Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Bird & Wildlife Watching in the Far North West

On 5th May we travelled up to the far north west of Scotland, stopping in various locations for some lovely walks. I was very lucky to see some great birds and wildlife.

The day's wildlife watching started as we were driving north along the A9. I spotted an Osprey flying above the River Tay and parallel to the road. A really good view of it.

Next, I spotted a red kite close to the road driving near Muir of Ord, Inverness-shire. Last time I drove along that way I also had a good view of a kite.

We then did a forest walk just north of Contin. I spotted what I thought was a mouse running up the tree, then saw it was a treecreeper. It was just a few feet from me, I quickly got out the camera and would've had a cracking shot of it but I didn't have the right setting on and it wouldn't focus (typical!)... changed the setting, then my dog went over to the tree and the treecreeper moved to a tree further up! So I didn't get my photo.

Once we reached the north west, we found a beautiful spot at Achnahaird and I was able to watch Black-Throated, Red-Throated and Great Northern (a first for me) Divers as well as a couple of Red-Breasted Mergansers. Because we were parked higher than the sea and remained in the car watching, they often came in quite close by.

I forgot my bird guide, though, so had to try and identify what turned out to be the Great Northern Diver from some photos once I got home.

There was also a wheatear and pied wagtail, both of which kept approaching the car.

The following day during a walk in Little Assynt area, I heard my first cuckoos of the year - there were two calling to each other. A flock of geese also flew overhead, close enough to hear their wings beating.

As well as the bird life, there were plenty of Red Deer at dawn as we drove around from 5.30am onwards. I spotted three running across the sand of the bay.

It was a wonderful couple of days.

Some photos - how I wish I had a better zoom though!

Black-Throated Diver
Great Northern Diver
Wheatear
This creature's life seems to be going around in circles!Female and male Red-Breasted Mergansers
Red Deer by the roadside
And running across the bay
Geese flying overhead
All text and photographs copyright Karen Hartnell and may not be reproduced in any way.

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