Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Contenders For 'Best Picture of the Year' Award

If the weather forecast for today had been at all accurate we wouldn't have got out of the house. As it was our 04:30 alarm call was met by dry and mainly windless conditions, ideal for our first target of the day. Being first to arrive at the Loch Garton Visitors Centre (05:00) we were given the lowest number tickets which would allow us 'first access to the front hide if the situation warranted. It was he mighty Capercaille we were after, but that was not the first bird on the list, but as the dawn broke first into view where c2 Ospreys. Having returned from their wintering quarters just a few days ago, already they are nest building, fishing and copulating but not necessarily in that order. So, with a new bird for the year under our belts the vigil began to see a

Capercallie with a single male being spotted by Dave at 07:00 a 'lifer' for him and a year tick for me! I think it will be obvious to all that the bird is placed central between the 2 trees middle of the picture?

To make things much clearer, OK I'll leave it at that!

Next, we hightailed it round to Tulloch Moor and there immediately picked up on c3 'Leking' male

Black Grouse

another 2 photographs nominated for 'Picture of the Year'. List addition the same as those above. Then it was back to

and more importantly our

where breakfast was waiting.

I would strongly recommend this fine home to anyone wishing to stay in the equally nice village and enjoy, among others

Red Squirrel

Collared Dove,

Siskin plus

Chaffinch in the garden.

is primarily a mature Scots Pine forest

standing, in part on the banks of Loch Mallachie where we were hoping to find Crested Tit, but after spending 4 hours there and experiencing some dreadful weather we decided to give up.

A number of more common birds did come our was such as this

Coal Tit, plus Green Sandpiper, Treecreeper, Goldcrest (displaying) Black-throated Diver and Goldeneye but it was the understorey that was most interesting.

This Wood Ants nest is the only one of 3 left in the forest

but the insects are no less busy for all that.

In addition there are Lichens

mosses and many
short growing plants.

Finally, we were prevented from seeing Dipper on the River Spey as it was in flood, leaving them no rocks or stones to perch on. However, we did get to see the Nethy Bridge steam train which is always a bonus. We'll be out again tomorrow and hope the weather will be fine.

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