Sunday, 2 April 2017

Tales From The Highlands

Day 1 - The Journey

  Despite only 2-3 hours sleep we woke with the excitement and enthusiasm of two kids heading of to Disneyland.The enthusiasm though quickly diminished when hit with the reality of the 9hr+ car journey ahead.We packed the car with probably enough stuff for a months expedition to the Amazon and set off as daylight approached.
  Not surprisingly the first birds of the trip were the Rooks.The noisy neighbours making sure the whole Rookery knew it was time to get up.Heading West on the M180 it wasn't long before I saw my first Raptor was spotted, a lone Buzzard surveying a field also accommodated by a Roe Deer.
  Carrion Crows, Jackdaws, Wood Pigeons, Magpies, Pheasants, Black-headed Gulls, a Robin and a Blackbird were all seen along the motorway.Majella mentioned she was cold so I turned up the car heater saying it's not cold but then noticed a field of black and white cows and said "I guess you were right, it's Fresian out there!" ;)
  In a field off the A1 it was great to see a couple of Hares still going mad chasing each other, obviously no one had told them it was now April.About 20 minutes from Scotch Corner and I saw my first waders, a couple of Oystercatchers in a field among 12 Greylag Geese.Our first pit stop was in fact Scotch Corner.A Rabbit chewed on the grass by the car park while Dunnocks and House Sparrows looked for scraps dropped by the hungry motorists.
  I also found 2 Common Quaker moths on the windows of the services, my first moths of the year.

  The next section, West over the Dales on the A66 was always a good place to look for birdlife.Tricky to do at 60mph but scanning the fields and dry stone walls produced lots of Lapwings, Starlings, Curlews, Mute Swans, a Moorhen and a Red-Legged Partridge before we hit Penrith.

  As we headed up the M74 towards Glasgow I saw my first Swift of the year, unfortunately it was a caravan ;) While driving through the traffic near Glasgow I saw Feral Pigeons, Mallards, Pied Wagtail and Buzzards 3,4 and 5 of the trip so far.
  Turning off near Stirling on to the A84 took us close by the Argaty Red Kite feeding station at Doune.We didn't have time to visit but did manage to spot a Red Kite circling on the thermals on the hills.After lunch at a very busy Callander we then stopped half hour down the road at Killin and Dochart Falls.

  Following Buzzard number 6 and a Canada Goose in a lochan on Rannoch Moor we headed into Glencoe.
  Looking back down towards Bridge Of Orchy.

  Rainbow over Rannoch Moor.

  No matter how many times we drive through Glencoe, you cannot fail to be blown away by its magnificence.

  Through Glencoe and only 15 miles to Fort William.Another bird sighting, this time a Grey Heron fishing the shoreline of Loch Linnhe.We stopped for food at Fort William then continued on to the farm near Roybridge.
  We unpacked and did the important things first like say "Hi" to the horses and put out the bird food.I had a short walk down to the river at the bottom of the field.Majella came out to meet me after a while and said she could hear a Tawny Owl calling from the trees on the opposite bank.

  A tiring journey up but great to to back here in the Scottish Highlands.The day ended with Whisky and Match Of The Day :)

  Thank you for reading my blog and hopefully I will be able to share our trip with you over the next week.

Kindest regards

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