Saturday, July 28, 2012

Kindrogan Field Course

Leaving Beaver Creek Lodge in Speyside on 8 June, I took the train south to Pitlochry for an annual undergraduate field course in Environmental Biology based at Kindrogan Field Centre in Perthshire. After many early morning outings at 03:00 am, long walks to the study sites, and sampling of several malts on the final evening, I've uploaded a trip list to my main site here: Kindrogan 2012 Birding Trip Report. Highlights this year included a male Pied Flycatcher which sang continously all week from the oaks in the centre car park, and two different Quails singing in Strathardle on 12 June. Other interesting species included Goosander, Red Grouse, Osprey, Woodcock, Tree Pipit, Dipper, Redstart, Ring Ouzel, Lesser Redpoll and Common Crossbill. Lots of sound recordings were made and I'll post some in due course, particularly the different song types making up the repertoire of the Pied Flycatcher.

Re-stock on Kindrogan Hill supporting Tree Pipit and Willow Warbler

Larch plantation - typically quiet with just Goldcrest, Coal Tit and Treecreeper

Long-range view towards Pitlochry

Glen Brerachan

View of Strathardle from Creag na Cuinneige with Straloch in the foreground


Conifer plantations

Vegetation analysis on Kindrogan Hill

Dew or raindrops on a spider's web

View of the lower east slope of Kindrogan Hill from Creag na Cuinneige

Friday, July 27, 2012


Most of the week 1-8 June was spent relaxing around the Aviemore and Abernethy area but one day we made a trip up to the far north-west of Scotland to Handa island. On the drive to Scourie, we found breeding Greenshank on a brief stop, followed by several Twite in breeding plumage around Tarbet where we took a small boat across to the island. Our main reason for visiting was to observe the breeding skuas, as well as the seabird colonies including Kittiwake, Guillemot, Razorbill and Puffin.
Arctic Skua (Stercorarius parasiticus) resting on heather moorland.
One of the white-sand beaches with Arctic Terns breeding on the rocky islets

Despite the wind, I made some sound recordings
Cliff wall crammed with auks on every ledge

Speyside Honeymoon

The morning after our wedding on 31 May we left Lochside House Hotel at Loch o' th' Lowes in Ayshire (where we woke up to the sounds of Snipe and Redshank), and headed north to the Highlands for our honeymoon. Since we would be travelling half way around the globe in the coming month I thought at least we should spend some time in our own country. I say that, but in reality I had an undergrad field course near Pitlochry from the 8-15 June, so we relaxed at the luxurious Beaver Creek Lodge near Aviemore before departing for something more adventurous around the world later in June. 

The highlights included Slavonian Grebe, Crested Tit, Scottish/Parrot Crossbill, Snow Bunting, Dotterel, and Goldeneye with broods of young.

Scots Pine woodland at Abernethy where we searched for Crested Tits and Scottish/Parrot Crossbills

Streaks of sunlight over Loch Morlich and Abernethy Forest on the climb up Cairn Gorm

Walkers silhouetted on Cairn Gorm

One of three female Eurasian Dotterel (Charadrius morinellus) on the Cairn Gorm plateau