Nothing to grouse about!

The last two days we have been taken out by our friend Delia and driven around some stunning areas and seen some beautiful birds. A huge thank you Delia, today we had the company of AndyG another Birdforum member and good to meet him and have his sharp eyes along with us. I am combining the two days for ease of blogging and to make sure I get caught up before tomorrow as we have yet more exciting plans!

Yesterday we drove to Lochs and up into the hills before having lunch overlooking the beautiful Backwater reservoir.  I couldn’t resist taking pictures of the Highland cattle who like so many seemed to think that the grass really was greener the other side of the fence. We watched a Buzzard flying and Delia told us how few they have, very unlike Norfolk!

We were all chuffed to watch a Cuckoo as it sat on the wire calling.

Earlier we had seen an Osprey (219) flying high and distant but here we saw another one much clearer. We didn’t see him fish but maybe another time we will.

We called into a couple of reserves and apart from watching birds and admiring the views we were again entertained by a Red squirrel.

When we were down in the West country we had hoped to see Whinchats but had no luck, yesterday our luck changed. We were driving across heathland and we spotted one, when we got out and looked we saw there was a pair, brilliant(220)!  We also saw this lovely little Willow warbler.

There was so much more to our day I have seriously condensed it! We did have a nice meal together at The Angus Hotel in Blairgowrie before settling I for the night.

Today once again Delia collected u sand we drove of to meet Andy stopping at Rumble Bridge on the way, a lovely spot on the River Braan.IMG_4204 River Braan , Rumbling bridge

Unfortunatley the weather wasn’t so good today which as we were going high into the hills we knew it would spoil the views. But it didn’t spoil our birding as before long I spotted a Black grouse, fantastic, deffinitly a bird on our Scottish hit list!

Before the excitement had quietened we spotted a Red grouse, low down and half hidden but Red grouse none the less.

Andy and Ian were in the front car, Delia and I following when they stopped, Andy grabbed his camera and lay down in the road snapping away! Not too many places you could do that are there? Camera in hand I was soon joining in but not laying in the road, after all I would have had to get up again! Red grouse were the cause of the commotion but at first it was two little chicks, then we saw the parents too, beauties each of them.

The grouse were the highlight f the day but it was all so enjoyable and we were so fortunate to have two willing guides. On our way back down we first heard, then saw Wood warbler (223), no photo worthy of sharing.

Even on a grey sometimes drizzling day it was lovely to be high on the hills even if we had to use our imagination a bit regarding the views!

On our way home we visited the SWT site at the Loch of the Lowes where we knew they had nesting Osprey. First we went into the visitors centre which attracts lot of visitors at and around the feeders.

It was quiet on the water, a Mallard with her chicks, a pair of Great crested grebe and a few geese. High above the water though was the nest of the Osprey , the female sitting on her three hatchlings, let’s hope they make it too fledging at least. As we left the reserve we saw a group of Fallow deer on the move.

Tomorrow is our last day at Blairgowrie and we may explore more locally. We have an exciting plan for the early evening which if we are lucky may produce another tick or two!

Hello Scotland

Farewell Northumberland, hello Scotland.

We have had an excellent time based in Seahouses, staying at ‘Dunelm’ B & B and would recommend it to anyone, (unless you have a dog), heading that way. Not being a great fan of bridges I think it fair to say that I wasn’t looking forward to crossing the Forth bridge, although as someone pointed out we got over the first three ok so he was sure the Forth wouldn’t give us any problems (he’s his father’s son all right!) Due to that I didn’t want to stop for a break before we had crossed so were just debating where to stop when a text message arrived form Delia (a friend met through Birdforum.net) suggesting we visit Vane Farm RSPB on the way. We took her advice and were glad we did. (Turns out it has been re-named Loch Leven)IMG_4014 sign

It is a beautiful site and of course the vista is a tad different to Norfolk!

Also birds that we take for granted seemed like a luxury here, Lapwings for example.

We walked along by the water,  visiting each of the hides also taking advantage of the rather novel blinds! I thought they were excellent and was told they were made by volunteers, maybe they would like to adopt the idea in Norfolk?

We popped into the on site café and had some lunch, for me it was the best lentil soup I have had for a long time, maybe the cook would like to move to Norfolk too!

After lunch we walked on the tree lined hill on the other side of the road, we went as far as knees would tolerate! We looked at the feeders and to our delight this fellas was taking advantage of the free feed!

Ian decided to test out one of the benches to see if they were comfy enough for a quick snooze so I carried on strolling around and found this quiet little spot. Nearby I spotted a couple of little birds obviously busy nesting, a starling and a blackcap.

I think the quiet little corner was a bit noisier just a short while before as a group of children had been delving into the pond. Loads of sites we have visited have been hosting groups of children be they from school or as at Fairburn Ings a group of Rainbows. It is good to see youngsters being encouraged to discover nature at an early age.

Time to get on the road again, under an hour and we had arrived at Blairgowrie and our B & B ‘Rosebank’. It is in a lovely position and we received a warm welcome along with tea and scones so that can’t be bad! We went for a walk by the river which is beautiful. We spotted a couple of treats and I snapped a few pictures but I won’t post yet as I intend to return and try for better…watch this space.

Tomorrow Delia is kindly whisking us away so it will be a mystery tour for us!