HIghlights w/c 17th April

Published: 26th April 2010

Our first wildlife hoiliday of the year was a great success, despite all that the West Highland weather could throw at us, from bright sunshine through to rain, hail, sleet and snow. Here are some of the daily highlights:

Sunday 18th – Great views of Crossbill at the Lodge (on the “cone tree”) and in the Erracht woodlands. Golden Eagle being mobbed by a Raven in Glen Loy. Stunning views of the parallel roads in Glen Roy and a pair of Brown Hare 'hiding' in full view by the side of the road.

Monday 19th. Plenty of Great Northern divers in Loch Linnhe (a recurrent theme of the week – lots about in all stages of  plumage, including full breeding) along with a number of Slavonian grebes. Black Guillemot by their nest boxes. Common Seals on rocks in good numbers at An Airigh. Heard and got great views of first Cuckoo of the year – the first seen by our guests in over 30 years.

Tuesday 20th – our red letter day of the week. Red and Roe Deer by the side of the road on way to watch Blackcock lekking – stunning breeding plumage, with spirited display. Watched an Otter for at least 15 minutes as it fished in Loch Linnhe. Plenty of deer still down off the hills up Loch Arkaig, with the bonus of a Golden Eagle. Sandpipers back in all the usual haunts. Three Black-Throated divers showing off their finery on Loch Lochy, whilst female Osprey sat tight on its nest nearby.

Wednesday 21st. Glorious day, just right for appreciating the sea views around Arisaig. Treated to Lapwings displaying – light caught the plumage to justify the name of green plover. Plenty of Wheatears about, as well as flocks of Meadow Pipit (moving up the glens this week) and a small group of Twite. Mergansers displaying in the sea with necks stretched and odd bowing motion.

Thursday 22nd. More Divers and a glimpse of Porpoises. A wadery day with Sandpiper, Turnstone, Ringed Plover, Golden Plover, and best of all, a small flock of Whimbrel near Appin. To round the day off a pair of Peregrine flew low over the viewpoint at Castle Stalker – would be great if they are nesting on teh castle!

Friday 23rd. Despite constant rain, sea conditions were good, and we were able to enjoy a trip out on the ferry to Rum and Canna. Great views of Porpoise not far from Mallaig, with a glimpse of Dolphins that surfed the bows briefly. Lots of seabirds, particulalry Shearwaters and Razorbills, with a few Gannets, Guillemots and Puffins, as well as pairs of Red-throated Diver in Loch Scrasort and a flight of Common Scoter. Rum deer on the beaches.

Pine Martens performing singly or in pairs on a nightly basis.