Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Scotland the Brave - Part V

While it was inevitable that we would revisit the Findhorn Glen there was but one species that was the object of our desire, but in an area so rich with Wildlife expectations were also high in other directions. There was little of a wait for the first new creature to show itself, and a Mammal at that, as a
 BROWN HARE
 (in oppose to the other contender Mountain Hare)
 broke cover, while from here we could view, at great distance our
proposed second location for the day
video
CAIRN GORM
 which at 4084 feet is the sixth highest peak in the United Kingdom.
Stationing ourselves at about the halfway point along the valley it was time
to make a concerted search of the open sky in hope of our target Raptor.
Common Buzzard, Kestrel, Merlin, Peregrine and even a Golden Eagle was seen
but the best that far were a presumed c3
GOSHAWK
 at fairly close quarters.
 It was soon after the last of there had disappeared among the Pines
that Dave announce the arrival of our target bird
WHITE-TAILED EAGLE
 which seem to be continuing something of a Renaissance in Scotland.
Never close enough even to get the camera focused (hence the line-drawing
for illustration) we did enjoy 'satisfactory' views through the telescope.
Time to head for pastures new but even en-route we were to encounter the unexpected.
Part way along the glen we came across these superb
 MOUNTAIN GOATS
which, despite our close quarters, paid us no heed.
Even more unexpected, not for the subject matter but for the habitat, a male
video
 MANDARIN
 in a very fast flowing mountain stream.
video
 While this charming Duck is seen on occasion in Dorset (our home County)
and also has a toe-hold close by in Hampshire they are rarely seen outside of
tranquil ponds. Here in this torrent (just listen) they seemed right out of context to us!
 It wasn't until we turned to leave that it was realised there was also a female on site.
 There were also a number of
RED DEER
 but onlt seen at great distance.
 GREENSHANK
 was another turn up for the book as we headed for the high-ground.
Both Ring Ouzel and Snow Bunting had been reported from the
Cairn Gorm car park in recent days, and while the latter seemed to be absent
there was no problem locating both
 male
and
 female
RING OUZEL
 While the male proved to be extremely reluctant to be committed to celluloid
video
hence this 'few second' clip before disappearing down a gully,
video
video
 the female was a little more obliging.
video
 A little breezy even at ground level!
Driving to the next level and the Funicular car park, there in the
picnic area, seemingly waiting for us to arrive, another
 RED GROUSE
video
 this time with a bit of
winter whiteness about it.
 It was now time to board the
 CAIRN GORM
 FUNICULAR RAILWAY
in the hope of not only visiting
but our only chance of seeing one (or more) of these 'high-top' birds ourselves.
Biggest problem here at 3600 feet was the wind, which felt as if it were blowing from every direction,
vortexing round the building and making it virtually impossible to locate
Wildlife from the viewing platforms outside. Secondly were the lovely people that we met including
an older couple on a visit from India and the delightful Dave and Fiona.
This young married couple had a human magnetism about them and for an all too
short a time all thoughts of Ptarmigan were forgotten as we chatted over a cup of coffee
and a sticky bun!
Hope you are reading this Fiona and Dave and in our thoughts! 
Eventually, it was fellow Bird Watches who brought these well camouflaged
birds to our attention but they were by no means easy to see.
PTARMIGAN
still in almost full
 Winter Plumage.
Not so the
SNOW BUNTING
which did show quite well at times.
 View from the Top overlooking
video
 LOCH MORLOCH
There were more
MOUNTAIN HARE
than birds seen at the platform and on the upward and return journeys.
video
video
TWITE,
previously recorded in Norfolk, was recorded on the day but cannot
for the life of me remember where!
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