A trip to Scotland

Back from my non-birding trip to Scotland. This trip was a first for me, a five-day coach trip with three scenic railway trips. This trip was a spur of the minute decision when my mum and I happened to see it advertised in the paper. It was most enjoyable with some beautiful and breathtaking scenery. From a birding point of view it was always going to be a bonus if we saw anything good. Almost the first bird seen after arriving at our hotel was a Dipper in the River that ran alongside. We were able to watch it nest-building under the main road bridge. The first train trip from Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh was stunning and at Kyle we saw Black Guillemot, Hooded Crow and Shag. The Steam trip on the Strathspey Railway saw plenty of Oystercatcher in the fields, many Skein of Greylag Geese heading North and best of all an Osprey leisurely heading along the River Spey. A ride on the Funicular Railway into the clouds on Cairngorm was birdless, however excellent views of a single Red Grouse were had on a walk back down on the lower slopes. A late afternoon walk in a local pine forest did not turn up the hoped for sighting of Crested Tit but was none the less pleasant.  An even more spectacular trip from Fort William to Mallaig ended in slight disappointment with very few birds to be found at the coast. Some excellent candidates for genuine Rock Dove were the highlight and more Black Guillemots were nice. Surprisingly there were no waders on the shore and no Sea Duck, Grebes or Divers either. However despite it not being a birding trip an overall total of fifty-one species wasn’t bad in the end.

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