Friday, 14 March 2014

Scotland Journey Pt 8 - Martens, Mice & Badgers

Nearing the end of our journey:( but spent most of the day in The Cairngorms.On the way up to the Cairngorms Railway carpark the snow was piled high at the roadside.The carpark itself was very busy with skiers & snowboarders getting suited up for a day on the slopes.
We just took the trail leading from the carpark thus avoiding any rush to cram ourselves into the train.
Not long up the trail we heard the whirring noise and saw the first of 5 Red Grouse spotted on the mountain.

The trail rised quite steeply and was covered in snow halting our progress up the mountain, so no Ptarmigan this time.
Back down a few hundred feet we went to Loch Morlich to feed the ducks.I was slightly surprised when one female jumped onto my hand and stole all the food:)(Photo by Majella Fox.)
After a brief shopping trip in Aviemore we headed to Loch Garten, famous of course for the Ospreys later in the year.
We were quite disappointed to find all the feeders had been removed making it harder to find Crested Tits.
No Crested Tits were found but I did see this Male Crossbill in the top of a nearby pine.
We returned to Aviemore and headed to Loch An Eiliean wher we met our friend Helen who was to join us for the evening in hope of seeing a Pine Marten
Around 7pm we walked to the hide of Speyside Wildlife where 6 Woodcocks called and flew past us in the near darkness.
A herd of Red Deer were already taking advantage of the food put out by our guide john.
 Beside numerous moths catching my attention a Woodmouse was sprinting in and out of the crevasses between the rocks stealing peanuts.A lot of photos ended up like this as the mouse sped between the rocks.
At just after 8pm a Pine Marten appeared on the trail cam warning us of its impending approach.
It cane into view, climbed the tree and began feasting on the peanuts & raisins left for it.
Our friend Helen was trying her best to conceal her excitement at he first Pine Marten sighting.
Shortly after the Pine Martens departure a solitary Badger arrived bearing the scars of a recent fight.
 After a couple of hours it was time to head back was to Fort William, after our goodbyes with Helen we had a 75 minute Toad slalom as the amphibians were migrating across most roads.

Total Bird List for trip -
63.Woodcock(New for 2014)

Another great day in the Highlands but with only 2 left its near the end of my daily blog.

Thanks again for reading.I will try and get Pt 9 & 10 done tomorrow as we spend the night in Stirling to complete our trip unless I can convince Majella to add an extra day :) lol

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