Monday, 31 July 2017

Trip to the Cairngorms (24th to 30th July 2017)

We arrived at Blair Atholl on the Monday and from here we were able to explore the local lochs and the rest of the Cairngorms throughout the week.

Despite the constant forecasts of persistent rain, the only heavy downpours happened on the Wednesday. The rest of the week resulted in more localised light rain showers that didn't last for more than an hour or two. 

Rather than writing a report on all the places we visited I have included a summary below of what was seen and where. However, the main places of interest were RSPB Loch Garten, Loch of the Lowes, and Cairngorm Mountain.

Red Squirrel - Seen close to our campsite in Blair Atholl but also seen on the peanut feeders at RSPB Loch Garten, outside the Osprey Centre.
Osprey - The first pair were seen on the Tuesday at Loch of the Lowes. There were good views of the fledgling, as it was perched close to the nest (with blue ring PH2). It then proceeded to devour a pike that had be given to it by one of the parents. 
The second pair also provided a similar spectacle at Loch Garten. The parent suddenly appeared, with the younger bird, and dropped the fish in the nest for the juvenile to take elsewhere and eat. 

Snow Bunting at Cairngorm Mountain

Snow Bunting - At least 2-3 individuals were seen in close proximity to the viewing platform at the top of the Cairngorm Mountain. 
Crested Tit - There were 3-4 individuals seen in the pine trees, on the left, close to the entrance at Loch Garten at around 10.00am. Despite our best efforts we were not able to find them later that morning.

My son as we walked across the highlands.

At the entrance to the RSPB Loch Garten reserve.

Siskin -  A pair were seen, through the glass doors, on the feeders just outside the Osprey Centre at RSPB Loch Garten. 
Yellowhammer - A pair were seen on the feeders outside the windows of the visitor centre (see image below) at the Loch of the Lowes reserve.
Spotted Flycatcher - A single bird was seen in the woodland, alongside the pathway, as we made our way back from the walk to Loch Mallachie.
Dippers - A total of 5 individuals were seen as we walked along the River Tilt from Blair Atholl to Aldclune. At one point 3 were seen within a few meters of each other, perched on the rocks, underneath the bridge of the A9.

Viewing window for the feeders at the Loch of the Lowes visitor centre.

Red Grouse - A single bird was seen from the window of the train, on the funicular railway, as we made our down the Cairngorm Mountain. 
Wheatear - What appeared to be a recent fledgling, was seen perched on a fence post close to the car park for the funicular railway.
Meadow Pipit - Also seen at the bottom of the Cairngorm Mountain, close to the ticket station.
Grey Wagtails - They were seen at several locations around the local area, but far the highest numbers were seen along the rocky shoreline on the River Tilt between Blair Atholl and Aldclune.

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