Friday, 8 July 2011

Speyside - a little further afield

Tulloch Moor is an open, heathy offshoot of Abernethy Forest, noted for its Black Grouse. We wandered around here on the Thursday, in search of dragonflies and what have you.

A dragon! This big beast clattered past us down the track, crashing to a sudden halt on a nearby clump of heather. It's a splendid male Common Hawker.

Another colourful little monster. This Green Tiger Beetle was hurrying purposefully along the track. We didn't detain him for very long.

Orchids aren't my strong point. My best guess for this one is Heath Fragrant - anyone got any more of a clue?

The moor was quiet for birds. I think I did glimpse a Black Grouse disappearing into cover. There was also an incongruous flock of Mistle Thrushes bombing around, and the ubiquitous Meadow Pipits, plus Coal Tits wherever there were trees.

One of my favourite moths. We saw lots of moths on this trip and I couldn't ID many of them, but this one's easy - Chimney Sweeper. Small, velvety black with neat white trim on the forewings.

We ended the visit to Tulloch Moor with a rather unsatisfactory view of a White-faced Darter. Then, in the afternoon, we had a general drive around and a walk along the banks of the Spey.

 The river, and a Rob surveying it. I was able to take this photo because Rob had pinched my 300mm prime lens and given me the 150-500mm Bigmos instead, allowing for a wider-angle shot.

Here, the Spey is a wide and shallow river with shingly shores interspersed with steep sandy banks. The latter hold nesting Sand Martins. Life at the colony was in full flow - many of the birds were collecting feathers to line their tunnel nests, while other more advanced breeders had mouthfuls of insects for their chicks.

A few Curlews and Oystercatchers joined Common Gulls on shingle spits and islands. A lone Dipper fled downriver, seen by Rob but only heard by me.

Common Sandpiper. Another one. This bird interestingly swam from this island to the next one - I was so surprised by this behaviour that I forgot to photograph it.

After our riverside walk, we drove down a minor road from Carrbridge just for a look. The weather was very volatile, resulting in this epic rainbow.

Further down the road, this gorgeous fledgling Meadow Pipit posed beautifully in a stray shaft of sun.

 One more baby - a fledgling Whinchat. This is actually from Monday morning but I wasn't sure where else to put it.

1 comment:

Cirrus said...

How beautifully presented. Wonderful photographs and narrative. Thank you