Monday, 31 March 2014


A quick trip out turned up a nice surprise. There wasn't much around when I parked the motor, a few Common Snipe had come out of the iris bed at the side of the road so I thought I'd scan around to see if there were any more. I put the bins up to look at a small wet area and there was a bird bobbing up and down in the irises - Common Snipe don't do that so it had to be a Jack Snipe but I couldn't see much of the bird. I stepped out of the motor with the camera, pointed it in the right direction and managed to get a couple of snaps.
A run out with Aly and Dave the following day turned up another surprise. A pair of RB Merg were quickly followed by a pair of Northern Wheatear. The female bird was the first one I'd seen this season...
...and the male was doing his best to win her over.
A herd of Red Deer were seen and a small group of stags before we had some stunning views of White-tailed Eagle.
This Adder is lucky to be alive as I nearly ran it over!
A Golden Eagle was flying around as we parked up for lunch - I was a bit slow with the camera though.
A bit of a search around gave us views of another three Adders including this handsome beast.
A trip to the beach produced good views of Rock Pipit...
...and a pair of Shelduck - that's a seriously square head!
Another beach visit gave us Common and Grey Seal, Reed Bunting, Skylark and then this stunner dropped in beside us. This Lapland Bunting was real surprise and a pleasure to see at close quarters.
We had to search around for the Mountain Hares and we found three distant ones - this one was close to the motor when we returned!

Saturday, 29 March 2014


We headed out in drizzly conditions but the weather was to clear as the day progressed. A few Snipe made their presence known as we stopped to look for Mountain Hare. We found four hares sheltering in the rocks but as they had a clear view of us there was no chance of getting close. As you can see the winter coat works well against the white sand.
As promised the weather cleared - awesome!
A couple of Otters came for a closer look and then headed off.
Just in case you get an itchy trigger finger there is always a Grey Heron around to help you out - stunning!
A Golden Eagle drifted off over a ridge while a WT eagle was much more obliging.
One of these next two birds is a juvenile White-tailed Eagle and the other is an adult Golden Eagle...
...which is which?

Friday, 28 March 2014

Nice weather for ducks

The weather was a bit changeable as I headed out to hunt down a certain pair of WT Eagles. A female Hen Harrier was hunting along the road so I stopped to get a few snaps - they never stay close for long but they are always nice to see.
A GN Diver was loafing near the shore so I gave it five minutes of my time. It was nice to see the bird is starting to change it's plumage - you can see the spots on the wing in this photo.
As you can see it was nice weather for ducks. The colours on this Mallard stand out well even in dull conditions.
I was kept amused by the Meadow Pipits that came quite close at times.
After about an hour of waiting a WT Eagle finally put in an appearance. This eagles closest species relative is the vulture - short tail, long broad wings, hatchet bill and a droopy neck.
I watched the bird disappear and then went looking for where it was. I wasn't expecting to find it straight away but when I got to the right area there were two birds on show. One bird changed it's perch and struggled to find a decent place to land - it's a withering look it's getting from it's mate!
A couple of Crossbills were making a bit of noise behind me so after a bit of searching I caught sight of one of them through the tangle of branches.

Thursday, 27 March 2014


I never caught up with the first few Northern Wheatears that came through so it was nice to finally see one.
A Stonchat was close by vying for the 'who looks the best' medal...
...and just for a change it was nice weather!
An otter was seen in the loch doing a bit of fishing but a distant Golden Eagle was just begging for a closer encounter as it hung in the wind. There is a fair bit of feather wear going on there too.
Talking of feather wear if you look at the wing of this Northern Wheatear you can see a beige patch which is just the last bits of feather edge to come off before he looks his best.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

A quick trip

A quick trip out on what was supposed to be a nice day was just one shower after another. A small group of Whooper Swans had dropped in but they will soon be on their way north to their breeding grounds.
One that was difficult to see was this Buzzard that was having breakfast.
There are plenty of pairs of Mistle Thrush around at the moment but it always seems to be dull conditions when they pose for a photo - they don't call it the Stormcock for nothing!
The dull conditions can't spoil a decent view of a Lapwing.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Hard to get

A couple of Crossbill played hard to get at the start of the day but you couldn't say that about this male Hen Harrier...
...or the female bird that was coming the other way!
The tide was well in so the birds were just a bit closer - an Oystercatcher doing Tai Chi...
...and an attempt at the two-headed Turnstone.
A couple of Golden Eagle circling in the distance looked like they might be worth a chase - we arrived, they were gone! A couple of minutes wait and we had one of the birds soaring above us.
In the afternoon a WT Eagle put on a brief show and there were 20 Whooper Swan still lingering on one of the lochs.
Mountain Hares have been a bit thin on the ground in the wet winter so it was nice to catch up with three beasts, one of them still had very white legs.
The Pink-footed Goose has reappeared with the Greylags and it may stay all summer too - looks like it may have an injured wing.

Saturday, 22 March 2014


Out on tour and the conditions couldn't have been more challenging - high winds and showers. We got a cracking start to the day as we viewed a pair of White-tailed Eagle bringing nest material in. Plenty of Greylag Geese, a pair of Mute Swan, Teal, Goosander and the usual array of gulls were seen before we came across this Dipper.
Driving along the loch side we came across Meadow Pipit, Rock Pipit, Skylark, Oystercatchers at every stop, RB Merg, GN Diver and a few Curlew.
So there was plenty to look at but it took a while before we came across our first Buzzard. At least the Red Deer were easy to find with a decent show from a group of stags on the hillside.
The biggest surprise of the day was finding an Adder. The conditions were not brilliant but there was a young snake soaking up whatever heat was available.
A stop to look at some Common Seals was well timed as there were a few gulls calling in alarm. I said they were worried about the presence of a WT Eagle but we couldn't see one. The gulls settled down and a couple of minutes later a WT Eagle exploded into view which got the gulls up again - superb! The cloud base was dropping and the showers were becoming more frequent so it wasn't looking good for the last part of the day. A brief view of two Golden Eagle got the heart rate up so we raced to another position and managed to get decent views of both birds.
Despite a lot of looking we never came across an Otter all day and the only thing we added to the list on the return journey was Guillemot - still not a bad day out though.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Dodging showers

The weather forecast says there will be passing showers - how long does a shower last? A couple of minutes, an hour...or two, well, it's just relentless with barely any time between them. I don't let it stop me going out but it does slow me down a bit. The best I managed on such a day was a few photographs of a pair of Curlew setting up territory.
The Stonechat pairs seem to be well up this year so you never seem to be that far from a singing male at the moment.
A couple of Otters were having a scrap on the other side of the loch to me as I sat out another shower - it wasn't too long before they were feeding side by side!
I'm guessing this Shag wasn't too impressed with the weather either - it didn't even bother surfacing properly!
I hit lucky in more ways than one as a clear spell came in I could see a large bird sitting in a tree. I took a few shots from too far away before moving in a bit closer. The White-tailed Eagle wasn't to bothered as I pulled up next to it - very impressive!
Not too far away from that was another WT Eagle was carrying some food as it flew past.
After all that excitement it was back to the small stuff - plenty of Rock Pipits displaying, the Meadow Pipits doing their thing and still only male Pied Wagtails.