Just got back from three days in Scotland, not all bird watching but did manage to get a little in. Reece was hopping for some big ID’s whilst we where there with reported Golden Eagle and Osprey and I was just hoping to catch a Diver having not seen one before.
We didn’t manage anything on the first day though we did see a Red-Breasted Merganser on Loch Lomond whilst wandering around the shops at Balloch.
On the second day we managed a trip up to the RSPB site at Inversnaid, but with it raining for most of the drive up I wasn’t hopeful about seeing any of our wish list.
As we drove down into the hotel car park we spotted a Hooded Crow hybrid, the usual white was not distinctive but you could still a slight paleness. I have read that the Hooded does cross breed with the Carrion and I’m sure this bird was the probable result of the same. Heading down the track and along the shores of Loch Lomond Reece spotted only his second Dipper feeding along the Loch edge. It didn’t hang around for long and could only get a record photo before it flew off. We tried a little loch watching but apart from the great views and the odd Gull saw nothing else of note. Heading up the track we stopped to watch a Greater Spotted Woodpecker feeding its young. From the same area we also watched a Buzzard circling on at the top of one of the peaks, the best shot we have is below. It was as you can see quite distant but observing its behaviour, it hung in the same spot in the air for several minutes, Reece thinks it may be a Rough Legged Buzzard. If anyone can help us with the ID of the bird (knowledge of the area or even an ID from the profile) it would be more than appreciated. We didn’t stop much longer with the rain and the midges but we did manage to see a Redstart and heard a Cuckoo, the first being a lifer for both of us. We are already planning a trip back next summer when the weather is hopefully better and can spend more time exploring the area. Heading back we noted Meadow Pipit, Whinchat, Grey Wagtail and 2 Red-Breasted Merganser on one of the smaller Lochs.
On the way back we had time to call in to see the Osprey at Dodds Wood. The walk up to the viewpoint didn’t take long and was quite pleasant in the sun. There are 2 viewpoints, the first overlooking the lake where, if luck may get views of them fishing. The best bet is to head straight to the top viewpoint and call in the other on the way back. The viewpoint has very good views of the nest and we were both surprised on how close we where. There are RSPB wardens milling around and we chatted to a few who were more than helpful. There are also plenty of scopes so you don’t have to hall your own up with you. I did manage a few photos but none good enough to post, it just means we’ll have to plan another visit soon. We stopped for about 15 minutes watching hoping to see the male fly in but no such luck, but we did catch an amazing if only brief view of a Goshawk flying around the hillside 20 meters below the viewpoint. Other notable sightings on the trip down were Willow Warbler, Wood Warbler, Blackcap and Tree Creeper.