24th, 25th & 26th March 2006 – Cairngorms

Day 1:  Birds seen on the journey includes Cormorant (1), Common Buzzard (20c), Pied Wagtail (2), Skylark (1), Carrion Crow, Herring Gull, Common Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Goldfinch and Jackdaw.  A Red Squirrel was seen whilst driving past Insh Marshes.  Greylag Goose (4), Kestrel (1), Oystercatcher (5+) & Lapwing (2) were also in the area.  Glen Feshie provided the first two of our target birds, a female Capercaillie and at least 2 Crested Tits.  Other birds here included Peregrine (1), Hooded Crow (1), Greenfinch, Chaffinch (10+), Coal Tit (10+), Blue Tit (10+), Meadow Pipit (2), Stonechat (2 males) and a single Red-legged Partridge.  The short drive to Loch Morlich gave us excellent viewes of Crested Tit (6c) along with Coal Tit (10+), Goldcrest (2+) and Treecreeper (1). Bullfinch (1m & 1f), Tufted Duck (2), Goosander (1m & 1f), Goldeneye (5c), Mallard (10+) and a Dipper.   Next came a drive to Nethy Bridge for the reported Waxwings.  No sign of any waxwings, but we did get views of Meally Redpoll (1), Lesser Redpoll (1), Siskin (10c), Mistle Thrush (7+), Song Thrush (2), Redwing (1+), Wren (1), Robin (1), Dunnock (1), Grey Heron (1), Curlew (1) and Blackbird (1). Numerous Pheasants, Woodpigeon, Starling, Black-headed Gulls and Magpie were seen throughout the day.

Day 2:  Loch Garten had several Goldeneye, Great Black-backed Gull and a Little Grebe (no sign of any Crossbills or Crested Tits).  A second attempt for the Waxwings at Nethy Bridge proved to be unsuccessfull, but we did get good views of Buzzard, Siskin (10c), Dipper (2 on the river), House Sparrow (5+) and Chaffinch (50c).  Golden Eagle (2), Red Kite (1), Common Buzzard (4+), Peregrine (1), Raven (3), Red Deer (50+) and Feral Goat (5+) were seen at Findhorn Valley.  Other species in the valley included Common Gull, Black-headed Gull (10c), Lapwing (4c), Goosander (2), Mallard (2), Mistle Thrush (3c), Greenfinch (2), Chaffinch (3), Blue Tit (2), Curlew (1) and an impressive show of at least eighty Oystercatcher.  To finish off the day we had a walk around Loch an Eilien. Once again, we failed to locate any Crossbill or Crested Tit, but Great Spotted Woodpecker was added to the list.

Day 3:  An early morning trip to the Cairngorms gave us excellent views of Snow Bunting (3c) and Pied Wagtail (2).  There were no Ptarmigan to be seen, but we did have distant views of Red Grouse (2+) and Mountain Hare (1).  On our return journey, a final visit for the Waxwings at Nethy Bridge proved succesfull (21).  The journey back to Perth (via Braemar) provided us with Mute Swan (20c), Whooper Swan (3), Raven (7+), Buzzard (10+), Red Grouse (10c), Red Deer and Mountain Hare.

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