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Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Return to Speyside, Pt.2 - 22nd to 26th June, 2016

This is the second, and last, part of my report on the visit to Speyside that my wife (Lindsay) and I made this year. You can find the first part here.

Wednesday 22nd June

One of my objectives for this visit to Scotland was to try and find some dragonflies and damselflies, as Scotland has some species that are not readily found elsewhere. Having done a little research I set off to a location that, for reasons that will become apparent later,  I ended up being sworn to secrecy over. 

It was sunny when we set off and, after dropping Lindsay in a nearby town I headed off into the reserve. It, almost immediately, clouded over and became very breezy - not good dragonfly weather! 

The first stretch of water yielded nothing. On the way to the second stretch, I came across a very young Great Tit that looked as if it should not have been out of the nest as it didn't seem to be able to fly. I couldn't detect parents anywhere and, after giving it some thought, decided that the best course of action was to side-step it and leave it there.

Further up the way, beside a sloping path in woodland, I found some orchids. One plant looked somewhat different to the other two which were relatively close by. Whereas Orchid 'A' had heavily spotted leaves, I didn't see any spots on the leaves of Orchid 'B'. I don't know much about orchids so, rather than hazard a guess at the species (I'd have guessed Heath Spotted Orchid for the first if it wasn't for the location)  I'll live in hope that someone can identify them for me. I think Orchid 'B' to be particularly beautiful

Orchid 'A' - Speyside woodland

Orchid 'B' - Speyside woodland
Having drawn a complete blank at a second stretch of water, finding the path ahead covered in tiny froglets, and a few drops of rain starting, I set off back towards my car.

As I returned past the first stretch of water, a constant calling drew my attention to a Common Sandpiper. It proved to be very confiding, and I got some shots that I'm happy with.

Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos) - Speyside Woodland
Now I'm used to seeing Common Sandpiper mainly at the water's edge, and occasionally atop a rock or a short post. I was quite surprised when this one flew into a tree and perched on a branch!

Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos) - Speyside Woodland
Having taken a huge number of shots of this bird, I set off back towards my car, mindful of the fact that I had to meet up with Lindsay sometime. I was only a couple of hundred metres from the car when I bumped into a couple of people that I'd spoken to at the Grant Arms the previous day. They were in the company of a guide, and invited me to join them in the hope of seeing a somewhat special bird for these parts - Pied Flycatcher! This is where I was sworn to secrecy! We set off back into the woods and eventually came to the area where there was a nest box containing young and a pair of Pied Flycatchers were busy feeding them. The light was not good and I had not yet learned to trust my Nikon D7200 at high ISO, so the results are not brilliant, but it was a fabulous experience.

Pied Flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca) - Speyside Woodland
After 10 minutes or so, I felt that it was only right to leave my companions to continue with their photography. He was toting a top-end professional camera/lens combination and had probably already fired off around a thousand frames of the flycatchers. If, by any chance, my companions are reading this, I thank you for your kind generosity which gave me one of the highlights of my holiday!

Having met up with Lindsay again, we headed off to the Cairngorm Base Station as there'd been reports of Ring Ouzel showing well near the base station buildings. It was a bit too cold and windy for Lindsay so she returned to the car whilst I had a look around.

View from Cairngorm Base Station on 22nd June, 2016
I started by the alpine garden above the buildings, and here I heard calls which I believed to be Ring Ouzel, although I could not see one. Eventually a bird flew up into the funicular tracks. I suspected that it was a juvenile Ring Ouzel, but with just the head visible, I couldn't be sure! - I am now (see later)!

Ring Ouzel (Turdus torquatus) (juvenile) - Cairngorm Base Station
This bird flew off, and I couldn't pick it up again, so I set off up the path that heads up the south side of the burn. Two couples that I met had both just seen Ring Ouzel further up the path. At one point I photographed a flower that I don't think I've ever encountered before, and I've no idea what it is. 

wild flower - near Cairngorm Base Station
I hadn't gone far before a Dipper flew upstream. I've never seen a Dipper at this location before, so I took a distant record shot, just before it continued further upstream.

Dipper (Cinclus cinclus) - near Cairngorm Base Station
I briefly saw the Dipper with a juvenile, before the adult flew downstream again, continuing until it was out of sight. The very young juvenile remained there.

Dipper (Cinclus cinclus) (juvenile) - near Cairngorm Base Station
Having taken a few photos, I continued on my way. I never saw the Ring Ouzels although, frustratingly, I must have asked half a dozen people who had all seen them. It then started raining harder so I headed back down the track. To my surprise I found the juvenile Dipper slowly making its way down the track. It must have been well over a hundred metres from where I'd first seen it. In the end, I had to walk past it at a distance of less than 2 metres as I was getting soaked by now.

Dipper (Cinclus cinclus) (juvenile) - even nearer Cairngorm Base Station!
I rejoined Lindsay and, as we'd some time in hand before dinner that evening, we decided to spend a little time beside the Spey at Grantown.  

This was clearly a day for seeing Common Sandpiper in unusual situations, as I found one sitting high up on a telegraph wire by the Spey!

Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos) - by Grantown on Spey
We'd driven to the end of the road by the old cemetery, with the intention of taking a short stroll, but the car parking area there was full of fishermen that looked a bit concerned by our presence (maybe they didn't have permits?), so we turned round and headed back.

The Common Sandpiper theme continued as we found one on a roadside notice board!

Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos) - by Grantown on Spey
We did find somewhere to stop a little further back down the road, and were immediately approached by Black-headed Gulls looking for food from gullible humans - they didn't get any from us! The photo clearly shows how wrong the 'black' bit is in their common name.

Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus) - by Grantown on Spey
That night, after dinner, I was booked to take a small group out towards Lochindorb to try and find Short-eared Owl and Black Grouse. Sadly, the Black Grouse didn't show, where I've seen them many times before, but a solitary Short-eared Owl did put in an appearance although it remained at a great distance for most of the time. Here it is sitting on a somewhat nearer post as we arrived at the site - unfortunately straight into the setting sun!

Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus) - south of Dava
We rounded off the evening with a visit to Lochindorb, returning to the Grant Arms at 23h15!

Thursday 23rd June

The weather forecast was quite good for the day, looking as if it would be the only really fine-weather day of the visit. I was very keen to find some dragonflies, and had been told of a location by the manager of the Grant Arms (thank you, David!). The location, near Boat of Garten, was soon found and Lindsay and I started looking. 

I soon spotted a few dragonflies right over on the far side of the water, and they didn't seem interested in coming any closer, so I set about photographing a few Large Red Damselflies.

Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula) - near Boat of Garten
There was a moment of excitement when Lindsay called out that she'd got a dragonfly settled on the path by the road. Giving directions as to where she is looking is not one of Lindsay's strong points. By the time I'd got a usable explanation the dragonfly had just that instant taken off. I have the clear impression that it was a White-faced Darter. I hung around for a while, but it didn't return, so I went back to the lakeside.

Eventually, a Four-spotted Chaser came close and perched a few times, although far from ideally positioned. Then there was a second one!

Four-spotted Chaser (Libellula quadrimaculata) (male) - near Boat of Garten
Four-spotted Chaser (Libellula quadrimaculata) (female) - near Boat of Garten
There was a Hawker of some sort still on the far side of the lake, but it didn't come closer so I started photographing the damselflies. There weren't many Blue-tailed damselflies around. Here's one.

Blue-tailed Damselfly (Ischnura elegans) (male) - near Boat of Garten
Whilst I was there, a local dragonfly expert arrived and we started chatting. He was surprised by my suggestion that I'd possibly seen a White-faced Darter as the lake we were at was unsuitable - but said that it wasn't impossible as there were some possible locations on the other side of the road. He also mentioned that the speciality of this particular location was Northern Damselfly. Here is where I admit to my total naïvety! Given that the Northern Damselfly is extremely localised and one of UK's rarest damselflies, I'd been assuming that the blue damselflies I'd been seeing were Common Blue Damselflies. My mentor told me that 95% of the blue Damselflies here were Northerns!! I'd already taken a few shots of these, not realising their identity, so I set about getting some more. This was not an easy task as this species likes to keep relatively low down in the Sedge.

Northern Damselfly (Coenagrion hastulatum) (male) - near Boat of Garten
I tried to photograph a mating pair, but found it impossible to get a shot without the head of the male being partly obscured by vegetation. The female seems to have a parasite problem.

Northern Damselfly (Coenagrion hastulatum) (mating pair) - near Boat of Garten
In deference to Lindsay, who was by now sitting patiently in the car, I decided it was time to move on. We didn't go far up the road, however, before stopping at another location which the gentleman at that last location had told me about. 

The first thing I saw here, at this tiny pond, was a White-faced Darter! In fact White-faced Darters, and a couple of Large Red Damselflies were all that I saw in the way of odonata.

White-faced Darter (Leucorrhinia dubia) (male) - near Loch Garten
I am sure that it is no coincidence that at this site, and at the site in Shropshire that I saw WFD at earlier this year, Sundew were present.

Sundew sp. - near Loch Garten
Very soon after my arrival, it started clouding over. Whilst there was only thin cloud the WFDs stayed, but as the cloud cover increased they disappeared and it was time to go. My time here had been just 10 minutes!

We went, via back-roads, to Carrbridge as there was a shop I wished to visit, and then headed off to Lochindorb. A Black-throated Diver was seen towards the far shore, opposite the Lodge. We then continued northwards and saw a huge raft of several hundred Greylag Geese on the far side of Lochindorb, and amongst them was a single Black-throated Diver. It's not certain if this was the previously seen one, but I suspect not. The 'raft' was slowly drifting closer, but never got close enough for meaningful photography.

Black-throated Diver (Gavia arctica) - Lochindorb
A pair of Black-throated Divers was then seen near the north end of the loch. Until now, I'd only seen single birds here during this year's visit, and it was hoped that a female bird was on shore with young or eggs. Now there were three, or possibly four! Although these were distant too, I did get some shots for the record. I like the Common Sandpiper flying between them in the last image - I believe that, in modern parlance, this is known a 'photobombing'?

Black-throated Divers (Gavia arctica) - Lochindorb
Here's a better image of a Common Sandpiper, taken that afternoon!

Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos) - Lochindorb
From Lochindorb, we headed for Dulsie Bridge, then Drynachan Lodge, and on to Highland Boath. Little was seen on this drive, but it was a pleasant excursion. However, near Highland Boath there is a spot where I  have often seen Stonechat, and there was one on a distant fence there this day - usually they're on a fence beside the road.

Stonechat (Saxicola torquata) (male) - near Highland Boath
We headed back to the Grant Arms relatively early as I was delivering my talk 'The Little Owls of Leicestershire' after dinner that evening. I was delighted with the turnout of which, once again, approximately half were local residents. It was an appreciative audience and there were some interesting questions at the end, which I was pleased to answer.

Friday 24th June

This day was our wedding anniversary, and our last day at the Grant Arms before departing the next morning, so I made an effort to not make this too 'birdy' for Lindsay. To my shame I believe I only partially succeeded in this respect, but my wife is wonderfully tolerant!

As the sun was shining when we set out, Lindsay kindly agreed to a brief visit to the location where I'd seen White-faced Darters the day before, but had only had ten minutes before the sun went in, and didn't come out again. As we arrived there were two minibuses here which had disgorged their contents to visit this tiny pond - it didn't look promising! Fortunately, by the time we'd parked, the minibuses were loading up and soon departed. I hurried to the pond to check it out. I saw one White-faced darter but, seconds after my arrival, the sun departed behind a large bank of cloud which had arrived, and the WFD disappeared too. I grabbed a quick shot of a damaged Four-spotted Chaser, and held onto some brownie points by quickly returning to Lindsay.

Four-spotted Chaser (Libellula quadrimaculata) (male) - near Loch Garten
I was quite surprised when Lindsay suggested I might like to return to Cairngorm Base Station, so off we went! Lindsay stayed in the car, reading a book whilst I went off to try and find Ring Ouzel, promising to be back in half an hour.

I first went to the Alpine Garden and immediately spotted an adult male Ring Ouzel beside a gate, but behind a dense tuft of grass. I stood waiting for it to walk from behind the grass, but it flew instead - up onto the side of a walkway.

Ring Ouzel (Turdus torquatus) (male) - Cairngorm Base Station
It didn't stay long before flying off down the burn, but was almost instantly replaced by a noisy juvenile that seemed to be trying to get the message across that it was hungry.

Ring Ouzel (Turdus torquatus) (juvenile) - Cairngorm Base Station
Naturally I set off to try and locate where the birds had flown to. On the way, however, I was distracted by this orchid, which I believe is Common Spotted orchid - I was quite surprised to find it in this environment.

Common Spotted Orchid? (Dactylorhiza fuchsii?) - near Cairngorm Base Station
I then found the juvenile again, some distance from the burn.

Ring Ouzel (Turdus torquatus) (juvenile) - near Cairngorm Base Station
It soon flew back to the gully that the burn runs in and I found that it had joined the adult male. I spent a while trying to photograph them here, but with little success due to the dense vegetation.

Ring Ouzel (Turdus torquatus) (male) - near Cairngorm Base Station
Eventually the male flew out of the gully and started worming in some mud banks. I was standing near a hut, so I just stood still at a corner of the hut, watching and taking photos. It seemed oblivious to my presence as it worked its way nearer and nearer - I had to wind back the lens from the full 500mm! Now, at this stage, I'm going to have to ask you to excuse a plethora of Ring Ouzel images, as I'm never going to see an opportunity like this again!

Ring Ouzel (Turdus torquatus) (male) - near Cairngorm Base Station
Suddenly the juvenile flew in to join the adult male. Sadly, I just missed the handover of food shot!

Ring Ouzel (Turdus torquatus) (juvenile) - near Cairngorm Base Station
If only the light conditions had been better - it was still very cloudy!

I just made it back to Lindsay within the half hour I'd said I'd be gone.

From Cairngorm we drove via Aviemore to Avielochan (Lindsay's choice) in the hope of seeing Slavonian Grebe.

We did find a couple, but my images were rubbish - light conditions tend to be extremely difficult as everything seems to be into the sun, with big skies behind reflecting on the water. My best images here have been taken in rain when it was dull! There is a hide here, which is for the exclusive use of Grant Arms guests. 

Slavonian Grebe (Podiceps auritus) - Avielochan
From here we continued to Carrbridge, where we visited a gallery from which the artist, Jeff Buttress sells his work. Lindsay found a limited edition print (No.2 of 50) of Lochindorb which we both agreed would be a fitting anniversary present to each other. We then headed for Strathdearn (sometimes referred to as 'the Valley of the Raptors'), which was another of Lindsay's choices. 

Strathdearn is reached by a 10 mile (16 km) dead-end road that leads from Findhorn Bridge to Coignashie. On the way up this road I had my second good sighting of the holiday of a male Redstart.

Redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus) (male) - Strathdearn
At the end of the road it was quite chilly in the wind, and some blue skies quickly gave way to dark clouds. I did manage to get some poor flight shots of a Peregrine Falcon, before the onset of a firework display of lightning flashes further down the valley.

Peregrine  Falcon (Falco peregrinus) - Strathdearn
Suddenly the rain came lashing down. The road is a narrow, and sometimes precipitous, one and so we headed back with a little more caution than usual. The temperature dropped from 14°c to 6°c as we descended and soon we found ourselves driving through settled slushy snow. I didn't like to stop on the bad bit, but here's a shot through the windscreen as we were coming out of it, just to give you an idea of what it was like.

weather! - Strathdearn
That night we celebrated with a tipple or two in the bar after dinner, before going upstairs to pack ready for our departure in the morning.

Saturday 25th June

We'd taken the decision to use our usual cross-country route back to Berwick upon Tweed but not delay our departure in order to get the timing right for a lunch stop at our beloved Dalmore Inn. Instead we stopped at the Macmillan Coffee shop at Quarrymill, near Perth where we had a sandwich.

Quite early on in our journey, near Ballater, we would pass the point where I'd seen Woodcock out in daylight on the outward journey. Not with any great expectations I'd put my camera on my knees before we got there, and checked the ISO and exposure compensation would be OK for taking photos in woodland in the prevailing weather conditions. To my utter amazement, there were two birds there again! The moment I pressed the shutter release I knew I'd got a problem. The shutter speed was ridiculously low - and the birds only stayed there for two or three seconds before flying off. I found that I'd accidentally wound the aperture down to f 20! My shots had been taken with the lens at 500mm ISO 800 (yes, I should probably have increased that too!), with a -0.7 exposure compensation and this had given me a shutter speed of just 1/50th second! It's a wonder that I got any images at all. One of my best photographic opportunities of the holiday - blown!! It took a bit of tweaking to end up with these two.

Woodcock (Scolopax rusticola) - near Ballater
We arrived at Tweed View House, Berwick upon Tweed, nice and early and were greeted by Liz, who helped us to our room. Having got ourselves sorted, and the weather being fine, we decided to set off for Cocklawburn Beach to take a stroll, before an evening meal. 

From the beach there were distant Eider drakes on the water, and seabirds flying past at a greater distance than usual (gulls and terns). A solitary Ringed Plover appeared on the beach in front of me - a quite usual bird for the shoreline here.

Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula) (juvenile) - Cocklawburn Beach
I grabbed a few shots of Oystercatcher as they flew past. They might be common but they do look splendid in sunshine!

Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus) - off Cocklawburn Beach
Further along the beach, the way a rock had been eroded caught my attention. It reminded me of the contours on a map.

Rock - Cocklawburn beach
I then noticed the next two rocks along, which had the fossils of ancient plants embedded in them . I've not yet found out what these fossils are of. The best defined 'string of 11 beads' in the upper centre of this next image was probably around 6 inches (15 cm) long. If the rock had been portable, I might have brought it home!

fossils - Cocklawburn Beach
On my way up through the dunes to the road (more like a track at that point) I noticed an orchid. I seem to have seen orchids at places I didn't expect to see them during this holiday. I'm obviously becoming more aware of them, and am starting to feel the urge to find out more about them. I don't know what this one was, but think it might be a marsh orchid of some sort - although the ground was far from marshy!

As I headed back to the car to rejoin Lindsay, there were Stonechats in the vegetation on top of the dunes.

Stonechat (Saxicola torquata) (female) - Cocklawburn Beach
We then headed back into Berwick upon Tweed. We'd eaten so well over the past week or so that we fancied something quick and simple, so we ended up at 'The Scottish Restaurant' (McDonald's!).

Sunday 26th June

After breakfast, we said our goodbyes to Liz and Graham at Tweed View House and headed homeward. We stopped off for lunch at the Deli-Café in Boston Spa once again, and arrived home mid-afternoon.

It had, as always, been an amazing stay at the Grant Arms, and I take this opportunity to thank the management and staff there for making our visit perfect. We're already booked to return in June next year!

I also thank Liz and Graham at Tweed View House for their super hospitality - we look forward to returning.

We'd had a splendid time on this holiday, even if it had been rather windy and without much sun. At least we didn't have to contend with a lot of rain.

Thank you for dropping by. My next post will possibly be quite short and totally different!


  1. The Black-throated Diver is simply devine, but, the Ring Ouzels are fantastic, I haven't been so lucky to photograph one, well done Richard.

    1. Thank you, Bob. Seeing the Ring Ouzels that close was extremely lucky. I hope you get to photograph one someday! I'd love to see the results!

      Best wishes - - - Richard

  2. Hey Richard! Just wonderful pictures, so familiar birds and dragonflies;-)) Wickedly cool photos of The Ring Ouzel (Turdus torquatus)! Lapland saw the same bird, but I did not get the photographs. The picture shows a flower's name was not, the green leaves is looking Cloudberry (Rubus chamaemorus). Oh, how wonderful trip you have had. And SNOW in June!

    1. Thank you Anne. It was an excellent trip.

      The person that I was talking to commented that the leaf was like Cloudberry, but the flowers were the wrong colour. However, the colour is not the only difference. The flower is 4-lobed, whereas Cloudberry is 5-lobed and looks a lot more delicate.

      Best wishes - - - Richard

  3. No hesitation to call this an excellent illustrated account of your trip to Speyside....Great stuff Richard, and belated congratulations on your wedding anniversary with my kind regards to Lindsay.

    1. Thank you, Pete. Much appreciated.

      Best wishes - - - Richard

  4. Great post Richard with some lovely photos. Love the Northern Damselflies, a species I have yet to see.

    1. Thank you, Marc. If you're ever going to be up that way, I'd be delighted to give you a precise location for the Northern Damselflies.

      Best wishes - - - Richard

  5. This was entertaining and well worth all your hard work. I can't help with the flower either but someone will know what it is.

    1. Thank you, Adrian. A post like this does take time to write, but I enjoy bringing back all the memories.

      Best wishes - - - Richard

  6. Hi Richard Well what a brilliant post. So much to see and very well photographed. Loved seeing the juv. Dipper, never seen one before and wonderful to see the Ring Ouzel with its young, of course we do not get them here in N.I. The orchids are glorious as well as the Dragonflies etc

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Margaret.

      Best wishes - - Richard

  7. Great report, Richard, of what was obviously a successful visit to Scotland, one which brings back many memories, of course. I envy you the encounters with the Ring Ouzel, especially given the one brief encounter we had with a single bird at Glenshee last year. As you say it may be a long time before you repeat that success. I thought it was cool last year when we were there but at least we didn't have snow!

    1. Thank you, David. I was thinking of you both on many an occasion during this visit, wishing you were there to witness some of the delights that we didn't have last year.

      Love to you both - - - Richard

  8. WOW, so many interesting subjects in this post, Richard, probably the richest so far I got to read!
    The Ring Ouzel for one is a discovery, never seen this bird before!
    Coenagrion hastulum is very rare in the English isle as it is in France, special congratulations for this 'catch'!!
    But that fossil with the 11 rings is absolutely fabulous! I couldn't begin to guess what it was alive!
    You'll forgive me not to comment on all the rest, but I'll say it was fun to see the sandpipers perched on a branch and on a wire!
    Well done, I want more!!!!
    Warm hugs my friend to share with Lindsay

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Noushka. Seeing Ring Ouzel is always a matter of luck with me. Now I know where to find Coenagrion hastulatum, I hope to connect with them again next year. Maybe you and I will be able to share some sightings sometime?

      Best wishes - - - Richard

  9. Wow, Richard, your photos are absolutely gorgeous! Thank you so much for sharing, and warm greetings from Montreal, Canada. :)

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Linda.

      Best wishes - - Richard

  10. What a brilliant partnership Richard Pegler and Nikon D7200,this post is full of outstanding Photography,the Ring Ouzel with young,the Woodcock and Common Sandpiper are superb captures.
    This post is action packed with delights,which makes me very jealous,well done.

    1. Thank you, John - you're too kind!

      That D7200 is not serving me that well at the moment! I've been suffering problems with the Sigma 50-500 on the D7200 for a while now - I keep getting an electrical disconnect between the two, which results in not being able to operate the shutter or getting totally blank 'images'. I had a fabulous opportunity with a Marsh Harrier in flight on Thursday, and when I looked at the back of the camera the whole sequence was totally black. Got to work out whether it's the camera or the lens causing the problem. It seems that it's mainly due to a slightly loose rotational fit between the two. If I take the lens off the camera and give the connections a wipe with a lint-free cloth it sorts it for a few weeks and then the problem returns. Waiting till the busy photographic season is over then going to get someone to look at it.

      Best wishes to you and Sue - - - Richard

  11. Firstly I've got to apologise as your first post never showed up on my feed (Google issue) so acting catch up....and what a catch up! The sheer number of species is mind boggling. The Common Sandpipers perches had me chuckling. And I enjoyed seeing juvenile Whinchat and Ring Ouzels. I've always wanted flight shot of divers so I'm a bit jealous but it got worse when you posted Woodcock in daylight!
    Some truly great images, to the point I wouldn't attempt to pick a favourite but the decoy peregrine made me chuckle, you didn't mistake it for a real one at first did you? :-) like I've done in the past

    1. Thank you, Doug for your kind comments. Yep, I was taken in by the Peregrine decoy at first. I felt a bit of a twit when I reversed up and saw what it was!

      I hope you're having a great weekend - - - Richard

  12. Hi Richard, super post with such a variety of subjects, the Juvenile Dipper is amusing with its fluffy feathers still showing, all the Orchids , the White Faced Darter, and you managed a Shortie. Must remember to take a sledge next year. See you soon. John

    1. Thank you, John. I didn't think it would take long - just ordered a field guide for orchids! Maybe I'll manage to ID some of these!

      See you on Thursday - - - Richard

  13. Lots of lovely pictures and an interesting read. I like the Sandpiper pictures. The rock and fossil pictures are interesting. Your little wildflower I cannot identify, it looks like a geranium but which one I could not say as there are so many types of these geraniums.

    1. Thank you, Linda. I'll keep the idea of Geranium in mind.

      Best wishes - - - Richard

  14. Beautiful Scottish countryside, fantastic flowers, fabulous fossils, diversity of bird species - PLUS - actual damsels and dragons! All expertly narrated and photographed. This was such a sweet post that I didn't even need sugar in my morning cuppa!

    Really, Richard, what a splendid location you found for an anniversary trip. Congratulations!

    The sandpiper perches were a lot of fun and the Ring Ouzel would make my day! Most of your odonata are somewhat familiar to our local species but different enough to make me want to see Scotland!

    Gini and I hope you and Lindsay have recuperated and are having a great new week!

    1. Thank you, Wally. It's always a delight to hear from you!

      Maybe it's time you visited Scotland. I know someone who'd be delighted to show you both around as it's one of his favourite places!

      Best wishes to you both - - - Richard


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