We’ve just finished a week-long birding trip to North East Scotland and the Highlands, stopping in Upper Teesdale & Forfar on the way up and Mussleburgh & Flamborough on the return leg, with ‘base camp’ at Aviemore. We had fabulous weather throughout with clear skies and warm days. We managed to see all of the regular specialities, together with a few ‘celebrities’. It’s difficult to pick out the highlights but duck and grouse species must be at the top of the list. We amassed a grand total species list of 160.
Top of the pops was this female Harlequin Duck at Sputie Burn. Not as glamorous as the male we missed in Aberdeen but a very nice bird in a fabulous location.
A spectacular male King Eider on the Ythan estuary – seen on our second visit
American Wigeon, at Holywell Pond, added interest on our homeward journey
Red Grouse, most common of the scarce ‘game birds’
Not seen in Scotland, Black Grouse – upper Teesdale
Capercaillie, seen on previous trips but not quite as well as this time!
Ptarmigan on the slopes of Cairngorm
Other birds of interest included, Greenland White-front, Udale Bay
Juvenile Iceland Gull, Arbroath harbour. I’m still trying to obtain ringing details – if anyone knows of a good website for non-European colour ringing schemes, please do let me know
Flock of Long-tailed Duck, Ythan estuary
Black-throated Diver, undisclosed site
Golden & White-tailed Eagle together, Findhorn valley
One of several Osprey seen – this one was at Loch of Kinnordy
Iconic Caledonian species – Crested Tit
Last of the interesting birds on our way home. One of two Blue-headed Wagtail, Flamborough