Sunday, 30 June 2013

Peregrine Falcon

I am lucky enough to have two Peregrine Falcon territories close to where I live. This morning I left home early hoping to get some flight shots. The breeding attempt is late this year. The young usually fledge by early June, but so far there is no sign of any young. They are probably too small to venture out from the protection of the rock that is in front of the eyrie.

The Female

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Interesting Gull at Shawell A5 Lagoons

I saw an interesting gull last Wednesday and again yesterday at Shawell A5 Lagoons. Initially I thought it was a Yellow-legged Gull due to its grey mantle being slightly darker than the nearby Herring Gulls. However, something didn't seem right as its sleek body and long wings gave it more of a Caspian Gull look, but the bill seemed too bulky and bright for that species.

Interesting Gull

Thursday, 20 June 2013

The Mighty Liathach

Last year I sampled the delights of Liathach but not the complete ridge. I had Dawn with me and she wasn't keen on tackling the Am Fasarinen Pinnacles, so we turned back after the first major summit.

Reading about these pinnacles conjures up all sorts of nightmares in your head but what would it actually be like?

Liathach From Loch Clair

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Grebes, Whitethroats and Summer Gulling

It felt more like winter gulling on Saturday morning, as the wind was bitter cold. I could have done with a pair of gloves - isn't it supposed to be warm in June?

I wasn't really expecting to see that many gulls during my visit to Cotesbach landfill site and Shawell A5 Lagoons, but at least 300 were present. Mostly immatures, but quite a few were adults. Most were Lesser Black-backed Gulls, but amongst them were 18 Herring Gulls, one first-summer Great Black-backed Gull and a second-summer Yellow-legged Gull.

Six colour ringed LBB Gulls were seen: two at the landfill site and four at the lagoons. Only the ones at the lagoons were readable, as the wind was too strong at the landfill site.

LBB Gull (DPDS) was ringed in Suffolk last July and spent its first winter near Agadir, Morocco.

1st-summer LBB Gull (DPDS)

Friday, 14 June 2013

A Close Call on An Ruadh Stac

Sam and I were both keen to climb An Ruadh Stac since first seeing it whilst climbing Moal Chean-dearg. The day before we had passed close by, but decided against climbing it then as it was raining hard and the Quartzite slabs on its lower slopes are very slippery when wet.

We set off a bit late on the day, but made reasonable time and arrived at the base of the climb at lunchtime. We paused to eat by some small lochans that looked like balancing lakes, due to them being at different elevations.

The Lochans at the Base of An Ruadh Stac

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Sgorr Ruadh and Beinn Liath Mhor

I was counting the cost of falling over the previous day when I put my boots on for one of the more strenuous walks of our holiday. I had stood on a rock, which tipped over leaving me to fail miserable at staying on my feet. I smashed down into a mossy stream with a sickening thud. My camera crashed into the stream bed and I really thought the worst. Standing up I checked my camera and amazingly it was not marked at all and worked perfectly. I had landed badly on my right knee and elbow, which were both cut and bruised. My clothes were also in a bit of a state. What's worse we had hardly gone any distance from the nearby road and my acrobatics had been witnessed by all my family.

Anyway I soon forgot my aches and pains once we set off as the weather was perfect. Fuar Tholl dominated the view as we had to travel almost all the way around it. 

Fuar Tholl from the west - can you make out the face?

Wednesday, 12 June 2013


I was pleased to locate Ptarmigan on most of the mountains I climbed during my recent trip to Scotland. I had failed to locate any on the west coast mountains during my trip in May 2012. Some of them where quite low down the mountain. The male pictured below was at 650 metres, which is quite low down considering the time of year.

Using the Bird Track App on my phone I was able to record precisely their location and upload the sighting to the BTO to help with their 'What's Up' survey - more on the Bird Track App for smart phones later.


Monday, 10 June 2013

Sunday, 9 June 2013

The Horns of Beinn Alligin

The weather forecast for the first full day of our holiday was dry with light winds, but typically we woke up to rain. Luckily the rain stopped after an hour, so we kept to our plan of going to Torridon and conquering Beinn Alligin and its famous horns.

The clouds were just lifting as we set of from the car park near Torridon House. Hopefully we would get to see why this mountain is said to be beautiful. The close proximity to the sea and the prevailing westerly weather fronts ensure that its slopes are kept nice and green.

Cloud Lifting off the Horns

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Scottish Trip

I've just got back from a terrific two week trip to Scotland. The highlights included climbing ten Munro's (Scottish mountains above 3000 feet), eight of them new ones. We had some great experiences like watching a pair of Golden Eagles soaring above a crag and giving superb views. Also the weather was fantastic - most of the time.

Our base was a lovely cottage in a tiny place called Coulags near Loch Carron. The overnight drive up was quite pleasant, as it was a clear evening with a full moon. We timed the journey perfectly to witness the sun rising and slowly transforming the rugged pyramid of Buachaille Etive Mor from a dark brooding mass into to a lovely warm and welcoming peak. The warm glow of the mountain was the only thing warm, because the temperature was 0°C. This mountain is very popular as a photographic subject, but I don't feel too bad about adding my interpretation as I have actually stood on the top of it.
Buachaille Etive Mor