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Natural Connections

Modern life in Scotland is increasingly busy. The connections our ancestors had with nature and the land are being lost. As leisure time shrinks, or is filled with hi-tech experiences, opportunities to experience nature become fewer. And yet it is possible to connect with nature on a day to day basis. All around us, the great web of life continues to hold its shape, and nature continues its eternal cycles. Keep looking, listening, smelling, touching - and keep experiencing natural connections.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Today was the first day of a short, unplanned visit to Strathspey. In the event, we had just 24 hours in the area, but managed to amass a list of 50 species including several of the "highland gems". First stop (after the first half of a dreadfully slow journey) was Pitlochry. No House Martins (a little too early) or Swifts (much too early) in the town centre, but a walk over the dam produced Goldeneye, Pied Wagtail and a pair of Goosander. Dipper and Grey Wagtail were both notable by their absence, and both species eluded us the whole trip (in spite of stops at various likely localities). I wonder if the winter snows have hammered them.
Other birds on route included several Buzzards and a single Osprey overhead. Arriving in Strathspey, the weather was fantastic and gave excellent views of the northern corries from the Glenmore Forest Centre (first two photos below). Most obvious bird there (and in fact for the whole of the trip) was Siskin, with numerous small groups in the treetops. A walk around the skiers car park (very busy) produced lots of Meadow Pipits and a single, calling Red Grouse (106th species for 2010). Back at ground level, an evening visit to Loch an Eilean (third photo) produced a Common Sandpiper, singing Willow Warblers and more Siskins (plus the ubiquitous Chaffinches).
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