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Saturday, 20 June 2015

Speyside Holiday - end of May, 2015

My wife and I took another holiday based at The Grant Arms, in Grantown on Spey (our favourite destination!) at the end of May. I'm going to try and keep this account brief, but know I'm likely to fail miserably!

Friday 22nd May

Travelling on the Friday of the Bank Holiday Weekend was probably not the most sensible of ideas but, in spite of 25 miles (40km) of 50 mph (80 kph) restrictions for roadworks on the M1 and also for virtually exactly the same distance on the A1(M) - frustrating, but the traffic kept moving - we had a relatively pleasant journey.

We stopped for lunch at The Deli Café in Boston Spa (we always aim to hit this place at lunchtime if we are heading that way!), and were at the wonderful B&B of Tweed View House in Berwick upon Tweed by around 16h30. Graham kindly helped us in with our luggage and we sat and enjoyed a cup of tea before heading out for a fish & chip dinner at a local chippy.

The fish and chips were fine but Lindsay asked for tomato ketchup, and was brought an industrial-sized bottle of what the label declared, in large letters, to be "Just Tomato Ketchup". The ketchup was a luminous pink, and Lindsay said that it was sweet and did not taste of much. She restrained me, however, from writing the word 'Only' in front of 'Just'!

Saturday 23rd May

After a good night's sleep and an excellent breakfast served in our room by Graham, we continued our travels. Our first stop was at the Rosslyn Chapel near Edinburgh which prominently features in Dan Brown's book 'The Da Vinci Code'. The place was fascinating and certainly worth a visit. I offer a partial external view (no photography allowed inside)

The Rosslyn Chapel
Whilst there, I was taking a photograph of Lindsay with my phone when a foreign tourist approached me and asked if we would like her to take a photo of us both together. Now that's a twist to a familiar story! Anyway, as most of my readers don't have a clue as to what I look like, here we go - I'm the one on the right!

Mr and Mrs P. at The Rosslyn Chapel
Once over the Forth Road Bridge, we headed for Perth, stopping at the Macmillan Café at Quarrymill, just north of Perth by Scone Palace, for a cup of Earl Grey. We resisted the temptation to have one of their delicious cakes here as we would be stopping for lunch soon. However, after refreshments we took a stroll beside the burn that runs through the park here, as sometimes it's good for Dipper. We only found one (a juvenile), but then we didn't wander very far.


Dipper (Cinclus cinclus) (juvenile) - Quarrymill
Our next stop was at the Dalmore Inn, just south of Blairgowrie, where they do a superb 2 course light lunch (and I do mean SUPERB) for £9.95. The meal was well up to their usual standard.

After Blairgowrie the route starts to become somewhat scenic. A comfort stop at the ski centre of Glenshee reaped its rewards. I stopped to photograph a pied wagtail and then went to look behind the ski centre buildings.

Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba) - Glenshee
My target was Ring Ouzel (I saw them here in June a few years back), and this time it was bingo! Just one was seen, but that was enough.


Ring Ouzel (Turdus torquatus) (male) - Glenshee
The rest of the journey to Grantown was very enjoyable, but with no further excitement.

After settling ourselves in at The Grant Arms we went down to dinner, where we'd booked a table for ourselves, friends Lynne and Roger, plus Jim Almond who was giving a couple of talks up there during the week. Jim, however, had sent us a message saying that he'd been badly delayed on his journey from Mull, and would be very late, so to start without him. 

Jim arrived before we'd finished so we had time for a natter before going to pay our respects to our beloved Lochindorb. Sadly, it started raining just before we got there, and with high winds and little light, there were no photo opportunities.

Sunday 24th May

After a good breakfast, Lindsay and I set off to re-visit Lochindorb - a place which we managed to visit every day during our stay, except our day of departure! Most of the 'usual suspects' were around and visible - with the notable exception of Black-throated Diver. The strong winds weren't helping the photography and were whipping the water to a foam at its edge.



Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos) - Lochindorb
An Oystercatcher was doing its usual trick of nesting on a mound right beside the road - close enough that you could lean out of the car window and pat it on the head!

Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus) - Lochindorb
A Red Squirrel was drinking from a puddle on the road by the lodge, but went off into the trees before I could take its photo.

Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) - Lochindorb
It was the time of year that the Red Grouse had young. Several family groups were seen with very tiny chicks, although these were hard to spot when they weren't moving!

Red Grouse (Lagopus lagopus scoticus) - Lochindorb
Continuing from Lochindorb, we headed towards Dulnain Bridge and then set off along the very rural back road that leads to Carrbridge. Many Curlew, Meadow Pipit, and Lapwing were seen, plus other birds not recorded, but I've only a Lapwing image to offer.

Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) - back road to Carrbridge
We then headed for Cairngorm base station, where Ring Ouzel had been reported the previous day. We arrived to find that several had been there half an hour earlier until frightened off by visitors. We hung around for a while, but it was just 6 deg.C and very windy, so decided to move on as we were getting rather cold. At this point I'll mention that, throughout the week, it was windy and temperatures were consistently around 10 deg.C lower than we are used to here at this time of year. Neither of us had brought sufficient warm clothing!

Returning to Grantown on Spey, we 'discovered' an area beside the Spey that we'd not known about. It was a dead-end road that led down to the old cemetery. A stroll in the cemetery was interrupted by the loud attentions of an Oystercatcher - then I realised that there were two of them shouting at us and the penny dropped - Lindsay and I backed off quickly and left the worried parents in peace!


Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus) - Grantown on Spey
We walked a little further on beside the river, and not wanting to come away empty-handed I took some shots of Grey Heron and Black-headed Gull.


Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) - Grantown on Spey
Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus) - Grantown on Spey
A return visit to Lochindorb only resulted in some images of a distant Meadow Pipit.

Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis) - Lochindorb
Monday 25th May

I'd promised Lindsay that we'd visit Cawdor Castle, and as the weather forecast was not very good, this seemed to be the day to do it.

We took a scenic route along very minor roads, striking off west just past Dulsie Bridge. This road, to Drynachan Lodge, follows the Findhorn River. Mistle Thrush (many), Common Sandpiper, Dipper, and Song Thrush were seen.

From Drynachan Lodge we headed north across the moors, spotting Red-legged Partridge (a few), Red Grouse (a few), and Linnet (several). At one point a 'probable' female Hen Harrier suddenly appeared over the embankment on our left, flew low over the road and swooped low down into the valley on our right. By the time I'd stopped the car, I couldn't pick it up again for a positive ID.

Further on, we saw a few Stonechat, and then we were at Cawdor Castle. I admit that I was not really looking forward to the visit, but it exceeded my expectations by a mile. One of the things that made it such a wonderful visit was the 'self-guide' notes in each room. These were not just interestingly informative, but every one had been written with great humour! We must have taken a good hour in this small castle, and just couldn't believe how many people (mainly Americans) were just flashing through without reading the notes. Surely they must have wondered why Lindsay and I were standing in front of the notes having a good laugh?

Cawdor Castle
After our visit, and a picnic in the castle car park, we headed back via our outward route. We stopped where the Stonechats had been, and a male obliged for the camera.

Stonechat (Saxicola torquata) (male) - near Highland Boath
Further on we saw the 'probable' Hen Harrier again at exactly the same place, in exactly the same circumstances, with exactly the same results! I never got a clear view of the top of the bird, just a hint of the 'ring tail', but the underside looked right. Lindsay (not a birdwatcher) probably got a better view as I was concentrating on the road, and she picked out female Hen Harrier from the Collins Guide without hesitation.

The road from Drynachan Lodge to Dulsie Bridge yielded two male Redstart (no photos), as well as the Mistle Thrushes again. Beyond Dulsie Bridge we found a group of Curlew making a fuss. I think that they had young. I managed a few shots, but the light was poor. The third in the sequence below just tickles my (strange?) sense of humour! The Meadow Pipit was just looking on as all this happened.




Curlew (numenius arquata) - near Dulsie Bridge
Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis) -near Dulsie Bridge
You'll probably not be surprised to hear that we returned via Lochindorb.



Red Grouse (Lagopus lagopus scoticus) - Lochindorb
Redshank (Tringa totanus) - Lochindorb
Lindsay wanted to take time for a bath after dinner, so that evening I had no problem in getting my pass signed for a late owling session at a place near Nethybridge that had been so productive the previous year. I wasn't over-hopeful as it was very windy. In the event, an owl showed at 21h05 but it kept very low, which made it quite difficult to spot, as you can see (or maybe not!) in the next image.

Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus) - near Nethybridge
The other problem (visible above) was that new fences had been put up in the area. These were higher and had markers along the top (possibly for the safety of the birds?). So with the wind keeping the owls low it was almost impossible to get a photo unobstructed by wires. and white markers.


Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus) - near Nethybridge
This area is also good for Black Grouse. Common wisdom is that morning is the best time to see a lek. In my limited experience, evening is a reliably good time to see the males put on a good display. Having given up on the SEOs because of bad light and obstructions, I took a few very distant images of the Grouse.





Tuesday 26th May

Lindsay wanted to do some shopping in Grantown so my pass was signed again and I returned to the SEOs. At this particular location I've found that between 08h00 and 11h00 is the best period for seeing SEOs which are hunting to feed young. In these circumstances, however, I feel that it's imperative to sit quietly in the car, so as not to disturb them. My first sighting was almost on the dot of 08h00 - with the wires in the way again!

Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus) - near Nethybridge
The wind was still quite strong, however, so the birds kept low. I know that I saw at least three owls as they were all there together at one point, but there were probably more. Eventually at around 10h45 an owl ventured to pass at a higher altitude. Sadly it was at a distance and against the light. It soon returned with prey on a similar trajectory.



Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus) - near Nethybridge
After this, it seems that the various larders were full, and the hunting stopped. I went back to Grantown to pick up Lindsay at 12h00, and after buying the necessaries for a picnic we headed out.

Dulnain Bridge can be good for Dipper and Grey Wagtail. We saw both, but at a great distance. This is the nearest that the wagtail got.

Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea) (male) - Dulnain Bridge
We next ventured up the Findhorn Valley. At the top car park it was very cold and windy, and we didn't stop long! We saw many Red Deer, a Redstart, two Grey Wagtails, many Mistle Thrush and twelve or more goats. These are said to be feral from long ago, and act as if they are truly wild - they're certainly very nervous! I did, however, manage some images of them. To me, their appearance ranges from 'cute' to 'magnificent'!




It turned sunny after dinner and an evening visit to Lochindorb only yielded common species, but a few images resulted.

Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) (male) - Lochindorb
Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus) - Lochindorb
Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis) - Lochindorb
Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) - Lochindorb
Wednesday 27th May

After breakfast we took a cross-country route to the outskirts of Inverness, noting a Red Kite, and probable Wood Warbler near Dulsie Bridge. We then continued onto the Black Isle, and to Fortrose for lunch at the Eilendhub Restaurant - a place we both love. After an excellent lunch, the timing was perfect (the start of a rising tide) for a visit to Chanonry Point to try and see Dolphin. None had been seen that day when we arrived, but we only had to wait ten minutes or so before a couple (an adult and a pale juvenile) put in an appearance. In the difficult light I only managed (poor) images of dorsals and tails.They weren't around for long and, as it was cold and windy, we weren't either. It seems that Roger and Lynne arrived at about the time that we left, spending a couple of hours there, and seeing nothing!



Common Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) - Chanonry Point
We had a very leisurely return journey, doing mainly touristic things, but calling in at Lochindorb (of course!).

Redshank (Tringa totanus) - Lochindorb
Thursday 28th May

Lindsay had never seen a Short-eared Owl, so we started by visiting the location near Nethybridge. We didn't have to wait long, and the bird was flying higher than previously, although quite a long way away.


Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus) - near Nethybridge
Having had this sighting, we set off again and as we approached Nethybridge Lindsay spotted a pair of Buzzards feeding on a dead deer. We had to go a way before we could turn round but, as is typical of Buzzards, the moment we stopped they were away.  As we continued our travels, I spotted one of them hiding in a tree at the field edge.

Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo) - Nethybridge
Next stop was at Avielochan, which has restricted access and where The Grant Arms has a private hide. The main attraction here is the nesting Slavonian Grebes, and these were showing quite well, although the sun was behind them - yes, we had some sun!




Slavonian Grebe (Podiceps auritus) - Avielochanus
Lapwing were flying around noisily as one of their youngsters was wandering around looking decidedly cute!

Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) (chick) - Avielochan
A group of Greylag Geese arrived, a few Goldeneye were present (the males in eclipse plumage) and I stretched my almost non-existent gull ID skills with a year 2 Common Gull (kindly confirmed from my photo by Roger).

Greylag Goose (Anser anser) - Avielochan
Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula) - Avielochan
Common Gull (Larus canus) (2nd year) - Avielochan
I'd noticed that the pretty little blue flowers of Speedwell seemed to be everywhere, so used the sunshine to do a bit of closeup work with the Sigma 50-500.

Common Speedwell (Veronica persica) - Avielochan
From Avielochan, we set off for The Potting Shed for a pot of Earl Grey and some of their famous cakes. The bird feeders outside the window were busy, but the light was bad.

Suitably refreshed, decided to pay a visit to Glenfeshie, above Uath Lochan - a point beyond which we'd not prevously travelled. We soon realised that we'd been missing out, as it was splendid - in spite of the occasional heavy downpour of rain. Several species of bird were seen, including a few Spotted Flycatcher. We found a very pleasant spot by the river where we watched the flycatchers whilst enjoying our picnic lunch.


Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata) - Glenfeshie
After lunch we set off for Laggan, calling in at the temporarily relocated village stores for a coffee before setting off on the General Wade's Military Road, built in 1731. This is now a well-maintained single-track road which stays close to the upper reaches of the Spey for much of the way. We'd never been past Garva Bridge over the Spey, but this time decided to venture considerably further. We were quite surprised by just how good the road was, in spite of not seeing a single vehicle on it! After an hour we decided to turn around fearing that we'd be late for dinner. However, we've definitely got this earmarked for a full exploration as it appears to be passable all the way to Fort Augusta on the Caledonian Canal.

Sightings from the road included Wheatear, Meadow Pipit, Spotted Flycatcher, Red Deer, and a brief sighting of Long-eared Owl. Considering the windy, and often wet, conditions, I was quite happy with that!


Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis) - General Wade's Military Road from Laggan
Red Deer (Cervus elaphus) (male) - General Wade's Military Road from Laggan
"One day I'll be Monarch of The Glen" 

Red Deer (Cervus elaphus) - General Wade's Military Road from Laggan
Flat Rainbow! - by Spey Dam
Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata) - General Wade's Military Road from Laggan
A visit to Lochindorb after dinner didn't produce any useful images, but we did have another rainbow.

Friday 29th May

This was our last day in Grantown as we would be departing the next morning. A visit to the Moray Coast was decided on. The day started with a report of Broad-billed Sandpiper at Findhorn and, as that was where we'd intended to hit the coast first, that's where we went. On arrival at Findhorn there was no sign of any birders and as my data roaming facility on my phone seems to have given up the ghost I had no other means of checking if it was still being seen. As I'd not got a 'scope with me, searching through the mass of waders on the flats was not an option, so we continued into Findhorn itself.

The sun was out as we parked our car and headed over the dunes to the beach. Several Grey Seal were out in the water, popping their heads up to look at us from time to time.

Grey Seal (Halichoerus grypus) - Findhorn

There were a few distant birds out on the water as we headed towards the spit at the mouth of Findhorn Bay. Suddenly there seemed to be Ringed Plover everywhere, and it immediately became apparent that there was a small colony nesting on the beach here. We were then very careful to only walk on the sandy bits, so as to avoid destroying nests.

You'd think the Ringed Plover, with their black and white faces, would be easy to spot on a pebble beach. For the first time, however, I noticed that, if disturbed, they turned their brown back on you and instantly 'disappeared'! Here's a few images of them in the 'now you see me' position. Another thing that I learned about Ringed Plover is that they can really stretch their neck (see 2nd and 3rd images, below)!






Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula) - Findhorn
By the time we got to the Chandlery Café, it was time for a pot of Earl Grey before heading back to the car for a picnic lunch. We just got back in time before the heavens opened. A very wet and bedraggled Hooded Crow was wandering around near the car park, but the weather conditions meant that this was the best that I could do.

Hooded Crow (Cornus corone cornix) - Findhorn
A text message from Jim, followed by a phone call from me, determined that a group (including Jim) were onto the Broad-billed Sandpiper. However, Jim said that it was so distant and difficult to spot, plus the threat of rain, meant that he'd not bothered to get his camera out - and twitching photography is what Jim does! On that basis, I reckoned that it would be far more productive for me to earn some brownie-points and continue to do something that Lindsay would enjoy. This led us to Burghead.

We had a wander round the harbour, where just a few distant Eider, and many Cormorant were seen, before heading to the rocky side of the head. We were the only people around!

Burghead Harbour
Back on the beach side of the head, a Swallow and a Crow, were the only birds I found to shoot at.

Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) - Burghead
We'd intended to continue to Lossiemouth, but on the way Lindsay spotted a sign to Hopeman Harbour. We'd never noticed this before, or seen or heard it mentioned either, so went to investigate. Whilst nothing of interest was seen here it was obviously full of potential, particularly for a winter visit, so we fully intend to return. It had the harbour on the west side and a beautiful beach with rocky outcrops on the east side, and the lady in the gallery by the harbour was the only person we saw whilst there!

Hopeman Beach
Suddenly the weather started breaking up so we set of back towards Grantown. We paid a farewell visit to Lochindorb but little was seen and the light was against us. We'd noted a road just outside Grantown that we'd never ventured down before and, as we still had plenty of time before dinner, decided to take a look. This is another route which I fully intend to spend time on in the future as it looks to be ideal for a number of species, including Crossbill and even, possibly, Long-eared Owl.

The day ended with another excellent dinner with Roger, Lynne, and Jim at the Grant Arms, shortly after which we said our farewells as the other three had long journeys the next morning.

Saturday 30th May

Our journey south was via the same route as our outward journey, stopping for another excellent lunch at the Dalmore Inn. Without the stop at Quarrymill, we were quite early arriving at Tweed View House, where we settled in, and relaxed with a pot of tea.

At around 18h00, as it was looking like a fine-weather evening, we set off for Cocklawburn Beach. I'd been here before when there were plenty of birds around, but I'd since read that the beach can also be good for fossils. There were, indeed, quite a few birds around, although it was still quite breezy in the area. We did also find a few fossils, most of which we left in situ but a couple of which were brought home with us for further investigation. I didn't manage any images of the Stonechats, but here's a few other birds.

Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis) - Cocklawburn Beach
Skylark (Alauda arvensis) - Cocklawburn Beach
Linnet (Carduelis cannabina) - Cocklawburn Beach
Linnet (Carduelis cannabina) (male) - Cocklawburn Beach
Linnet (Carduelis cannabina) (female) - Cocklawburn Beach
That night we agreed that we both felt 'fooded out' so settled for a quick snack at 'The Scottish Restaurant' (that's McDonald's to the uninitiated!).

Sunday 30th May

Graham provided us with a good breakfast again, and helped us to the car with our luggage and we were on our way quite early. We were both ready to get back home, and so only made the one 'comfort stop' and were outside the house before 13h00, in time for a light lunch.

From a birding and comfort point of view, the weather had been continually cold and windy and could have been a lot kinder to us, but we'd still had a wonderful break, greatly enhanced by our stay at the excellent Grant Arms with its friendly and efficient staff, and the presence of friends Lynne and Roger, plus Jim. This was my eighth stay there in the past five years, and my next stay is already booked! My thanks to you all. Special thanks also go to Graham and Liz at Tweed View House - yes, my next stay there is also booked!

Thank you for dropping by. I hope you've had the patience to digest this, and found it of interest. Yes, I did fail miserably in my attempt to keep it brief!

20 comments:

  1. My God, Richard, sounds like an amazing trip and you didn't even have good weather. I can hardly wait to experience some of this. See you in a little over four weeks!

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    1. I'm hoping we'll do somewhat better than this during your visit David. I've got one of those goats eyed up for a sacrifice a little nearer the time.

      Really looking forward to getting together with you both - - - - Richard

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  2. It is a great record of your week. I suspect you didn't miss much except sunshine and you got a bit of that.
    I'll be back to see what I missed.

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    1. Thank you, Adrian. There were a few more things that we'd probably have done or seen, but was all very enjoyable.

      Best wishes - - - Richard

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  3. What a set of species! Great photo report! Ringed Plover - THE BEST !!!

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    1. Thank you, gentlemen!

      My very best wishes to you both.

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  4. HI Richard Well that was a wonderful trip for you and Lindsay and a fabulous post for all of us to read and see your great photographs. Loved the Black & Red Grouse and of course the young Lapwing was very cute. All in all brilliant.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words, Margaret.

      I hope your weather is now favouring you. Best wishes - - - - Richard

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  5. A truly fantastic account if your trip, as you can imagine I sympathise with you on the "50mph" zones they're truly sending our industry into a tailspin.
    I really enjoyed the waders especially the Oystercatchers on the headstone which is one of my favourite images though I have a soft spot for the Stonechat too.
    I see what you meant about the fence but personally don't believe it detracts from the images too much but the Shorties with the moors in the background are really good images Richard, what's the reason behind the fence it looks like an electric fence, those white plastic tubes are normally
    used for someone to climb over is it too protect the trees from deer? Great post Richard

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    1. Thanks, Doug.

      I can see that those 50mph zones would be extremely frustrating if you encountered them regulalry. For me it wasn't so much about the loss of time, but how tiring that sort of driving is. With all the vehicles bunched up so closely in all lanes you can't relax for even a second - and there's always some idiot that'll put your concentration to the test!

      I'm not sure whether or not that fence is electrified, Doug, but I'm pretty sure it's to keep the deer out - there are plenty in the area. The fence is too high to climb over, which is why I suspected that the white tubing might just be to safeguard the birds - a bit like markers are used at regular intervals on power lines and telegraph wires where there's a regular passage of birds.

      Best wishes - - - Richard

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  6. Nice to see you and the boss,I didn't know you were both so young,nice to see.
    I also want to congratulate you on posting an outstanding trip,full of wonderful birds,and amazing images,some of us can only dream of.I often set out looking for a golden shot moment,and end up with silver.
    This post is without question a Gold Medal winner,well done.
    Good health to you both.
    John.

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    1. Very kind words, indeed, John - even if some (most?) of them were a bit tongue-in-cheek! Thank you!

      My very best wishes to you and Sue - - - - Richard

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  7. Super and varied images Richard, to many favourites to choose an individual but the Short Eared owl and the Meadow pipit are super, I bet you can't wait to get back among the birds later in the year,

    John

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    1. Thank you, John. I must admit, I'm looking forward to the next visit - hopefully with some unfettered birding.

      See you soon - - - - Richard

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  8. Super post Richard, must have taken you days to put together? Some great images too, I am now a Scottish convert, love the place. Good to see an image of Mrs P too, please send her my regards!

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    1. Thanks for your kind words, Paul. Mrs P says thank you too. Yes, it did take a while to write that lot, but not as long as it took to process the photos!

      Careful now - it's a bit easy to get adicted to Scotland.

      Best wishes to you and the family - - - - Richard

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  9. Hello Richard, what a joy to watch all these beautyful captures from your holiday. So much different birds, mamals etc.
    To bad the weather was not that good but that dous not show in your photos. Love to see you and your wife on the picture.
    Have a nice week.
    Roos

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    1. Thank you, Roos. I shall be returning to Scotland soon - without my wife(!), and will be hoping for better weather.

      Best wishes for the week ahead - - - - Richard

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  10. OH my, Richard!!
    You've gone overboard with this post!
    No wonder David's eye are popping out!! LOL!
    And you tell him you intend to do better when he joins you??!!!!
    I would really have loved to come and join the party...!!!
    You header is fantastic, I like the scenery, the composition and the light in it, just like all the pics concerning the Ringed Plover.
    I am also in particularly awe of your grouse photos! That is one bird I would really love to 'shoot'!
    Keep well and enjoy your day :)

    Take care

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    1. Thank you for your very kind comments, Noushka. I certainly intend to try and do better when David and Miriam are here. Maybe one day we'll all be able to get together - I look forward to that day!

      We're starting to see the dragons and damsels now, although I feel that numbers are down on last year. I'm finding the Sigma 50-500 really useful for photographing these.

      Have a wonderful week! - - - Richard

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