Wildlife Highlights w/c 1st September

Published: 18th September 2012

A week of mixed weather, with quite a bit of wind and rain about. We made the most of it and managed to see plenty of nice stuff, though I think we only saw three butterflies and a single dragonfly all week. Some of the daily highlights are listed below:

Sunday 2nd. Kinlocheil to avoid low cloud in Glen Loy. Good selection of waders about including a Greenshank, Golden Plover and Redshank. Osprey feeding on large fish on dead branches in the sea opposite us almost all the time we were there. Afternoon trip on the Sileas along Loch Shiel to Gaskan  turned out mostly dry and sunny. Great for Golden Eagles with at least six on the wing, including a group of four. Also had glimpse of Peregrine and distant deer.

Monday 3rd. Across to east coast to avoid rainy west. Several Red Kite spotted on Black Isle. Arrived at Chanonry Point just in time to see Bottlenose Dolphins displaying. Also saw Gannets fishing, a flight of Sandwich Terns and a pleasing little mixed group of waders. On to Loch Ruthven for Slavonian and Little Grebes. Peregrine on cliffs above the loch. Nice spotted Sika hind above Loch Ness on the way back.

Tuesday 4th. Walk along Caledonian Canal whilst dry and then scenic tour of Glen Roy. Pipits flocking. Saw Buzzards and a Kestrel, but not many birds showing today. Nice display of Grass of Parnassus by the roadside. Afternoon along Loch Arkaig. Finally caught up with some herds of Red Deer, and had great views of our two young Ospreys on the way back home. A Forest Bug with padded shoulders elicited interest at Chia-Aig falls.

Wednesday 5th. Crossed the Corran Ferry and took the coast road via Kingairloch to Morvern. Lots of Common Seal at Sallachan along with Merganser and Eider. Found the Wild Goats along the coastal road, along with Twite. Golden Eagle and a possible Harrier on the road down to Lochaline. Fossil hunting produced a couple of ammonites, including a sizable chunk of a much larger specimen, along with the countless Gryphaea. Excursion to Loch Teacuis well-rewarded with excellent views of Otter, a Golden eagle and several Greenshank – and it didn’t rain before we got back to the minibus! Deer out in large numbers on the return leg.

Thursday 10th. Our wettest day of the week, but still managed a couple of semi-dry walks, including a stroll across Camusdarrach Beach, populated almost exclusively by a small flock of Sanderling. Grey Seals posing in the harbour at Mallaig. Able to watch the day’s catch of prawns being landed  (brave men out in pretty much gale-force winds), before buying some to take back for dinner that evening.

Friday 11th. An early start to catch up with the Black Grouse, now all feathered up and strutting their stuff after their summer holiday – six cocks on the lek, performing nicely. Found a further four Otters in Fort William, two spotted from the minibus along the sea front. Three Roe Deer in striking russet against green in a newly cropped grass meadow on the way back for breakfast. Red Squirrels also performing well after the rain, with at least four individuals using the feeders at Onich. Coastal walks were bracing, but mostly dry. Enjoyed great views of a flock of Twite perched on the Jubilee Bridge.