Tuesday, 11 April 2017

WREXHAM? It Darn Near Kills 'Em - Scotland Adventure Part I

It was only a metaphoric 'kick in the backside' from Hugh and Janet that set me on a trip away to rediscover what was once an annual pilgrimage while working in the Oil Industry. During each of those 18 years, when flying back to Aberdeen by helicopter for my April 'field break', it was customary to spend the first week to 10 days scouring the central and northern reaches of 'bonny' Scotland for any forms of wildlife. Biting the bullet firmly, as my skills on today's open roads leaves a little to be desired, the decision was made and a sketchy plan, as had been usual in the past, was laid. Between that time and the day of departure, as reported through these pages, there was an unexpected visit from my dear friend Dave Foot at which time he was made privy to my intentions. His reaction said it all which was countered by an invitation for him to join me on the venture, which he accepted wholeheartedly. However, this was never to be a Bird Race, bombing off to every corner of the country, but a journey at a sedate pace while seeing as much as was humanly possible. Dave brought to the table not only his uncanny skills of finding and spotting wild creatures 'in the field', but also his adept ability to locate things which would be of mutual interest via his (are they called) Smart Phone! It was also considered a good idea to keep a Trip List which, over the next few posts, will be followed in chronological order.
It should also be noted that throughout this series
some of the images will have been drawn from both our own
Archive and the Internet
only in an effort to illustrate the subject matter!
The start and cut off point for our adventure was to be
Parley Court Farm Gateway
with the first bird on that list being 
 JACKDAW
followed by
Carrion Crow, Wood Pigeon, Blue Tit, Magpie, Herring Gull, Great Tit, Rook and Starling
before hitting a nice little run of Raptors such as 
 SPARROWHAWK
 but more or less only in silhouette.
 COMMON BUZZARD
KESTREL
 but
RED KITE
even along a short stretch of the M4 corridor, a hot bed, was a long time in showing.
Before our first 'booked' overnight stop we also added
Mallard, Black-headed and Lesser Black-backed Gulls, Raven plus Grey Heron
 by which time both rain and mist had set in big time, as can be seen through the windscreen.
At a very soggy
Wrexham, Wales 
we headed, under fast fading daylight,
for the high tops of the moors in the hopes of at least catching a sight of
BLACK GROUSE
which we did but without gaining any sensible stills or footage.
It was well before
video
First Light
video
the following morning
with only further deteriorating weather conditions
video
we returned to the
Black Grouse Lek
 where we also added 'drumming / displaying'
COMMON SNIPE
and Blackbird.
while the
video
BLACK GROUSE
were on show through the gloom along with a couple of
CURLEW
in all
video
we counted
19 Male birds,
video
all
strutting their stuff,
video
but with only a single Female putting in an appearance.
Already formulating a plan for a re-visit on our return journey, at the
very last knockings we also added
FIELDFARE
to the list.
Crossing the border into
SCOTLAND
the Jock's were doing their level best to improve things as we started
video
Heading for the Highlands
before driving through the village of
video
PITLOCHRY, PERTHSHIRE
and soon arriving at a most pleasant and 'sun-kissed' small Lochan
 The Cuilc
where, in a matter of moments, our target and seemingly very sleepy
 RING-NECKED DUCK
was located.
video
 First 'Coy' Encounter.
 
but it soon perked up
video
putting on a fine display.
video
In it's usual range this Duck is more or less confined to the USA
and comparable with our own
Tufted Duck
(right in this shot).
video
Again with Tufted Duck for comparison.
It was time to put a few more miles behind us intending to reach
Carrbridge, Inverness-shire, and our Bed and Breakfast
for 4 nights, before nightfall.
More of that on the Post to follow!
EntryPageviews
United States
656
United Kingdom
316
France
116
Germany
57
Venezuela
54
Estonia
24
China
17
South Korea
13
Italy
12
Ireland
11