Thursday, 6 May 2010

Speyside and the Cairngorms Day 1 - dancing slavs, dolphins and a dipper

Having picked up the hire car in Inverness - the first goal was to connect with slavonian grebe (Podiceps auritus) at Loch Ruthven an important UK breeding site for the birds. Two pairs were seen - one of which gave eye-watering views close to the hide. They or the second pair later overwhelmed us with a courtship display and "hearting" as we were heading back to the car. 

A single distant whooper swan (Cygnus cygnus) gave added value.

Chanory point on the Black Isle provided an opportunity to watch bottle nose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) only meters from the shore where the rising tide was pushing the salmon (Salmo salar) against the undersea cliff walls.

At least 5 individual bottle nose dolphins were present including a very pale calf the locals have named "Breeze". A common seal (Phoca vitulina) was also in the area. 

Sea-birds included singles of both sandwich tern (Sterna sandvicensis) and gannet (Morus bossanus), two pair of distant eider (Somateria mollissima) and a black throated diver (Gavia artica).

A walk along the Spey riverbank in front of The Bridge Inn at Aviemore in the early evening, gave us our first sightings of osprey (Pandion haliaetus), dipper (Cinclus cinclus), common sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos) and goosander (Mergus merganser).

All pictures courtesy Ian Loyd

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