Sunday, 16 March 2014

Scotland Journey Pt 11 - Falls Of Clyde, Peregrines & Dippers

So on to my extra and definately final day of our Scotland trip.

We decided to spend the extra day at New Lanark World Heritage Site and The Falls Of Clyde reserve.
New Lanark.(All 3 photos taken by Majella Fox)
 The first falls at New Lanark are Dundaff Linn.Here we saw a Grey Wagtail on the wall you can see at the bottom of the above photo.Also a Dipper(photos later in the blog) was seen on the right section of the river after that fork above.
Dundaff Linn.(Photo by Majella Fox)
It's a fair walk to the next waterfall over uneven ground and up steps.
Corra Linn.(Photo by Majella Fox)
The Falls Of Clyde are famous for having the fastest members of the animal kingdom on the planet breeding there.Peregrine Falcons.They can reach around 60mph on level flight but during their hunting stoop can reach up to an amazing 200mph.
When we got to the viewpoint we first noticed the male Peregrine (Tiercel) sat on the ledge opposite us.
After a look around we found the Female in a tree 30yds from the male.
We spent an hour watching them both and became sort of volunteer wardens as lots of people walking and jogging the trail asked where they were and questions about them.
One person asked "Can they fly quicker than a car?"
I wanted to respond "No, because cars can't fly";) but just mentioned the speeds they can reach.
After about 45 minutes the female flew down and past the male disappearing down river.This made the male retreat on his ledge and lay down out of the way.
Once she had been gone a few minutes he came back out and returned to his previous position.

An hour spent with these magnificent birds of prey made all my arthritic pain from the walk disappear, better than any prescribed medication.

On the way back I noticed lots of Scarlet Elf Cup fungi along the river bank.
The walk back didn't feel as bad as the one there and on return to New Lanark we checked further down river from Dundaff Linn in the shallower sections of the river and found what we were hoping for.
A Dipper.Bobbing up and down on the rocks and diving into the fast stream.
A great way to end our trip.

Total Bird list for trip -
65.Waxwings(New for 2014)(Forgot to add yesterday) 66.Grey Wagtail(New for 2014) 67.Dipper(New for 2014) 68.Peregrine Falcon

Thanks to all who have read through the 11 parts to this trip and who have browsed my photos.I very much appreciate you all for taking the time to do this.I hope you have all liked the posts and maybe found new wildlife and places to visit on your own trips.

Please continue to check out my blogposts though they will only be Weekly at best due to being back to work so limited on our days out.

Many thanks again.Take care.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Scotland Journey Pt 10 - Red Kites & Waxwings

So onto our planned last day, leaving our cabin in the Highlands near Roybridge and heading south to Stirling.
We made a stop in Fort William to check for otters but the tide was a bit too high and the weather was very wet and windy so we didn't stay long.The only company we got were two Cormorants and a Harbour Seal.
So back through Glencoe and into Killin where we picked up a couple of bargains from the local thrift shop:) Quickly followed by another stop in Callander for more scouring of the Charity stores but without any luck this time.

Our final stop before our hotel in Stirling was to be the Argaty Red Kite Farm near Doune.It was still very overcast with drizzle in the air but an hour or two with Red Kites is too good to pass up when we are nearby anyway.

We were however totally surprised to find our first Waxwings of the Winter there.Nine of them in a nearby bush feeding on red berries.I was actually trying to photograph a Red Kite in flight when a sharp tug on my coat nearly pulled me over as Majella got my attention to turn me around to see our most colourful Winter visitors.
This one was going to eat fresh buds....
...til he dropped it.
After spending so much time with the Waxwings we had to hurry our pace to get to the viewing hide in time for the Red Kite feeding session.
We are now in Stirling and wondering about tomorrow and our trip back south to Lincolnshire.After much thought we have decided that Day 10 won't be our last:)

Instead of going home in one go we will head down to Gretna for tomorrow evening but plan to stop in Lanarkshire & Falls Of Clyde reserve.

So sorry to make you read an extra post;) but it will definately be the last one tomorrow, honest:)

Thank you again for taking the time to read through everything and look at my photos.

Til tomorrow:)

Scotland Journey Pt 9 - Watching Mating Golden Eagles on Skye

After 4 days without rain Friday looked like it wanted to make up for it.We had a 2hr drive west to Kyle Of Lochalsh to meet up with a friend to spend a few hours in Isle of Skye which takes its name from the old Norse sky-a, meaning 'cloud island'

I looked out the window and saw this Pied Wagtail on the bird table.
 The rain and wind was unrelenting as we made our way through Glen Shiel past the Red Deer and Feral goats grazing by the roadside.
Eilean Donan Castle.
The winds around Raasay were whipping up the water creating spindrifts.I tried my best not to be blown over while trying to get a photo of one.
As our friend Jan knows Skye very well she takes us down small roads that give us a chance of some wildlife.
Lots of gulls and Hooded Crows on the road to Moll.
We headed to the Aros centre near Portree for lunch and saw 3 Grey herons in the trees on the edge of the carpark.
Down another coastal track from Portree we had a view over the water and spotted 2 Red Throated Divers.
We had seen 9 Common Buzzards up to now and a Kestrel but not our main objective but going down another tiny track that I would've never noticed we saw large birds over the ridge.
Finding a place to park we tried to keep up the them as they closed their wings and fell from the sky.After seeing them through the scope we immedaitely realised it was a pair of Golden Eagles displaying, twisting in flight one way, then another, attempting to talon clasp as the passed one another.
We watched in awe for around 20 minutes til one landed on the ridge, quickly followed by the other and then we watched in disbelief as we had the priviledge of seeing wild Golden Eagles mating.
They were only viewable through the scope so these photos are very blurred and far away.
 You an just make out the two eagles, one on top of the other in the pic below.
 My heart was thumping loudly in my chest and my friend who has watched them for years couldn't believe what we had just witnessed, probably a once in a lifetime experience.

Back in Kyle of Lochalsh to go to our car we spotted the lifeboat rushing out, and now the Coastguard and Police on the Skye bridge.The lifeboat moved back and forth around the bridge supports looking like they were searching for someone:(
I still have no idea what happened or if everything turned out okay.

After saying our goodbyes to Jan and going our separate ways we took the long steady drive back through the gloom and rain to Roybridge still amazed at the Golden Eagle spectacle we had seen.

Total Bird list for trip -
64.Golden Eagle(New for 2014)