Sunday, 28 April 2013

Sunday 28th. April 2013

As the reader knows well , when Carol and I go away , it usually finishes up with Carol sitting with her book , whilst I'm out and about looking for wildlife . But the 'Brownie points' situation was looking perilously low , so when Carol spotted a chance to relive the train journeys made two Michaels , Palin and Portillo , through the Highlands of Scotland , it was only fair that she took the chance , and so off we headed , over the border . Needless to say , the camera and binoculars were packed , just in case . Those opportunities were few and far between , with full days on coaches and trains along lines with amazing scenery . We did the Speyside Steam Railway , the Cairngorm Mountain Railway , the run from Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh , and also from Fort William to Malliag .
On the way up to Edinburgh on the first morning , I started making a list of what I would like to see . Golden and White-tailed Eagles , Dipper , Scottish Crossbill , Crested Tit and Ptarmigan , all came to mind . Before going any further , I didn't see any of them , except a dead specimen of one species . As I said , time was hard to find , but with reasonable weather , for Scotland , a snatched hour before breakfast or after dinner , using breaks in the journey to see what was about , and keeping an eye on the sky whilst travelling , produced 57 species , the pick of them being Red Kite , Tree Pipit , Shag and Red-throated Diver . The Diver appeared whilst chatting to a local birder , who had a Golden Eagle high overhead earlier in the day . Many were whilst moving so pictures were few and far between , but here are a few that I did manage to get .
Hooded Crow , during a wet lunch stop in Inverness . Much harder to approach than it's relatives here
The dead Ptarmigan , outside the top station on the Cairngorm . Two live birds were seen flying past the viewing platform just a couple of minutes before I got there , story of my life , according to birders who had been outside in atrocious conditions for two hours .
Herring Gull , playing with the strong wind at Kyle of Lochalsh
Early morning Oystercatchers over the local golf course at Carr-bridge , where we were based .
Juvenile Herring Gull ,
and Great Black-backed Gull , both in the harbour at Malliag .
A few mammals were also found ,
One of two Grey Seals , going by the dog shaped head , found in the same harbour .
Red Deer were seen , but always distant , whilst travelling , but the only wild herd of Reindeer in the UK were spotted below the snowline on Cairngorm .
As we drove in for a coffee break one morning , a movement amongst the Pines turned out to be this Red Squirrel , looking for it's breakfast .
In no time , the next nut was being tucked into .
And finally , some inanimate creatures I found on one of my after dinner walks , some might even describe as wooden ,
Squirrels and Owls ,
Stork / Crane type bird ,
Serpent type creature ,
Hawk /Eagle ,
And finally , a grumpy looking chap . Reminds me of someone , no not you Warren , but there again !
All in all , an enjoyable trip , even tried proper Porridge and Haggis , and survived to tell the tale .


Warren Baker said...

Cant be an image of me Greenie, it looks far to happy!! :-)

Your photo's look much better taken in Scotland - the light must be better there :-)

ShySongbird said...

It sounds like you both had an enjoyable time Greenie. Hope you had your Bradshaw's with you ;-)

Lovely to see the Hooded Crow, the Red Squirrel and the Grey Seal. I particularly like the first sculpture, really beautiful I thought!