Friday, 8 July 2011

Speyside - Abernethy area

Since we were staying practically in Abernethy Forest, quite a lot of the wildlife-watching action took place there. I got up very early most days and went for a stroll, camera in hand, through this fragrant, lichen-draped, absolute wonderland of a pinewood.

My early starts were rewarded by great views of Roe Deer grazing in the birch-dominated outskirts of the forest. I actually had better views when out running - the deer seemed far less concerned by a running human than one creeping along with a camera, for some reason.

The woods were quiet. Every so often there'd be the rustle of a Red Squirrel up a tree, the dry calls of a crossbill party going overhead, or the squeaks and trills of tits feeding high in the canopy. Most of them were Coal Tits but I saw Cresties most days too, and soon learned their distinctive chittering call.

This one was collecting food. I guess it had fledglings to feed but I didn't manage to see them.

A bevy of Abernethy babies - Coal Tit, Goldcrest and Tree Pipit.

We went to the Osprey Centre on the Monday to say hello to EJ. I won't bore you with our very distant and obscured photos of her, but all seemed well there.

Bear with me, I have a reason for including this boring photo of feeders near the Osprey Centre. These two are the ones at which the winter webcam points, except the webcam shot doesn't show that massive drainpipe. I've spent much time watching this webcam, and have puzzled over why the nut levels go down in the left feeder and not the right. Now I know why.

Loch Garten itself, though very pretty (you'll have to take my word for that as we forgot to take any scenics of it), isn't exactly teeming with birdlife. One species you are guaranteed to see at this time of year, though, is Common Sandpiper.

At a small, marshy pond near Loch Garten, we enjoyed reasonable views of Northern Damselfly, one of the most range-restricted Odonata in the UK.

There were several Common Lizards basking in the thin sunshine by this lovely pond. This one looks comfy on his bed of sphagnum moss.

Another nice surprise at the pond - a Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary, which refused to pose nicely in an open situation.

The same SPB Frit, showing its underside. We also saw a pair 'in cop', very tucked down among the marshy vegetation.

1 comment:

Cirrus said...

Such a joy to read and a feast for the eyes.