Highlights w/c 13th. April 2012

Published: 20th April 2012

Glenloy Wildlife is just recovering from its first wildlife holiday of the season, and what a great few days we had. The company was good, the weather amazingly fine and the wildlife co-operative. Here are a few highlights of the trip.

Saturday 14th. Down to the south of Lochaber and further afield to Appin. Red Squirrels performing well on feeders at Glen Righ. Beautiful pair of Slavonian Grebes in breeding plumage at Cuil Bay, together with several Great Northern Divers, a pair of Red-throats and various ducks. Walk along the shore produced Wheatear, first Willow Warbler of season, a pair of Golden Plover in glowing breeding plumage and best of all, a pair of young Otters. Walking around the salt marshes and estuary at Appin produced various other ducks and waders, including Shelduck, Red-breasted Merganser and Goldeneye, plus a lone seal. First Chiffchaff of year also heard.

Sunday 15th. Golden Eagle watched up Glen Loy, along with distant Red Deer. Deer were much more obliging in the afternoon up Loch Arkaig – all around the van and on the road – many of stags have now lost antlers. Saw Stonechat, first Whinchat of season and a female Hen Harrier. Ospreys still mooching about the nest site on Loch Lochy with distant views of a Black-throated Diver in summer plumage.

Monday 16th. Ardgour Island trip. Tysties back in nest boxes at Ardgour. GND around shores of Loch Linnhe in numbers, along with a further Slav grebe. Common Seals on rocks at Sallachan and Garbh Eilean. First Swallow of year seen at Loch Sunart and first Cuckoo heard at Ariundle. Deer in unlikely places! Had some great walks amongst beautiful scenery in the sunshine, though few migrants about yet. Herons busy nesting. Had close-up view of Otter in Loch Ailort on return leg.

Tuesday 17th. Morning trip out to Arisaig coast to escape the rain – successfully. More divers off the beach at Camusdarrach, and a couple of Razorbill in Loch nan Uamh. Had lunch at Rhu and spotted another Otter along with supporting cast of divers, Mergansers and Seals. Jim Michie kindly ran a special cruise for us along Loch Shiel in the afternoon, and we were rewarded with great views of a pair of juvenile Golden Eagles alternatively wheeling low over the hillside in pursuit of one another, and perching in low trees. Also saw Merganser, Goosander, Red-throated Divers, Dipper, Grey Wagtail and Sand Martins. Always a great trip.

Wednesday 18th. Early morning start to watch Blackcock lekking. Eight males displaying – a good show. Pair of otters playing at Lochy Mouth – all before breakfast. Had another look at squirrels in the afternoon and saw as many as 5 at once. Afternoon trip up Glen Roy produced usual stunning scenery – but also fantastic views of a female Merlin hunting, and then perching to eat her catch. Heard more Blackcock.