Champions of the Flyway!

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

The Highlands - November '21

Golden Eagle - always a privilege....

After the plague just beat us for our regular week there late last year, we finally, happily returned for our annual residency at the wonderful Grant Arms Hotel in the Highlands this November - and what a week it was.
Treecreeper in Caledonian pine forest (Cresties too, but they were camera shy this year)

Fortunately for us, the BWWC at the Grant Arms have invited us up for several years now, and as regular readers will know, we really love it up there - wonderful birds and wildlife, breathtaking landscapes, tranquility, epic scenery, and good friends.
Regular readers will also know how much I love seaducks, and so it's kind of a perfect match that I should be asked to lead excursions and give evening talks for their Seaduck week each year. The stars duly aligned to provide wonderful conditions and experiences, with the good folk on our over-subscribed excursions enjoying everything from displaying Long-tailed Ducks, Goldeneyes and Velvet Scoters to Goosanders and Red-breasted Mergansers alongside each other in stunning locations.
Snow Geese and Brambling at Loch Spynie 

Otherwise, we revisited various favourite spots and explored new ones, had a scream with good friends Simon, Mike and Sue (as well as Dave and various other hotel guests), and generally lapped up the opportunity to decompress after a very manic and full-on autumn.
Coal Tit, Siskin and Red Squirrel in the forests
Black Grouse, momentarily spooked from their entertaining and comical lekking
Running in Anagach - still doin' it for the doves (see here
Flocks of Eiders (above), and - magically - Siskins (below), the latter arriving in off the sea from Scandinavia in droves, low over the waves

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Friday, November 26, 2021

Shetland, 2021 - Mammals

It's never just about the birds, and the trip was especially great for memorable experiences with Otters at several spots (including the bay beneath the house) - my first UK Otters in many years and really wonderful views. Additionally, the highlight of our final hour in the field was a Humpback Whale, close in shore, and while we sadly didn't manage any Orcas, the boys were killer company all the same :-)