Published: 29th January 2015

Just been for a walk alongside Loch Lochy along the Great Glen Way, taking advantage of some gaps between showers. Usual stuff about including a nice mix of woodland birds. Flocks of siskins were feeding in the tops of the alders and in birch – also in the garden, where they have found the nyjer seeds. We also saw long-tailed tits flitting through the waterside trees, goldcrest busily searching amongst the twigs and a great spotted woodpecker calling from the tops. On the return leg we glimpsed a bird of prey, about buzzard size with the outline of a sparrowhawk, which must have been a goshawk. This is another rare sighting for Lochaber, and is another welcome addition to the year’s tally.

On the other side of the path a dipper beetled across the water to land obligingly on a protruding stick. A couple of pairs of goldeneye were swimming in the shallower bays, the drakes really going for it in their wooing, with neck stretching and whistling. Other than mallard the only other waterbird around was the ubiquitous dabchick- now you see it, now you don’t.

Another recent trip to Gairlochy produced no less than five dippers in one short section of the river and another on the canal. The water was high and the dippers were all swimming about on the surface before diving down to hunt. In between times a couple of the males found time to retreat to the bank and sing. Good to see them doing well and enthusiastic on a dreich January day.