Scotland Tour Report 8th- 12th April 2004    
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Early start for Capercaillie

Early morning Capercaillie watch


Ptarmigan- 6 birds found this year

Species List
Tour Report

1 B Blackbird

2 BF Bullfinch

3 BH Black-headed Gull

4 BK Black Grouse

5 BT Blue Tit

6 BV Black-throated Diver

7 BZ Common Buzzard

8 C Carrion Crow

9 CA Cormorant

10 CD Collared Dove

11 CH Chaffinch

12 CI Crested Tit

13 CM Common Gull

14 CO Coot

15 CP Capercaillie

16 CR Crossbill

17 CT Coal Tit

18 CU Curlew

19 D Dunnock

20 DI Dipper

21 EA Golden Eagle

22 GB Great Black-backed Gull

23 GC Goldcrest

24 GD Goosander

25 GJ Greylag Goose

26 GL Grey Wagtail

27 GN Goldeneye

28 GO Goldfinch

29 GR Greenfinch

30 GS Great Spotted Woodpecker

31 GT Great Tit

32 H Heron

33 HG Herring Gull

34 Hooded Crow

35 HS House Sparrow

36 J Jay

37 JD Jackdaw

38 K Kestrel

39 L Lapwing

40 LB Lesser Black-Backed Gull

41 LG Little Grebe

42 LT Long-tailed Tit

43 M Mistle Thrush

44 MA Mallard

45 MG Magpie

46 MH Moorhen

47 MP Meadow Pipit

48 MS Mute Swan

49 OC Oystercatcher

50 OP Osprey

51 PE Peregrine

52 PG Pink-footed Goose

53 PH Pheasant

54 PM Ptarmigan

55 PW Pied Wagtail

56 R Robin

57 RG Red Grouse

58 RH Red-throated Diver

59 RK Redshank

60 RN Raven

61 RO Rook

62 S Skylark

63 SC Stonechat

64 SG Starling

65 SH Sparrowhawk

66 SK Siskin

67 SM Sand Martin

68 ST Song Thrush

69 SU Shelduck

70 SZ Slavonian Grebe

71 T Teal

72 TC Treecreeper

73 TU Tufted Duck

74 WN Wigeon

75 WP Woodpigeon

76 WR Wren

Osprey tree and camera8th April An excited group headed north, after a false start (the skilled and accomplished leaderforgot the large hot water flask- essential equipment). A smooth journey north was enlightened with lots of Oystercatcher, Curlew and Buzzard as we journeyed through Scotland. A lunch break by the Tay did produce Goosander. Arriving at our very comfortable b+b we settled in before exploring Aviemore, with a hearty meal and several pints in the appropriately named 'Winking Owl'- Bird of the day was Buzzard, because of the sheer numbers encountered.

9th April A (optional) vCapercaillieery early start (05:00) and out before dawn toarrive at Loch Garten for the Capercaillie watch. In the lessening gloom the cameras picked up a single male, but alas it was not in view. As the light increased, the air was punctuated with the calls of the very famous pair of Osprey, which had returned that week, as they re-established the pair bond. In the woods dozens of Siskin called as they buzzed around the Caledonian woodlands. Then from the hide the shout of Capercaillie went up, as a male was spotted from the hide, in the long heather. Although distant, everyone eventually saw this turkey sized monster. On a high we returned to Aviemore for breakfast, via a traditional Black Grouse lek. To our surprise a male was still strutting his stuff, much to the delight of our party. The sight and sound of a Black Grouse in full display mode is an amazing sight. Raptors were our quarry for the remainder of the day. Despite the overcast weather we were not disappointed 5 species of raptors were our reward for patiently scanning valley ridges. Kestre"Raptor Valley"l, Buzzard, Peregrine and Sparrowhawk were noted, plus excellent views of Golden Eagle. At one point 4 Golden Eagles were seen together, as well as Ring Ouzel and Raven. We returned to the Abernethy Forest in search of Crossbills. 2004 is a poor year for Crossbills this year, but a couple were seen briefly, plus brief views for some of Crested Tit. We returned for an evening meal in a local restaurant. Bird of the day (BOTD) was the impressive Black Grouse.

10th April Some of the party made an early morning return to Loch Garten , but alas Capercaillie were not showing today. However 3 Osprey were counted and our Black Grouse male was present. In all 3 males were locatCapercaillie Watched. After our deserved breakfast we headed into the hills looking for Ptarmigan. A steady walk uphill, was hampered by more snow than usual, which made the going tough. Plenty of Red Grouse initiated false alarms, but hitting the snowline and in the distance the grate of calling Ptarmigan was heard. Eventually we tracked down a pair and got very close. The white plumage contrasting with the grey rocks. We spent a long time watching these birds. A further 4 Ptarmigan were located in the vicinity. Elated we returned to a local loch for well deserved lunch break, here Red-throated Diver were seen. In the area were 22 Goldeneye andseveral pairs of Wigeon. In the afternoon the water theme continued with a drive to large upland loch, this in previous years held Black-throated Diver, we were not disappointed. After severa

Slavonian Grebe- Diane Harrison
Slavonian Grebe & Black Grouse Diane Harrison

l scans of the loch a pair were located, swimming serenely. Interestingly, in several large skeins (100-300) Pink-footed Geese were observed flying NW, also flying was a second pair of Black-throated Diver, much to everyone's delight. Scanning a crag produced a further Peregrine. The loch side produced a few Redshank and Oystercatcher. A thoroughly superb day was topped off by an excellent Indian meal in a local restaurant. Not surprisingly BOTD was


11th April A stroll by one of the party around Aviemore, before breakfast produced Dipper. Slavonian Grebe was the target for this morning. A search of several waters produced a couple of birds, although the photographers in the group had a testing time as the Slavonian Grebes continually dived, and surfaced only briefly. Confusing the issue were several Little Grebe, but side by side comShiny Red Vanparisons could be made. A return visit to the uplands in search of Hen Harrier was in vane. The weather was cool and overcast, despite this plenty of birds were seen including Raven and lots of Red rouse, including Roger the Rogue Red Grouse, who took exception to any red vehicle, and became very aggressive- guess what colour our vehicle was!He made lots of noises, and came very close, much to the delight of all. A return to the Caledonian woodland around Loch Garten produced lots of birds, although Crested Tit were on the thin side, Some of the party finding a couple of birds. More Pink-footed Geese were noted moving NW, with skeins of 100+ birds. Another superb day in the field, we returned to our favourite restaurant for our final evening meal. Bird of the Day was a unanimous decision- Roger the Rogue Red Grouse, with Slavonian Grebe a close second.

Watching Ptarmigan12th April Our final morning was not wasted. Following a great breakfast we packed our bags and headed for Loch Garten. We were on the hunt for Crested Tit, one that all the group could see. A lengthy walk to Loch Mallachie produced lots of Goldeneye and Wigeon,

plus distantly leking Black Grouse, and very brief views of Crested Tit for some. Somewhat disillusioned we returned to our transport for the journey south, and low and behold, in aScots pine , directly above the van was a stunning Crested Tit, which behaved impeccably, enabling all to obtain great views! The long journey south was enlivened by yet more Buzzard. The pager informed us that a Bufflehead was still present in West Yorkshire. A 10min detour and a 15 min walk produced a stunning male Bufflehead, this a fitting end to another great tour.Group- CairngormRoger the Rogue Red Grouse







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