Monday, 10 March 2014

Scotland Journey Pt 5 - American Coot or Death Of A Hermit Crab

I couldn't decide on a title for this post so put 2 lol.I've waited for over an hour for the photos to upload and now its 12.50am...yawn
Also I have got through half a bottle of Pale Cream & 3 glasses of whisky so if this post makes no sense you know why;)

We were up early as we had a planned 2 hour drive up to Loch Flemington, but as always with Scotland you can get easily distracted by the scenery and other wildlife.
This was the view 5 minutes from our cabin in Glen Spean at 7.30am
Whilst taking the above photo I noticed birds in a nearby tree which turned out to be a flock of 6 Crossbills.
We arrived at Loch Flemington with hope to see my first ever American Coot and within 5 minutes it was there swimming in full view and diving for weeds.
There were also a few Mute Swans on the loch which didn't take too kindly to our presence on the bank so came to sort us out with the odd hiss and peck on the boots.
While we were there we were also happy to see a flock of 6 Whooper Swans land on the loch.
An hour was spent with my first ever American Coot before heading into Inverness to do some shopping and get lunch.
From Inverness we braved the traffic on the Kessock Bridge and headed onto the Black Isle and towards Chanonry Point, famed for its views of Bottlenose Dolphins.
I knew due to the tide that we had no hope of seeing dolphins but we did see 3 Harbour Seals and were entertained by the presence of a pair of Herring Gulls.
This one decided it was bathtime.
The water at Chanonry was totally calm and so aided the Gulls in their quest for lunch with crabs high on the menu.
The calm waters of the Moray Firth.(photo by Majella Fox)
The calm waters meant the Herring Gulls created some stunning reflections.

One of the Herring Gulls soon got what it wanted and flew to shore with a Hermit Crab in its bill.
It proceeded to tear apart the Hermit Crab on the beach in front of us.
Not soon after the 2nd Herring Gull also caught its lunch in the form of another Hermit Crab.
After the Gull had finished its lunch we headed over to see what had been left, just the shell and one claw.(Photo by Majella Fox)
 Starlings that roosted on the Chanonry Point lighthouse were out drying after bathing in the puddles from the recent rainstorm.
It reached the middle of the afternoon so with a 2 hour drive ahead of us we decided to call it a day and head back south to Fort William.Instead of going straight down the A9 though we went west onto the A851 to Fort Augustus.
A lot of roadworks for the widening of this road slowed us down but it enabled us to spot 4 Red Kites over the nearby fields.
This was quickly followed by the sightings of 4 Stonechats amongst the heather and a lonesome Red Grouse that was too quick for my camera.
Whilst taking the above photo I never noticed the much larger mammals, 6 Roe Deer until they ran past me showing me their white behinds.
Red Deer also occupied the heather laden hills.
An hour later and we were back in view of the magnificent Nevis range, covered with last nights snowfall.
A gorgeous day in the Scottish Highlands produced some stunning wildlife.
Total Bird List for trip -
52.Hooded Crow(New for 2014) 53.Crossbill(New for 2014) 54.Red Legged Partridge 55.American Coot(1st ever sighting) 56.Red Grouse(New For Year) 57.Stonechat(New For Year)

Definately our busiest day yet and with new sightings for the year and a "lifer" it turned into a fantastic day in the Highlands.

Thanks for reading and ploughing through the endless photos of todays blogpost;)

Tomorrow may give us another new sighting in the form of a Kumlien's Gull in Mallaig:)

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