Saturday, 26 May 2018

Scotland 17th May to 20th May

Thursday 17th May – Little Glen Shee

It took us most of the day to drive to Perth as we hadn’t started early. After tea we decided to visit Little Glen Shee. It’s a short drive from Perth being a small glen with low summits holding a small grouse moor. We parked and walked up past the game keepers cottage with the sound of Red Grouse ringing in our ears. A Red Kite drifted over the hillside whilst the stream held a Dipper which quickly disappeared around the bend in the burn out of sight.

We walked a good way down the glen as it was a fine evening, we saw what we expected on the bird front with lots of Red Deer on the skyline. A couple of Short-eared Owls provided us with entertainment as did a pair of Whinchat, we didn’t stay long but it was a good start to the week.

The view down Little Glen Shee

Friday 18th May – The Angus Coast

We had originally wanted to go climbing today but we were both tired so we decided against it and choose a little birding along the Angus Coast instead. We started at West Haven, Carnoustie where unfortunately the tide was a good way out, so we continued to Red Head picking up Puffin and other Auks plus a Peregrine was seen hunting along the cliff edge. A singing Corn Bunting and a good number of Tree Sparrows were both new birds for the year.

On the journey back we popped into West Haven again where we saw upto five Whimbrel, plus a few commoner waders. Just as we were leaving a couple of Sandwich Terns were seen up on the rocks by the car park.

Saturday 19th May – Meall Tairneachan and Farragon Hill

Today we were well rested and travelled the short journey from Perth to these two Corbetts, which stand around ten miles north of Aberfeldy. We parked opposite the track to the a Baryte Mine that lies between the two peaks and started the march up through the forest following the track to the mine, and although steep we were soon out of the forest and approaching the base of Meall Tairmeachan in little over an hour. From the road it was little more than a quick 15 minute slog to the summit, where the views were extensive with Farragon Hill looking worryingly distant.

The summit of Meall Tairneachan
The summit of Meall Tairneachan
Meall Tairneachan
We dropped down to reach the road which eventually led over a ridge to the Baryte Mine which was deserted, I assume due to it being the weekend and not the fault of the Royal Wedding! The track led over another ridge and then the view ahead was filled with the bulk of Farragon Hill. We headed up the slope to the south following a break in the heather then traversed along to reach the base of the hill.

It was then a steep climb to the summit avoiding a few crags, soon we were sat at the summit admiring views and eating our lunch.

The summit of Farragon Hill

Meal Tairneach with the Baryte mine the visible scar below the summit.

The summit of Farragon Hill

The final slopes of Farragon Hill

We followed a faint path off the summit and were soon lost a lot of height, we looked back to see two other walkers standing at the cairn the first people we had seen all day. Like buses another walker met us coming the other way. We soon covered the rough ground and rejoined the track and past the mine, then over the ridge to Meall Tairneach and then back through the forest and the car..

Bird wise there were good numbers of Willow Warbler near the start in the conifers and a Hen Harrier flew overhead, but as a general rule apart from Meadow Pipit it was devoid of birds.

Friday 27th April

Not working today, so Joy and I though the Reservoir would be quiet due to the heavy rain that was falling. We arrived approximately 8.30am and proceeded to walk around. There was a single Common Tern that passed straight through, plus a single Common Sandpiper.

There was @ 20 to 30 hirundines the majority of which were Swallow although I did add House Martin the Reservoir list for the year. The rain brought out at least Song Thrush which were seen feeding at different locations. A single male Shoveler was unexpected but apart from c.50 Tufted Duck and six Gadwall there was little of note.

This afternoon I visited Wishaw area where I saw a single Wheatear, a couple of Yellow Wagtail and a selection of commoner birds.

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Sunday 13th May

Have been over quite a few times recently but it has been quiet as a whole, as it has across the Midlands generally. I have had up to three Common Sandpiper but passage has been really poor.

Thursday – Cannock Chase
Joy and I saw plenty of Tree Pipit, Cuckoo plus Redstart and Pied Flycatcher.

Thursday – Shustoke Reservoir
Thursday there was a good number of Swift with @300 present with @200 hirundines, although there was no Hobby to take advantage of the situation.

Friday – Middleton RSPB
I took Joy and her sister to Middleton RSPB where we saw a good number of species including a Grey Plover (very difficult), Greenshank, Snipe and a couple of Yellow Wagtail. However, we missed a Temminck’s Stint which was unfortunate, but I did see rather a lot of them in India.

Saturday – Middleton RSPB
We went over later in the day to avoid the crowds, and although the Temminck’s Stint had not been seen we thought we would go anyway. In the two visits we recorded over 70 species which for the Midlands is good. There were a couple of Common Sandpiper and Ringed Plover which we didn’t see yesterday. Plus the Snipe was on the west scrape again, which is late!

Sunday – Shustoke Reservoir
I got over about 8.30am hoping to avoid the crowds but the Reservoir was very busy so I dropped down the bank and made my way over the river to work the fields between the Reservoir and Hogrill’s End. I heard plenty of Blackcap and Whitethroat plus a few Chiffchaff and a couple of Willow Warbler, but I haven’t come across Lesser Whitethroat or Garden Warbler so far this year. I saw a single Yellow Wagtail and a pair of Grey Wagtail. The highlight for me was a Kingfisher that flew past carrying food.