than the fleeting glimpses we usually get in the forests!

Wildfowl numbers are increasing on our local lochs, with Teal, Wigeon & Whooper Swans being seen regularly.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

September 2009 started with some pleasant autumnal sunshine but ended with a more wintry feel, with night time temperatures dropping noticeably, and the days getting shorter. By the middle of the month the last of the summer visiting birds had departed, but by way of compensation, the first winter visiting birds were beginning to arrive, and with the heather at its vivid purple best and the Rowan trees full of shiny red berries Speyside is a very attractive place to be.

Wildlife highlights included:

Bird day-lists dropped down into the 30's & 40's but resident local speciality birds such as Dipper, Goldeneye, Red Grouse, Crested Tit etc continued to show well.

Mammal day-lists remained steady at 6-9 with local specialities such as Red Squirrel, Red Deer, Mountain Hare, Mountain Goat etc being seen regularly.

Our first sightings of winter visiting birds, mainly large flocks of Greylag Geese (see pic), though a few early Brent Geese & Whooper Swans were reported too.

Good views of Black Grouse, our first since late spring, as, with breeding season now over, their numbers increased near their traditional 'lek' sites.

The Red Deer stags became noticeably more aggressive as the October 'rut' approached, with their loud, belching roars echoing around the hills.

At the end of the month I took a break to visit relatives & friends in Surrey & Hampshire, but managed to sneak in a bit of bird watching, which produced a number of 'year-ticks' for me such as Dartford Warbler, Bearded Tit & Little Egret - species that are not, or are only rarely found this far North.