Trip report - north Scotland

22nd June 2013
Dates: 18th to 21st June 2013

Destination: north Scotland



Purpose of trip:

The purpose of my trip was my regular annual visit to the region to see bird and mammal species that are not found on a regular basis in Essex or East Anglia.

In addition, weather permitting, I hoped to be able to take some photos of northern landscapes.

However, this year's trip was very short commencing with travel up to Edinburgh by train on 18th June 2013 with a Bruce Springsteen concert at Hampden Park, Glasgow in the evening, 2 full days in north Scotland on 19th and 20th June 2013 and a drive down from Durness to Edinburgh and the train back home from Edinburgh on 21st June 2013.

Primary target areas:

The primary target areas for wildlife watching and/or landscape photography were:

Perthshire: Glen Quaich and Loch of the Lowes SWT reserve

Speyside: Loch Insh, Loch Garten/Loch Mallachie RSPB reserve, Dulnain Bridge, Forest Lodge

Grantown-on-Spey area: Lochindorb

Sutherland and Wester Ross: north and west coast including Handa Island

Getting there and getting around:

I travelled up to Edinburgh by East Coast trains on 18th June 2013 and returned on 21st June 2013 having obtained an extremely good value advance return ticket for £59. As usual, I booked my return ticket via redspottedhanky.com and by using Tesco clubcard vouchers on this website, my ticket cost me nothing .... a bargain!

In Edinburgh, I hired a car from the afternoon of 18th June 2013 to the afternoon of 21st June 2013 from Budget for £75.67 reduced by 10% Quidco cashback to £68.10.

On the nights of 18th and 19th June 2013, I stayed at Travelodges in Perth and Inverness.

On the night of 20th June 2013, I again stayed at the excellent Hillside bed and breakfast in Durness.

This is a summary of my itinerary and route:

18th June 2013: Edinburgh – Glasgow – Perth

19th June 2013: Perth – Glen Quaich – Loch of the Lowes – Loch Insh – Loch Garten/Loch Mallachie – Dulnain Bridge – Lochindorb – Forest Lodge – Inverness

20th June 2013: Inverness – Braemore – Dundonnell – Kylesku – Scourie – Tarbet and Sound of Handa – Loch Laxford – Kyle of Durness – Balnakeil Bay – Durness

21st June 2013: Durness – Loch Stack – Loch Fleet – Inverness – Edinburgh

Weather:

The weather during my trip was typically Scottish .... a mixture of sun, cloud, drizzle and rain.

Highlights:

During my short trip, I was able to record 100 bird species (a reasonable total for such a short trip), 7 mammal species and 1 reptile species.

Trip list - north Scotland

With regard to the birds, I was able to add 12 species to my 2013 list.

The major disappointment, like my 2012 trip, was failing to see a Golden Eagle despite some patient waiting and watching at a number of locations where I usually see these birds each year.

The following summarises the notable wildlife species seen on my trip:

Glen Quaich: Black Grouse, Common Sandpiper, Curlew, Lapwing, Common Redshank, Oystercatcher, Whinchat, Brown Hare

Loch of the Lowes: Osprey, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Yellowhammer, Reed Bunting, Red Squirrel

Loch Insh: Osprey, Goldeneye, Common Sandpiper

Loch Garten/Loch Mallachie: Common Redstart, Spotted Flycatcher, Tree Pipit, Common Sandpiper

Dulnain Bridge: Common Sandpiper, Grey Wagtail, Common Buzzard

Lochindorb: Red Grouse

Forest Lodge: Crested Tit, Tree Pipit, Red Squirrel

Tulloch: Roe Deer

Inverness to Braemore: Wheatear

Braemore to Dundonnell: Merlin, Common Snipe, Red Deer

Dundonnell: Greenshank, Goosander, Red-breasted Merganser, Oysterctacher, Curlew, Common Sandpiper

Inchnadamph: Wheatear

Ardvreck to Kylesku: Common Buzzard, Stonechat

Kylesku: Arctic and Common Terns, Razorbill, Shag, Oystercatcher, Common Seal, Red Deer

Badcall: Red-throated Diver

Scourie: Ringed Plover, Oystercatcher, Whinchat, Twite

Tarbet: Black Guillemot, Eider, Shag, Oystercatcher, Peregrine, Rock Dove, Cuckoo, Wheatear, Stonechat

Handa: Red-throated Diver, Eider, Arctic Skua, Great Skua, Arctic Tern, Oystercatcher, Common Snipe, Fulmar, Puffin, Guillemot, Razorbill, Kittiwake, Shag, Red Grouse, Wheatear, Rock Pipit

Loch Laxford: Black-throated Diver, Eider, Black Guillemot, Razorbill, Greenshank, Oystercatcher, Curlew, Ringed Plover, Common Seal

Balanakeil Bay: Red-throated Diver, Black Guillemot, Razorbill, Shag, Sandwich Tern, Knot, Dunlin, Ringed Plover

Loch Fleet: Sandwich Tern, Greenshank, Curlew, Oystercatcher, Shelduck

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