Covenham Reservoir

I had planned to check waders off Horseshoe but with persistent rain I opted for the cover of Covenham instead. Wader highlights were 5 Common Sandpipers & 2 Green Sandpipers. 2 Common Terns had been forced down by the weather but soon departed when there was a break in the rain. 2 adult Med Gulls were logged as the gulls stopped en route to their evening roosts on the coast. Plenty of Swifts & hirundines were also feeding low over the reservoir. The only passerine of note was a solitary Yellow Wagtail.

Cleethorpes 22/07/09

Checked the evening high tide roost & in between heavy showers results were: 2 Little Egret, 15 Common Scoter offshore, 4 Little Ringed Plover, 14 Black-tailed Godwit, 12 Whimbrel, Greenshank, Common Sandpiper, 60 Common Tern & 7 Sandwich Tern

Scotland - the final chapter

The Swamp Thing
You can just make out how deep I sunk by the swamp line below the water bottle

Northern Spinach

Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary

Another Red Cyril

Green Tiger Beetle

Who says all moths are dull & boring? - introducing the Garden Tiger Moth

all pics courtesy of Dave Wright

Scotland cont...

Team Grimsby
(from left to right) Dave Wright, moi, Dave Bradbeer, Howard Bunn, Alan Daws & Ian Shepherd

Inverour Guest House, Spean Bridge.
We stayed here for 3 nights. A poster can now be found on the door with a mug shot of a man wearing cheap, made in Hong Kong, fluorescent sunglasses - accompanied by the word "BANNED"

Flower sp. on the Cairngorms - any ideas?
The flower is Starry Saxifrage - thanks Steve

An epic ascent of the treacherous Cairngorm mountains

During our attack on the mighty Cairngorms we thought we'd reached a dead end but then (unfortunately) Howard spotted a steep poor excuse of a path alongside the right hand side mountain face which would clearly involve some rock climbing with bare hands (click pic to see the path from hell that I'm on about). Six of us went to Scotland, one (rather sensibly considering the temp was 86 degrees) decided not to even attempt the Cairngorms, another went no further when he saw the above path, the remaining four idiots went for it.

First to the top.
There's life in the old dogs yet.

Just like a walk in the park
Content to take a bronze medal, yours truly felt it would be a nice gesture to let the (much) older Howard & Dave be the first two to make the summit (thats not sweat by the way, I'd just poured a bottle of water over me - honest).

Last to the summit & thus just outside the medals - Al.
Shame there were no sheep up there to spur you on eh Al?

Cairngorms plateau

Cairngorms - you know you're high when you can see snow below you in July.

A trip to Scotland isn't complete without a pic of the Red Cyril

Birch Saw Fly
The only other place I've seen this whopper fly is at Crowle

Rhagium bifasciatum (thanks to Adrian & Steve for the ID)

Some of the team just couldn't live with the pace

Abernethy Forest - home to the big black turkey

Iona - fabulous place
It just felt like you was in the med when you looked at the clearness of the water & the white sandy beaches. Flowers & wildlife thrive here (presumably warmed by the gulf stream?).

Northern Marsh Orchid

Loch Morlich early morning

Without doubt one of the RSPB's best reserves

After waiting 4 and a quarter hours for a Pine Marten to show the man above decided to go to the toilet - you can guess what happened next....

With plenty of the above habitat around it wasn't surprising that Common Sandpipers, Dippers, & Grey Wagtails were common.

Big place this Scotland

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.