Trip report – west and north Scotland

13th April 2009
Dates: 7th to 13th April 2009

Destination: west and 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.

Primary target areas:

The primary target areas for wildlife watching were:

Perthshire: Glen Quoich and Loch of the Lowes SWT reserve

Speyside: Rothiemurchus, Loch an Eilean, Loch Morlich, Loch Insh, Loch Mallachie, Loch Garten RSPB reserve

Black Isle: Udale Bay RSPB reserve, Jemimaville

Moray Firth: Chanonry Point

Wester Ross: Dundonnell, Little Loch Broom, Gruinard Bay

Getting there and getting around:

I used my own car for the whole trip.

On the nights of 10th and 13th April, I stayed at Travelodges in Dunfermline and Perth.

On the nights of 11th and 12th April, I stayed at a bed and breakfast in the village of Boat of Garten on Speyside.

Weather:

The weather was bright and sunny for the whole of my trip but very cold and frosty in the mornings.

Highlights:

The following summarises the notable wildlife species seen on my trip, many of the birds being first records for 2009.

Travelling north: 16 Red Kites between Beaconsfield and Oxford on the M40 …. motorway birdwatching at its best!

Vane Farm RSPB reserve, Fife: still large numbers of wintering Pink-footed Geese

Letham Pools, Fife: Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper …. but unfortunately no sign of the long-staying Green-winged Teal

Dunkeld to Amulree: Roe Deer

Glen Quoich: Black Grouse, Brown Hare

Loch of the Lowes SWT reserve: Osprey, Goldeneye, Red Squirrel

Lochindorb: Black-throated Diver, Red Grouse

Dulnain Bridge: Dipper, Grey Wagtail

Rothiemurchus (Speyside Wildlife trip): Pine Marten, Wood Mouse

Loch Garten RSPB reserve: Osprey, Capercaillie, Goldeneye, Red Squirrel

Spey valley near Dulnanin Bridge: Pink-footed Geese

Loch Morlich: Red-throated Diver

Loch Insh: Osprey, Goldeneye, Common Sandpiper

Udale Bay RSPB reserve: still large numbers of wintering Pink-footed Geese

Jemimaville: still groups of wintering Slavonian Grebe, Scaup, Long-tailed Duck, Eider and Red-breasted Merganser

Tore to Maryburgh: Red Kite

Chanonry Point: Bottle-nosed Dolphin, Red-throated Diver, Sandwich Tern

Dundonnell: Golden Eagle, Common Buzzard, Red Deer

Little Loch Broom: Great Northern Diver, Black-throated Diver …. but unfortunately no sign of the reported White-billed Diver

Gruinard Bay: Great Northern Diver

Disappointments:

The main disappointment was failing to track down a single Crested Tit in the Caledonian pine forests of Speyside despite extensive searching at several locations.

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