Starting just after dawn, we headed down to Loch Garten RSPB for the Caperwatch. Both Ospreys were present – the male called Odin had returned the day before – but there was no sign of any Capercaillies.
There was a singing Tree Pipit in front of the hide at around seven o’clock – my first of the year.
As the weather was clear and reasonably calm, we decided that it was time to make the trek up Cairngorm. Despite the fact that it was warm in the valley, it was not much above freezing on the tops, and there was a strong, cold wind.
The ascent of the mountain produced very little in the way of birds, with only a Red Grouse and a few Meadow Pipits. We had a quick bite to eat in the Ptarmigan restaurant, before heading out west towards ‘Cnap Coire na Spreidhe’. This area was a little more sheltered, and I noticed a pale blob on a rock about 20 metres away, which turned out to be a Ptarmigan. A few moments later a Snow Bunting flew past, giving only brief views.
As we headed around the edge of the peak and back towards the restaurant, we saw another five Ptarmigan, and some showed very well…