Sunday 30 June 2024

Scotland for Bird's Wildlife & Nature Tours - Day 1: 16th June 2024

The entire crew made its way north by various means the previous day and by early evening were were all ensconced in the very fine Grant Arms Hotel in Grantown on Spey. 

Room with a view

The next morning saw a very wet start to our first day but a hearty breakfast got us underway. Simon took us up and along the coast as far east as Spey Bay, where, despite the dreich conditions we still picked up jangling Corn Buntings and wheezy Yellowhammers on the way in.

The river mouth area held snorkelling Goosanders, loafing Gulls, bobbing Common Sandpipers and a flock of tardy Tundra Ringed Plovers and black bellied Dunlin while Sandwich, Common and bouncy Arctic Terns moved between sea and nest sites.

Spey Bay

I am unsure if Simon's 'pirate face' was due to the weather or some bird imitation he was undertaking

An Osprey tenaciously hovered for its breakfast despite the attention of the Gulls, Terns and Oystercatchers.

Osprey - these pics give you some idea of how poor the weather was

Alaskan Lupins - taking over Scotland!

Wall-Rue I think

Grim but they were smiling but perhaps that was at the coffee being prepared

Onto RSPB Loch Spynie (site tick) where Tree Sparrows, Yellowhammers and Red Squirrels greeted us in the car park and Martins hawked the Loch before checking the pig fields of Balormi for absent Yankee Wigeon but a male Peregrine hurtled through so quick that nothing even noticed.  A couple of Hooded Crow hybrids were probing about with the Carrions Crows and Rooks.

Red Squirrels

Yellowhammer & Tree Sparrow - very pleased with this

We ended the day in drier conditions working the coast from Lossiemouth to Burghead (remember the November 1994 Grey Tailed Tattler?) where the sea was dotted with Guillemots and Razorbills and a single Black Guillemot, and Fulmars, Manx Shearwaters, Gannets, Shags and Kittiwakes moved across our view. A Minke Whale lunge fed under some Gannets and Eider and Scoter represented sea-duck. A striking male Wheatear and smoky Rock Pipits were on the rocky foreshore before we called it a day and headed back.

Rock Pipit - Pete Osgood

It still light very light at 10pm and had cleared somewhat and the Song Thrushes and screaming Swifts were serenading in the night.

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