Thursday, 4 September 2014

Migrating waders on passage at the pig farm.

I've been quiet for a while, which is more that I can say for our local Robin which has been singing for a few weeks - at all hours of the morning! The Robin is often the first bird to sing to welcome in the autumn, and it is certainly singing this year!

This is a great time of year for spotting waders on passage to their wintering home.  Lossie Estuary and beach are great places to sit and watch as the divers and skuas and godwits and knots and dunlin by.  Some come into the estuary for a feed.

Luckily, some of the migrants have popped into the mud pool at Wester Delnies pig farm, and are very easy to see from the road (be careful though, its a very fast road!).

Here are a few photos.

Curlew Sandpiper

Two male Black Tailed Godwit - still showing some summer plumage.

Two more Black Tailed Godwit
Little Stint

From the left: Ringed Plover; Ruff; two Curlew Sandpiper.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Flycatchers in the Cycle Helmet: Part Four - The Chicks.

I sat for ages trying to photograph the chicks in the cycle helmet, hoping the parents would come and pose for dinner.  Here you'll see how they just waited patiently for me to leave them alone so they could feed away.....

One of the parents biding its time.

Hungry chicks

And then I looked behind me....!

And guess what a Spotted Flycatcher eats for dinner - click on the pic for a closer look.

Come on, move along and let me feed the kids!

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Flycatcher Part Three!

Here's another installment from the Flycatcher out at the Hidden Glen in Laikenbuie, down the Grantown Road.  The sunshine makes all the difference.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Flycatcher in Nest

No sooner had we seen our first Spotted Flycatcher of the year (see previous post), now we see them every time we go out! Here's a few pics of one in the Hidden Glen, a fantastic 'get away from it all' croft a few miles down the Grantown Road.  There are lovely self-catering chalets too, so if you have any visitors planning a visit......, try

The beauty of this Flycatcher though was that it nested inside a cycle crash helmet!  Three were hanging in the bike shed, and the bird decided to settle in the only one that was in use!  No cycling for a few weeks then.

I sat still for ages as she checked me out to ensure I wasn't a threat, then eventually she approached and entered the nest and sat staring at me as I took these photos.

One final look.
And now she settles down to keep an eye on me.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Butterflies and a Flycatcher on the Caledonian Canal

In just a f few days in Fort Augustus we experienced warm, cold, wet, dry and sunny weather!

Monday was a rather dull but humid day.  We did a long 10 mile hike to Aberchalder on the tow path between the canal and the River Oich.  Butterflies and birds everywhere.  The birds we could identify, but the butterflies.......

Here's the pics - if anyone out there knows what they are, please leave a comment to educate me!

This one opened it's wings below and showed us the colour

And then this one fluttered by.  (Behind an infuriating bit of grass!)
Two miles from the end of this walk the heavens opened and we were absolutely soaked!  I protected my camera and binoculars under my coat, but I was wet through!  But I had to call into the Bothy Bar at the locks for a pint of Loch Ness's best real ale!

On Tuesday morning, just as we were leaving the campsite, I noticed this Spotted Flycatcher.  Guess what it was doing?

Spotted Flycatcher perching on post
Getting ready to fly
Diving for its prey
And eating its reward!
All a bit un-sharp, but the photos captured the moment!

Wednesday, 18 June 2014


We had a lovely day at our favourite place in the country at the weekend (although it is getting a bit busy!)

Here are a few birds we saw on the day.

Willow Warbler
 We really struggled with this one!  Our instinct was that it was a Willow Warbler - but it is a very pale version.  If it had sung it would have been confirmed - but it stayed quite.  But, once we checked the photos on the computer we confirmed it as a Willow Warbler.  In general they are still singing, but not in so many numbers now.  In my experience these will soon go quite; around the end of June.
Common Sandpiper

Every summer the Common Sandpiper visits Lochindorb.  It's presence is signaled by a very familiar, high pitched call.  Always check the shoreline for one, or at most two (paired) birds.  Their flight is low over the water with very quick wing beats.
Common Sandpiper

Oyster Catcher

Friday, 16 May 2014


I didn't have the heart to prevent this mouse from flitting from one end of the garden to the other once it was disturbed!  The mother risked her life six times to move her babies away from a rampant gardener, whilst gambling that the man with the camera was harmless!  I know I'll regret it if the family make their way into the house, but who am I to get in the way of nature.  (Now if it was a rat, I would have.........!).  On the other hand, I'd love to see a bird or prey visit the garden for a snack!

Mother at her nest

Heading toward the new home, passing the strawberries.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Strath Conon

We left sunny Nairn and popped over to Strath Conon for a day out in the rain on Sunday!  But it was worth it as we were visited by a pair of Stonechats.

Stonechats a summer visitors to the Highlands to breed each year.  They always perch high up on gorse or any thing that stands out - so they are quite easy to spot.  We spotted this pair as I was driving through Stath Conon, so I parked and set up my tri-pod, with camera focused on what I hoped would be a good perch - and sat there hoping they would choose it to sit on! Here's the results.

Note the dark head and white collar - and the rain!

This is the female

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Dunlin, Ringed Plover and a hungry Heron.

A quick visit to Lossie Estuary on my way to a family lunch resulted in views of Dunlin in breeding plumage, which is a treat for me.  We usually see them over winter on the firth as 'little brown jobs', but as spring arrives they are usually on their way to breeding grounds and catching sight of them is hit and miss.  Luckily I timed this trip just right!  I saw 17 of them today - apparently there were over 200 of them roosting at Findhorn a few days ago!

Ringed Plover at the rear and a Dunlin to the right. Note the black belly only seen breeding season.
As always it's worth popping over to East Beach to see what's about.  This Heron eventually caught itself a good feed.

Sadly, the light was poor as was my photography: the pics aren't very sharp!  But it's still worth a look at the fish in the bill!

Friday, 28 March 2014


Yet again I've left it far too long to update the blog with what's happening, bird wise around Nairn!  So here's just a quick one regarding the three large ducks hanging around the river north of the Merryton Bridge over the past couple of weeks, as well as a little bit on the nearl;y ever present Turnstones.

Note their wonderful bright eyes - hence their name: Goldeneye.  The black and white ones are male  They rest on the bank when the tide is out and every now and then fly out to the firth to feed.

Have you ever walked along the river path near the harbour and wondered what the clicking noise is? Probably the Turnstones busily turning stones looking for food (suitable name!)  

These are incredibly hard birds to photograph - they move their heads so quickly that it is nearly impossible to get a none blurred photo.  Here's what they look like when they are sitting still - and below are some blurred pictures of one with it's prey - as well as one being chased for it's prey!