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Saturday, 8 May 2010

Speyside and the Cairngorms Day 3 - Osprey, an awesome pair of tits and a pine martin

A very late start to the day had us slow the previous days pacing down, and we headed back to Loch Na Garten and Abernathy Forest for an afternoon stroll in the Calendonian woodland.

An Osprey hovering over the River Spey at Boat Na Garten gave great value in the fine blue sky and sunshine before languidly drifting off north.













In a very small body of water to the left of the road a pair of slavonian grebe and some greylag geese (Anser anser) were on what we presumed was breeding territory?

At Abernathy Forest we walked down to Loch Na Garten again where goldeneye (Bucephala clangula), red breasted merganser (Mergus serrator) and goosander were present. Goldcrest (Regulus regulus) and chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) seemed to be singing in every other tree.

Loch Mallachie had at least two pair (5 birds seen) of common sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos) providing a constant piping soundscape as we passed the time of day and traded sightings with a retired local birdwatcher for half an hour or so.

Our sociability was rewarded later when a distant whistle from the gentlemen put us on to what turned out to be a pair of crested tit (Lophophanes cristatus) on part of their feeding loop through the mid canopy of the woodland. The record shot below simply failing to do justice to the views we had.













Following an unsuccessful early evenings stake out in the same location for the "probable" Scottish wildcat, we headed to Loch an Eileen for the Speyside Wildlife pine martin hide.

http://www.speysidewildlife.co.uk/

During the briefing car side for the evenings nightwatching event four Osprey were seen overhead, three in close proximity to each other, two of the four with fish between talons.

Following an excellent and informative introduction to Scottish mammals - pine martin in particular, and the previously documented discussion regarding our "wildcat" we waited in the hide until the very last moments when a single male pine martin appeared on the feeding station in front of us for 15 - 20 mins.

Singles of badger (Meles meles), roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) and wood mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus) along with a herd of red deer were also seen.

All photographs courtesy Ian Loyd

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