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Galana's. Third big year.


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pedro maia

I had high hopes on seeing a Nessie shot, maybe next time.


Anyway @Galana, I don’t think baiting is going to get you any friends in this forum...

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8 hours ago, pedro maia said:

I had high hopes on seeing a Nessie shot, maybe next time.


Anyway @Galana, I don’t think baiting is going to get you any friends in this forum...

Ah! Baiting means something different in English. Simply putting down food to attract wildlife is OK. A fisherman baits his swim. I am putting out food for the Pine Martens and we all feed the birds.     No legal Badger or Bull Baiting in my lifetime.


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Darn, I need to stop baiting my local birds ... they have unsatiable appetite :D ...

Edited by xelas
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  • 3 weeks later...

Well I am back out of the "re-entry" blackout zone having left you in Morvern when the Cuillins cast their spell on me and I took the boat to Skye for one night in the oldest Inn on the Island. I saw nothing to add towards my hoped for trip target of 30 and, indeed, have to take a step back with 139 Siskin which in my excited state at seeing it I counted twice.

So to make amends here is  a new *139 for my BY.



139. Tufted Drake. Loch Hosta. North Uist.


Current location is Dunsop Bridge with my trip target of 30 more or less secure.

Some planned targets dipped but a couple of chance encounters helped me along. PLus a fair bit of planning.

I did get an ECB of Nessie for @pedro maia but it will need cleaning up at home first before posting.

Off to Leighton Moss tomorrow with fingers and everything else crossed.


Edited by Galana
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I’m sure Nessie’s EBC will need a bit of editing...

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7 hours ago, pedro maia said:

I’m sure Nessie’s EBC will need a bit of editing...

Not really. It is just that being a capture on my 'trail camera trap' my processing is limited on this netbook.

Incidentally having been born within a few km of one of Nessies relatives, google "Conyers SockburnWorm" and brought up on another of these 'worms' as we call them in the North of England I am a firm believer in them.

As one legend puts it, "they walk about the hills at night to pick up all the news, an when they feel a thirst come on, they will

sook a dozen coos!"


Time to move on  with my travels methinks,

Now to the Island of North Uist where the sea crossing was a bit lumpy so whilst new birds were sighted I was not able to go outside to get photos....

So after landing at LochMaddy I contented myself with a wet Collared Dove.


156. SC0011.  Eurasian Collared Dove. Lochmaddy. North Uist.

I also saw my first 'target' bird but will exhibit one taken later in the trip.



157. SC012) Short-eared Owl. Easily seen by early risers pole sitting by the roadside.

Island of North Uist, UK.


Then, having arrived at our wee But'n Ben for the week (also known as the best fitted Bird hide in UK if not Europe) I just had togo outside to trace cause of the enticing Crekkk, Crek I could hear in the 'garden'. After a few minutes I nailed it.






158. (SC0013) Corncrake. Target bird number 2 and I am just off the boat. Lucky or what? (It did not last...)

I hope @Game Warden will permit the indulgence of five photos for this very special and elusive bird!

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Game Warden
2 minutes ago, Galana said:

I hope @Game Warden will permit the indulgence of five photos for this very special and elusive bird!


Did someone mention a bottle of red wine? ;) 

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Just now, Game Warden said:

Did someone mention a bottle of red wine? ;) 

By coincidence there are a few in the boot of my car. Happy to raise one to you tonight if you cannot make a rendevouz in time!:D

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A brilliant start with the Owl and the Corncrake!

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Three more in the bag......



159. SC014. Rock Dove. The ancestor of our domestic pigeon with relative pure stock on the remote islands. Isle of Berneray.



160. SC0015. Little Tern. Isle of Berneray, Hebrides. Very few in this colony so I kept my distance as they are under tourist pressure.




161. SC016. Northern Lapwing. Everywhere including my 'garden' at Lochside. It made reversing the car very fraught as I had to have a look under the car before moving off.


The trip is done, unless something turns up tomorrow but I ended today on a very unexpected 'high note' despite missing out on  a racing certainty that failed to show up other that as a very dubious EBC of a tail.



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With several target/assured birds captured time for a word about the Hebridean conditions. You need to be aware that waders in particular are breeding everywhere and adjust your driving accordingly as the chicks are naive and precocious.



Accidents can happen to the unwary and I have to say that it was distressing to see the results of such carelessness from speeding drivers.

Look at this........1-DSCN0091.JPG.8f434f0a0433ea210ee76adb8e7b514d.JPG


Lightening up for a moment and building on the Rockpiper topic.....Not only Owls love the roadside posts, most waders will use them for territorial purposes....




Even the PostPiper will sleep on the job at times.......

But the poor little swallows have no shelter from the persistent rain as this little miserable chappie shows.



We had mixed weather to say the least this year but when the sun shone we kept adding to our score.



162. SC0017. Arctic Tern. Nesting at Berneray.


Then off to Benbecula to restock on Vittals at the excellent Co-op.

Of course it is pure coincidence that our route passes a small Lochan which is home to the breeding pairs of these lovely little birds.




163.  SC0018. Red-necked Phalaropes. Cute little birds the size of Starlings that migrate huge distances each year but return to Benbecula to entertain visitors. Displays were restricted this trip  due to strong winds but we managed some captures for the list. Another target species achieved.



I could not find my real target of a post sitter, saw some but they flew, so made do with this excellent substitute on a mound of heather.

164. SC 0019. Common Snipe.  Uist.

That's it for now.


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Love the SE-Owl and especially the Corncrake! Never managed to get a photo of that darn bird, even after trying to locate that insidious Crex...crex...crex...emitter for a long time. And my plans to finally achieve it this year were spoilt by Doctor´s orders not to carry a camera. -_-

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Dave Williams

I really need to get out to the Uists. The Corncrake is something to be very envious of!


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The Uists, indeed all the Outer Hebrides are beautiful and reasonably easy to reach by air, via Glasgow, or road/ferry from Oban or Uig on Skye.

www.calmac.com for routes. I have already booked my ButnBen for 2020 as June is peak Corncrake time before the growth gets too rank. Of course there are other many good birds. I only dipped on a full breeding plumaged Ruff (plus being too idle to walk to see Glaucous and Icelandic Gulls due bad weather.)


This ends my birding on Uist, there was a Bluethroat on Barra and a Snowy Owl on Hurta neither of which tempted me to chase them.


My trip to the next venue in Cairngorm was planned with precision to try and nail down three specials for BY.

So after disembarking the ferry and crossing Skye I stopped at a spot where I hoped/knew there was a pair of BT Divers.

Just by the burger van they were in plain sight and had two chicks this year.





165. SC020. Black-throated Divers. East of the Kyle of Lochalsh.;)

To remind folks of what a Red throated Diver looks like I got this the same day.


RTD. already counted in winter plumage.

Then to site two for the only mainland breeding of the next bird after a short detour.


166. SC021. Common Scoter. Glen Garry.

The best laid plans went to toast as high lake levels at Loch Ruthven prevented me finding the breeding Slavonian Grebes but two out of three ain't bad.

I took this one as compensation.



167. SC022  Little Grebe or Dabchick. Loch Ruthven.


Then via Loch Ness to Tomintoul for a week at 1500' in the Ladder Hills where I hoped for great things. 8 to go for my target and I had a couple of 'sure things' in mind.

Til then.



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We are now esconced six miles north of Tomintoul in the heart of Whisky country. Indeed we are in "the braes of Glenlivet" which is part of the Crown Estate and Knochandhu is our neighbour. But such is my dedication to duty that narry a drop has passed my lips.

Weather was appalling to say the least. One day we never left the cottage.

A foray to the Moray Firth was disappointing and we struggled to get any new sightings.

So here are a few mammals to tide one over.


Mountain Hare. Smaller than the "English Hare". This is the species that turns white in winter. The best field mark in summer is the bluish tinge and the shorter ears.


Red Deer. Stags still 'in velvet' at the time of year. This group called at our cottage on Uist almost daily.



Red Squirrel. The true native squirrel of UK. Love the white tail.

Now for Bambi.




Awwww!. Roe Deer (Reh in German) and a cute fawn. Mum has a full udder and he is hungry. Insch Marshes.


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Not a mammal but just for @pedro maia I did get a decent shot of Nessie with my trail camera near Castle Urquart.


This is a youngster. The adults are much darker and shyer.

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The red necked pharalope is wonderful  @Galana and we were lucky enough to have a similar corncrake sighting a couple of years ago at Balranald. Have you seen Morag on loch morar at all? I think she is a bit smaller than Nessie!

Edited by Towlersonsafari
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1 hour ago, Towlersonsafari said:

Have you seen Morag on loch morar at all? I think she is a bit smaller than Nessie!

Yes. She appeared once or twice for us as we pass Loch Morar regularly on the road to the Isles. Too shy for good photos.

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6 minutes ago, Galana said:

Too shy for good photos.

Not even an EMC photo?!

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Nessie should count for a few birds.

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2 minutes ago, xelas said:

Not even an EMC photo?!

Or even ERC as some evidence suggests diapsidian origins.

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Our first outing from the braes o Glenlivet was north the the Moray coast to see what was around on Culbin Sands reserve. Answer...'Not a lot'. a strange place to visit on what is now a very overdeveloped coastline.

But I did squeeze off one shot at a polesitter before it flew off on the approach of some joggers.


168. SC 023. Yellowhammer. Culbin Sands.

On a side trip to Grantown on Spey we did find some small birds in the road and on the following trip managed to get a shot as one of Scotland's iconic birds.




169. SC024. The Famous Grouse. Red Grouse scotica. Lochindorb.


Our birding excursions to Loch Garten had drawn a blank as for the first time for many years the equally famous Loch Garten Ospreys had not appeared. The male aged 27 had not made it home this year. (Of course 'they' told us after we had got there!!).

Acting on impulse and latent memories I headed for the defunct Cairngorm Mountain railway as although I was not up for the exercise of ascending without assistance to the summit I did have a hunch that the lower slopes may have enabled a difficult to see bird to breed in peace.

As I entered the area I spied a chap hunched over a tripod pointing into a nearby shrub and knew my hunch had paid off. He was putting down mealworms and had sat there all morning.

I did not have to wait too long.


Out came one of three fledglings.

Then  cast around  and found an adult male feeding quite happily. In all there were three pairs in the area but one will do for my BY.



170/ SC025. Ring Ouzel.  Cairngorm. The tame cameraman also told me where I could perhaps find an Osprey with relative ease. I do 'relative ease' quite naturally and made a note to go for it on the way south as it was only a short diversion from my chosen route weather permitting.

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Dave Williams

You got one excellent birds on this trip Fred, I'd have been very envious of the Yellowhammer but......

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Was the osprey near kingussie @Galana? I am very envious of your splendid trip

Edited by Towlersonsafari
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14 hours ago, Towlersonsafari said:

Was the osprey near kingussie @Galana?

More or less. (How was Morven??)

So after a driechet week in Tomintoul with few additions to my list it was time to descend that track for the last time (the potholes had potlholes) my poor little car needs counseling I fear. Then a diversion to seek the Ospreys from directions given verbally and hopefully remembered.

KIncraig and turn left at the memorial. Cross the bridge and park.

Done that. Sign on gate asks folks not to moor under the tree where there are Ospreys breeding. This must be the place.




171. SC026. Osprey. The nest is just on the left but too much sensitive detail is not good for them. Nr KIncraig.

Then as I beckoned my wife to leave the car and take a peek I scored another bird as this lady took her brood for an outing:-



172. SC027. Golden-eye.  Nr Kincraig.  Time to leave the Highlands but we are not home yet and to quote Michelle of the Resistance "I have a plan!".

So south down the A9 to Kinross and Loch Leven and the RSPB's Vane Farm centre.

Lots of the usual birds amongst which were several Gadwall.




173. SC028. Gadwall. Loch Leven.

And that concludes the Scottish birds, for this trip. One more stop before we have to board the ferry.

Two more targets to gain my estimated SC30 and 175 is a nice number to finish with..

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