Highlights w/c 12th May, 2012

Published: 21st May 2012

The weather took a turn for the worse in the West Highlands last week, with cold nights, snow on the tops, and icey showers, before we finally got some sun. On Sunday the rain was being blown horizontally across the yard, so we said a reluctant farewell to Lochaber and headed up towards Inverness. Caught a glimpse of a Red-throated Diver being tossed about on a distincltly choppy loch en route to Loch Ruthven, and the shelter of a hide. Despite the wind we had great views of Slavonian Grebe – always a pleasure when they are in their freesh breeding plumage, along with a host of supporting players, including Dabchick, Wigeon, Tufted Duck and Osprey. We then headed further afield to finally escape the last of the rain, but not the wind – still blowing strong at Chanonry Point. Two Bottlenose Dolphins were patrolling the channel off the point, but conditions were not ideal for good photography! Rather amusingly a picture was taken by another wildlife company of the TV presenter and cameraman, Johnny Kingdom (or at least his double), posing in front of myself and a Glenloy Wildlife guest. I hope that Aigas attribute us correctly!

We had another (much better) dolphin encounter on the return trip back from Rum later in the week, when the Sheerwater was surrounded by a pod of over 150 Common Dolphin, taking it in turns to bow-wave and race the boat. It seemed that there were dolphins wherever we looked, accompanied by large numbers of fishing Gannets and Shearwaters – simply magnificant. On the same trip we also managed to see a nearby flock of 9 Great-northern Diver, Puffin, and a Porpoise, but failed to spot the Minke Whale glimpsed by most others on board – not bad for a misty and dreich day! Common Butterwort were already well in flower on Rum – far on compared to elsewhere locally.

Other highlights included a view of a young Golden Eagle hunting in Glen Roy, a Sea Eagle flying over Loch Arkaig, some nice close-ups of Ospreys and Otters and a bonus Mink, that hid under rocks by the coast. That same day we also had lovely views of Lapwing displaying, a Snipe drumming overhead, Skylark singing high above us, and Twite foraging in the short turf (not to mention distant Otters fishing) – and all in warm sunshine. The Red Deer were still low and provided good photo opportunities all week, and everyone managed a good look at a Red Squirrel this week. All we need now is some warmth to bring out the butterflies and dragonflies.