A short break in Tomatin up in the highlands of Scotland has given me the chance to see some fabulous sites again whilst picking up a few year ticks and grabbing a few record shots.
First I visited a fish farm near Cairn Gorm and managed to see my first Osprey of 2017 without having the camera with me to capture the image. At Cairn Gorm I picked up a single Ptarmigan in the distance from the top viewing platform and heard another lower down.
Whilst sitting in the car out of the strong cold wind I managed to get a few images of the Snow Buntings and Ring Ouzels feeding around the edge of the car park. It was good to see the male in his summer plumage.
Snow Bunting at Cairn Gorm
Ring Ouzel at Cairn Gorm
From the car park I also picked up my first Red Grouse of the year.
Day two saw me make an early morning visit to Loch Garten where the Cappers are having a year off and not showing at all and with the wardens alarming and depressing commentary blaming every visitor to the area for the birds demise I left.
In the car park I watched the feeders and after an hour got lucky when a single Crested Tit visited. A Red Squirrel visited the same feeders and I managed a single shot of him too. I picked up Tree Pipit and Redstart here before finding Black Grouse in a nearby field as I drove down the A9.
Later a trip down the Findorn Valley delivered Dipper as a final year tick of the day although I also enjoyed good views of six Mountain Hares.
Red Squirrel at Loch Garten
At Lochindorb more Red Grouse and a few waders were enjoyed on a quick drive around the Loch.
Back at the cottage we had three Red Kites, two Buzzard and a Goshawk over along with a calling Tawny Owl and a few deers running through the garden.
A very large Bat also hunted around the stream last night but I’ve no idea what species it would be.
Year list now 210