HIghlights w/c 7/7/12

Published: 16th July 2012

Another successful week with Glenloy Wildlife. The weather held up pretty well, and so far we have been avoiding the washouts that appear prevalent everywhere else in the country. We even managed a few butterflies and dragonflies this week – including a large hatch of Highland Darter in Morvern and Gold-ringed everywhere, whilst on the butterfly front we saw plenty of Meadow Browns, with a few Common Blue, Heaths, Fritillaries, a second hatch of Speckled Wood and a pleasing number of Small Tortoiseshells.

On the bird front there are plenty of non-descript ducks in eclipse and baby birds galore to puzzle folk, but some species are stil showing well, including Reed Bunting, Spotted Flycatcher, Whinchat and the ubiquitous Redpoll. If our guests cannot identify any other bird sound after this week then they should at least recognize the buzz of a flying Redpoll! Our Crossbills are back, and feeding on immature cones in front of Glenloy Lodge, which was a nice bonus. We had great views of both Red-throated and Black-throated Divers, and for a change a couple of good sightings of Snipe. Corncrake still calling in the daytime on Muck, frustratingly close to the path, but invisible as ever. Eagles performed well. Had a couple of Goldies, including one on Loch Arkaig being  mobbed by crows – which gave a handy comparison of size, sufficient to convince people of its identity. Both adult White-tailed eagles were perched near the local nest, while a chick still flapped around in the nest tree. The local Osprey also put on a good display, with a bird seen carrying a large fish up the River Lochy and an adult feeding two (?) chicks on the nest. A Peregrine was seen flying low over the sea near Arisaig, being bombarded by first terns and then Oystercatchers, with a pair of Kestrels (locally scarce) hovering over the Glen Roy viewpoint. We also watched Common Terns feeding on a healthy shoal of sand eels nearby.

We only saw a single Otter this week, but it swam unhurriedly towards us and then passed close-by, fishing as it went along, offering great views. The Red Deer were far less evident than they were two weeks ago – someone must have told them the stalking season has started. We did see a couple of groups of hinds with claves, however, including one not too far away suckling, as well as several distant stags, silhouetted regally on the tops of mountains. Also had a nice roe buck close to home. The Pine Martens were both feeding at Glenloy Lodge, although there are still no signs of any kits – the mother is looking in better condition, so hope nothing has happened to them. Common Seal pups have grown tremendously over the last couple of weeks, and are already difficult to distinguish from other young seals – loads about on the local skerries and islets. Did not see any other marine mammals other than Porpoise. Several of the latter, including one with a calf, were seen on Loch Linnhe near Ardgour, in a beautifully calm sea, that was covered with feeding Gannet and rafts of Guillemot, We also had a couple of sightings from the Sheerwater between Eigg and Muck (along with Great Skua, Puffin and large flocks of Shearwater). An unexpected mammalian addition was a Weasel, that ran across the road near Banavie – the Rabbits are still on the rugby pitch, and must be attracting all sorts of predators. The other interesting sighting was of the human-kind – a guest taking the opportunity to swim in the sea at any opportunity, fortunately after we had had a good look around for wildlife!

Wildflower meadows were looking good this week, with a great display of Greater Butterfly Orchid locally. Stuff seems to have flowered for a reasonable lenght of time, and there are still some Cranesbill out, along with the local Globe-flower. The Knapweed are starting to come, and the thistles are now attracting butterflies, – a sure sign that summer is reaching its height. We now have a break from wildlife trips until September (unless anyone asks otherwise!), but there will still be plenty about, and we will be happy to advise summer visitors where to look.