Scotland Trip – Day 8 – 6/iv/15

We decided to spend day eight primarily looking for eagles. The first site that we visited will have to remain unnamed to protect the rare species breeding there. We arrived early morning, and wandered down a track, where there were several Redpoll in the trees, and a Snipe flushed beside the path. There were plenty of breeding Lapwing around, as well as the odd Curlew and an abundance of Red Grouse. Several raptors soared over the sky line, but they were all Buzzards and Kestrels.

After an hour or so, we headed back up the track, where we saw a distant male Black Grouse in the edge of a field. But the best bird was still to appear. Just before we reached the car, I noticed an Eagle circling high above us. It was a White-Tailed Eagle! It circled over head a few times, before heading away to the north. These were much better views than I had had before, and I even managed a record shot this time…

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Next we moved on to the well known raptor site of the Findhorn valley. We saw quite a number of raptors as we headed down the valley. There were over ten Buzzards in total, at least three Kestrels, a Peregrine and a Red Kite.

After an hour or so, little else had appeared, so we took a slow drive along the Farr road to the north-west. The only birds over the sky line were double-figure counts of Buzzards, a couple more Kestrels and a Raven.

Reaching the end of the road, we took a left and headed along to Loch Ruthven. Viewing from the hide, we had good views of three Slavonian Grebes, two of which appeared to be a pair, and were showing some courtship behaviour. Photographing the birds was tricky however, as I was shooting into the sun.

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P1250245 Ced Ced2There were also an abundance of Toads, and we had to be careful where we put our feet.

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At around half five, we headed back along the Farr Road, picking out yet more Buzzards and Kestrels on the way. There were also plenty of Red Grouse, and a number of Red Deer.P1250279 Ced

P1250267 Ced Ced2P1250241 CedWe arrived back in the Findhorn valley, at about six. There was a male Goosander on the river, but little else on view at first. About an hour (and several Buzzards) later, we noticed a larger raptor, but it immediately dissapeared behind the ridge. It soon drifted back into view, and revealed itself to be a 3rd-year Golden Eagle! We got the scopes on it and enjoyed decent views as it circled in front of the mountain. Dad said that he had another bird in his view, and we quickly realised that two 1st-years had joined the original bird. There were now three Eagles circling above the hillside in front of us! They all had full crops, implying that there was a food source nearby – perhaps just out of view over the ridge.

The birds began to split up, and dissapeared as quickly as they had appeared, but we were pleased with the views we had had. We headed home pleased that our day looking for eagles had produced four birds; three Goldens and a White-Tailed!

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