Tuesday, 5 April 2011

The Dynamic Duo Set Forth!

We really could have done with a bit better start to our adventure, but you can't help the rain. Getting up at 06:00 it was chucking it down but when the time came to leave home it had moderated enough to keep reasonably dry. The 'traditional breakfast' in The William Henry pub has to be the best value on the planet, and so something was going right. Talk too soon and you know what happens, the coach to the airport was right on time, but on departure we travelled just 300 yards (from the Alexander Gardens to the King's Statue) before the notorious Weymouth road works brought us to a halt for a full 30 minutes.

After that it was all plain sailing and rather than wait at Bournemouth for 40 minutes for our connection this was now reduced to 15 minutes. Terminal 5 at Heathrow seemed all but devoid of passengers, with the formalities of Security etc being completed in very short time - we had 'checked in' online. I had predicted there would be someone known to me at the 'gate' and sure enough there was

Ian 'Taffy' Johns one of the Buchan Alpha Crane Operators I had worked with for 18 years. Not only was he on the same flight but had also checked into the seat across the aisle.

There was a short delay on take off but nothing life threatening and in just a little more than an hour (and a couple of Whiskies in Dave's case) we landed safely in Aberdeen.

Fatman & Throbbin', The Dynamic Duo, arrive at Aberdeen

The drive to Nethy Bridge close to the West coast of Scotland is usually a 2 hour drive at a steady pace, but there was the matter of kicking our 'bird list' and soon we were looking at Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Coal Tit, Raven, Kestrel, Common Buzzard, Curlew and Oystercatcher to name but a few, but there were 2 birds we were both hoping to see to add to the 'Year List'. However, Dave was to get a 'Lifer' before we saw either.

Not easy to see as being quite distant and directly into bright sunlight, we encountered a gaggle of mostly Greylag Geese but a few Pink-footed Geese among them, the latter was Dave's 'tick'.

Not much further on we came across the first of our targets, a Hooded Crow

which was one of 3 on this leg of the journey.


we saw our first

Red Grouse, but this flight view was far from adequate so we hoped for more.

At The Lecht ski resort, the highest point of our drive, we encountered a small colony of Common Gulls seemingly very interested in a huge static water tank at the top of the hill.

We took a few moments to look at these beautifully 'clean' looking Gulls before spotting 2 tufts of bright red sticking up above the Heather.

A male Red Grouse at almost 'point blank' range,

and in company with a female, our second new bird for the year and another lifer for Throbbin'.

At the base of the steep drop off there stands this old croft, after which you enter the

proper and familiar names appear on every signpost.

We know a few people who can relate to this one don't we Mr Harris?

As we arrived at the sign welcoming us to The Highlands, the rain started in earnest and as darkness was now falling it was full ahead both engines for Nethy Bridge and the home of my long time friends David & Jenny Carrott. Their B & B is highly recommended but I'll have to bring you more of that later. For now it's an early night in readiness for a 04:30 start in the morning - talk to you all again tomorrow!

The 'Trip List' stands at 29

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