Previously "Diary of a Birding Medic"

Previously "Rugby Birder"

Monday, 31 August 2015

Can I Join The "Tufty Club"? - 29th August 2015

Red Squirrel

Every time I see a Red Squirrel I think of my childhood and "Tufty Fluffytail" adopted for safety messages, narrated by Bernard Cribbins. It must have appeared around the early 1960's and preceded the "Green Cross Code"! Who can fail to admire these characters as they bound through the Scottish forests?

Red Squirrel

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Scottish Birding in Early Autumn (3) - 27th August 2015


Today was to be a long one, a two hour drive up to Ullapool in order to catch the ferry to Stornoway and a repeat for the return journey. The main aim of course was to view sea birds while dashing for shelter on deck when the heavy squalls descended! Ullapool harbour held several Red Throated Divers which got everyone off to a good start! While waiting to check in on the ferry in Ullapool, I couldn't resist this Rook!


Once the ferry set sail, numerous Dolphins were soon spotted with Harbour Porpoises and Common Seals. Birds of note were Gannet; Shag; Common Tern; Fulmar; Kittiwake; Great Shua; Arctic Skua; Manx Shearwater; Guillemot; Razorbill; Hooded Crow; and Storm Petrel (last seen by me 45 years ago!)


Great Skua

Manx Shearwater


Hooded Crow (Stornoway Harbour)

This Trawler heading into Stornoway had many good birds in its wake!

Scottish Birding in Early Autumn (2) - 26th August 2015

Red Grouse

Our first full day of birding saw us out at first light and before breakfast looking for Black Grouse in the Dorback area. The birds well hidden and we were beginning to think they would not show, but eventually several heads appeared, soon followed by the flight of c14 birds! While waiting, some good birds were found including Red Grouse; Merlin; Swift; Goshawk and Sparrowhawk. Several Roe Deer were also seen across the moors.

Roe Deer

Black Grouse

Mistle Thrush

After breakfast, our first stop was at Avielochan in the hope of Slavonian Grebe but we were out of luck! We had to make do with Goldeneye, Wigeon, Teal and uncommon in this area - Coot and Moorhen! Grey Wagtail was distantly observed. Onwards and a look at the heavily disturbed (logging) Inverlaidnan Estate. A good tally of birds were found including Goldcrest, Crested Tit, Common Crossbill and Siskin. Light conditions and fast moving, high birds did not provide for good photographic opportunities!

The Strathdearn area (also called the Findhorn Valley) drew a blank for Eagles but did give views of Raven, Kestrel and Peregrine plus Curlew and Dippers on the rivers and streams.

Finally, we ended up at Lochindorb where a summer plumaged Black Throated Diver was found, across the water and in turbulent water. An Osprey drifted across the water and nearby, Red Grouse obliged at close quarters.


Red Grouse

Other wildlife included Red Squirrel; Roe Deer; Red Deer; Wild Goats; Sika Deer; A Scotch Argus Butterfly and numerous Pipistrelle Bats.