Scotland 27/6/09 - 3/7/09

Recently returned from a weeks birding & dragon/damselfly trip to Scotland. We stayed for 3 nights at Spean Bridge (close to Fort William) which included a trip to Mull for White-tailed Eagle & Iona for Corncrake. We also spent 3 nights in Aviemore.
Highlights were: Pr of Black-throated Diver, 2 prs of Red-throated Diver, Slavonian Grebe with young, 5 Black Guillemot, 2 White-tailed Eagles, Golden Eagle, several Osprey (including 5 in the air together), 3 Capercaillie (including a male walking down a road at 4.55am!), Black Grouse heard, Corncrake, Ring Ouzel, Wood Warblers, Crested Tits & Snow Bunting.
2 Otters were seen on Mull & Pine Marten seen on 2 seperate evenings close to Loch Garten. Plenty of Red Squirrels also seen.
All four target species of dragon/damselfly seen - Northern Emerald, Azure Hawker, White-faced Darter & Northern Damselfly. There are now only 2 resident species of Odonata in the UK that I've yet to see - Norfolk Hawker & Irish Damselfly.
Butterflies included Large Heath, Dark Green Fritillary & Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary. Painted Ladies were seen at several sites including on the summit of the Cairngorms!
The weather couldn't have been better - sunny and hot every day which saw us climbing the Cairngorms in 86 degrees heat.
Quite a productive trip considering that the end of June/start of July is not the best of times to go birding in Scotland (though prime time for the dragons/damsels).



Black Guillemots


Siskins - along with Chaffinches, were the most abundant bird of the trip.
Note the mature right hand bird, clearly receeding at the front of the head.


Sunrise on Tulloch Moor


Golden Eagle country
Now I see why we only saw one Golden Eagle - only one of us was actually looking.

Heath Spotted Orchid


This was by far the most confiding of the 4 Capercaillie we saw.
Looks like his tail took one hell of a beating from another male?


Carlsberg doesn't do birdwatching? Oh yes it does - beer & Ospreys both on tap.
Here's two old timers taking full advantage. 5 Ospreys were seen soaring together that evening.


We came, we saw nothing, we left.


Ian Shepherd & bog pool at Glen Affric - home to Northern Emerald & White-faced Darter.
I personally wont forget this bog, we became well & truly acquainted after I went for an unplanned swim.


Northern Damselfly - next to Loch Garten



Record shots of White-faced Darter - Loch Garten
This species did not allow a close approach.


Azure Hawker - Glen Affric
No shots of the other member of the big four I'm afraid - the Northern Emeralds just don't like to sit & pose for photos.

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