Members Field Trip to Scotland May 2010

Member’s trip to Scotland – Monday 10th May to Saturday 15th May 2010

We all arrived at Grantown during Monday afternoon and after settling in and a meal decided to make an early start next morning for the RSPB site at Loch Garten.

We arrived at the visitor centre at 05.15 to find a considerable queue already forming, all hoping for views of capercaillie which after a hesitant start finally obliged. However whilst waiting we were able to watch the Osprey activity around the nest and also Red Squirrels and Redstart in the surrounding woods. What better way to start a holiday?

Later that morning a trip to Findhorn Valley and then on to Loch Ruthven hoping, primarily to see Golden Eagle in the valley but on this occasion we were unlucky. However, later looking over the loch we were lucky to have a good view of Slavonian Grebe. Our first full day ended with half the team going to a purpose built hide hopefully to see pine marten and badgers but on this occasion we had to be content with an obliging Wood Mouse, fleeting views of a Tawny Owl and five minutes before we were due to leave, a Badger paying a quick visit. I think some of us were left thinking we may have drawn the short straw and would have possibly been better going later in the week with the rest of the team.

On Wednesday morning before walking part way up Cairngorm we were at the old ski station and in brilliant sunshine were lucky enough to see a pair of Ring Ouzel feeding young. Our walk up to Coire an Sneachda despite a lot of searching failed to produce any Ptarmigan but was nevertheless on such a day a very enjoyable experience.

We took an early walk on Thursday morning through local woods to the old Spey Bridge and were rewarded with views of Dippers and Grey Wagtail feeding. Later in the day trips to Loch Garten produced Scottish Crossbill and after a ride on the Cairngorm funicular in near freezing temperatures we were rewarded with a view of a male snow bunting in fine plumage. A little later the weather cleared and the elusive ptarmigan showed themselves at long last. That evening the remainder of the party went to the hide, again without much luck seeing only the Wood Mouse and Tawny Owl. (Obviously it was the Badger’s night off or possibly he was not being paid enough appearance money)?

Our pre breakfast trip on our last full day saw us at Tulloch Moor for the Black Grouse and in the early morning light we were lucky enough to see three birds performing on their favourite grounds. As we were about to return to the Hotel for breakfast Lesser Redpoll showed themselves on the path very near to where we were standing. Later to Findhorn Bay via Lochindorb where a Black Throated Diver was on the Loch and travelling around the bay in beautiful weather we saw among others, Hooded Crow, Little Egret, Common Scoter, Fulmar and at Burghead also Gannets. In the late afternoon sunshine a trip to Loch Mallachie where a Crested Tit nest was in full view with much activity around it affording good views for all.

Finally on Saturday before starting for home some went back for another look at the Black Grouse while others chose Loch Mallachie for more Crested Tits.

Finally I know I speak for everyone who went in thanking Ray for organizing such an enjoyable trip and to Chris for her support as well

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