Sunday, 22 June 2014

Brilliant Bempton!

Today we went to Bempton Cliffs to meet up with Toby Carter and his Dad, Gary who I know from Twitter.

Before we arrived at Bempton we had a check on a Willow Warbler nest what we found at Wykeham forest but sadly it had been predated but we did get our best ever views of a Goshawk which flew really close by us.
After we then headed of to Bempton to meet Toby and Gary. In the roof of the visitor centre there was Swallows nesting, it was great seeing the parents feeding the chicks. When we reached the cliffs we went to a series of viewing points and as we got further along all the sea birds seemed to show much better. We also from one of the view points got brilliant views of a single Puffin.
At one of the viewpoints Toby spotted a very nice Meadow Pipit sitting on a fence post, it allowed us to get very close. Other birds around the cliffs included Razorbill, Guillemot, Gannets, Kittiwakes and there was also quite a few more Puffins. Quite a few birds had chicks and also loads of them were on nests.


Meadow Pipit

After we went to this bit where Gannets seemed to be coming really close and they were. They were only a few feet above our head and some landed really close to us.

Sadly for us it was time to head back but on the way back Toby was telling us about a Bee Orchid in the Bempton car park. When we reached the car park he showed us it and what a stunning little thing it was, it colours were amazing!
Bee Orchid
it was a really great day out, thanks for a great day Toby and Gary.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014


Day 1
On 26th of May we set of for Scotland. The drive was about 7hrs so it was quite a long time. We eventually arrived in Scotland at around 3pm. On this day we didn't do much than just have a walk down to the local river where we saw some showy juvenile Song Thrush also on this river throughout the holiday we also got some Dipper on it. Just outside our Cabin we also had feeders, on them we got mostly Chaffinches and Siskins.

Song Thrush

Day 2
In the morning we went to Loch Killin where we found some nests, Common Sandpipers, Meadow Pipits and Oystercatchers were all found also we had a fly over Goosander. After we decided to go to Loch Garten in hope of seeing the Ospreys but on the way we stopped of at Loch Ruthven in hope of seeing the Slavonian Grebes but sadly we had no luck. On the way to Loch Garten my Dad spotted something big sitting on some mud just at the side of this loch, he had a look through his bins and told us that it was an Osprey! It wasn't long before it flew of but what a great start to the day.
As soon as we arrived there was an Osprey sitting on the nest watching over 3 little chicks and overhead there was another 2 Ospreys. After we had a walk through the wood where we had nice but brief views of Crested Tit and incredible views of a juvenile Treecreeper which allowed us to get very close.

Day 3
Today we went to Tomatin in hope of seeing a Golden Eagle or maybe even a White Tailed Eagle. Once we had reached the spot we saw some birders with scopes and bins so we asked them if they had seen anything and they said that they have seen a White Tailed Eagle! We got out of the car and started looking but sadly we had no luck accept for a fly over Goosander and a nice Mountain Hare in amongst some rocks. After a while of waiting we decided to head back but on the way back through the mountains my Mum spotted a massive bird flying low over the trees, we quickly got into an area where we could see the bird much better, at this point there was no doubt that it was an Eagle, it dwarfed the Buzzards which were mobbing it, I looked through my bins to realise that it was the White Tailed Eagle! It circled fairly low above the car for a good 5 minutes, it was an absolutely incredible bird, plus to see one fairly close was amazing!   

White Tailed Eagle
Day 4
Today we had a walk around Loch Tarff and then we had a walk around a heath area. There wasn't much birds on the Loch but then a little further on my Dad spotted a different looking bird sat on the water, we had a look through our bins to realise that it was a cracking Black Throated Diver! We kept creeping closer and closer until we were at the waters edge, it kept drifting further away but at first we got nice views of this fantastic bird. While we were driving to the heath area we spotted a bird sitting on a fence so we pulled into a little parking area, the bird was a stunning little Whinchat! Another bird then came along and it was now a male and female, suddenly we saw the female drop down and she stayed down for a few minutes so we thought she may have been on a nest, we quickly went over to realise that she was on a nest and she was on 4 eggs! We left quite quickly as we didn't want to disturb them to much. Also in the area there was several Stonechats. On the way back I spotted some fantastic Black Grouse in a field not to far away from our car and they were also lekking as well! So we found a place to park and we got really nice views of them.
Black Throated Diver

Black Grouse
Day 5
In the morning we went looking for the Black Throated Diver again where this time we got much better views plus the light was much better as well and we saw some more Whinchats where they also showed a little better than last time to. Afterwards we then went for a look around the bit where we saw the Osprey on the mud back on the second day. Pretty much as soon as we arrived the first bird we saw was a fantastic Spotted Flycatcher flying around a gorse bush and at one point we saw it catch some flies. There wasn't much on the lake other than a pair of distant Goosanders and a few Common Sandpipers. We then went to an area in Moray in hope of seeing some Bottlenose Dolphins. As soon as we arrived we could see some of them in the distance so we went a little bit closer, they didn't stay long, we saw them for about 5mins before they left although we didn't see them for long they were still very nice to see. There was also several Common Terns flying around.
Black Throated Diver


Spotted Flycatcher

Bottlenose Dolphin

Day 6
Sadly this was our last full day in Scotland but this day was a fantastic way to end the trip on. We had arranged to go up into the Cairngorms with Andy Howard (a person I know of Twitter) who does guided tours up there to show you some of the fantastic wildlife which lives up there. We were hoping to see Dotterel and Ptarmigan which are two species I have always wanted to see for a while. We arrived at the spot at about quarter to seven in the morning. The day started of very well with a cracking Ring Ouzel flying around some of the hills. On the way up we spotted some Red Grouse in the heather and there was also tons of Meadow Pipits flying around. Once we had got about half way up Andy pointed out the first Ptarmigan of the day and what a little cracker it was!

After a little while we started walking back up and on the way we also spotted some more of the cracking Ptarmigan. After a few miles walk we eventually reached the spot of where the Dotterels area. We had a good search through their spot but we couldn't find any of them until we heard one call, we followed the call but we still couldn't find it. We had been searching for about 20 minutes. In the distance we heard some more calling and then we saw some people looking up onto a hillside and that was where the call was coming from so we went over and soon enough we were enjoying brilliant views of two stunning Dotterel on the hillside, we kept on creeping closer and closer until we were only just a few feet away! It was an absolute amazing experience to get so close to them, their colours are fantastic. It was probably my best birding highlight this year so far!

Sometimes one of them came to close that I couldn't even get the full bird in the photo, they didn't even seem bothered that we were only a few feet away! After a while we left them in peace and then we went looking for Mountain Hares. We found a fair few, one of them came a little bit closer than the others plus we saw another Dotterel but his one wasn't as showy as the other two but it was still nice to see another one. After that we then came across another Ptarmigan which showed very well sitting up on rocks and then after that we spotted a group of Reindeer up on a hill.
Mountain Hare

Sadly after that we had to go back. Thanks for showing us all the great wildlife Andy!
This was an amazing end to my Scotland trip