Tuesday 23 July 2013

What's Up in Scotland

I've just arrived back from a week in the Cairngorm National Park helping with 'What's Up' and having a blast in the hills. My son, Sam, and I camped at the forest holidays site in Glenmore. We spent our time divided between scrambling (climbing rocky bits generally without ropes), mountain biking, bagging Munros and looking for upland birds.

The main target was to locate and hopefully photograph Dotterels. I have photographed them in spring before, but I wanted to record the young to complete the story. Initially this proved difficult, as the usual site failed to reward me with any sightings. Luckily a second site proved better and I found three family groups along with a 'trip' of 16 adults.

The adults stood watch over the young birds, but they didn't appear agitated. I was mindful not to accidently separate the youngsters from the parent, so I didn't stay with them too long. The first family group comprised of an adult male and two almost ready to fly juveniles, whereas the other groups had much younger chicks.

Juvenile Dotterel
Dotterel Chick
As well as the Dotterels, a few family parties of both Snow Bunting and Ptarmigan were found. It was pleasing to photograph the female Ptarmigan as they can often be harder to locate than the males in summer.

Female Ptarmigan
Ptarmigan Chick
Juvenile Snow Bunting
Juvenile Snow Bunting
There were plenty of wild flowers in bloom, many of which are more commonly found in the arctic.

Moss Campion on Ben Macdui
Cloud Berry Flower
Starry Saxifrage Growing on a Cliff Face Above Loch Avon
Close Up of the Starry Saxifrage
Related links: Fun in Scotland

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