Monday, 15 June 2015

Kingussie Icky (or "can you really call it a record shot if you can barely tell what it is?")

On Saturday morning the summer had already buggered off somewhere else. I was restless, annoyed and more than a little damp after the drizzle. I spent the day mooching around Pitlochry and napping on the sofa. I glanced at RBA, saw the report of the Kingussie Icterine, and ignored it. The weather was rubbish. Then at four, the other half of the blonde birders messaged me his (sunny) views of the West Mids melodious warbler, then - adding insult to injury - told me he was off for the black eared wheatear the following day. Well, no way was I missing out.

The next morning was bright and clear and I threw my stuff into the car and boosted north on the A9, rolling into Kingussie at about 10:00. There was no one around as I got out of the car, had it flitted overnight? Well, I'd hardly walked three feet when I met a man walking from the far end of the path. Two minutes of brief conversation later and he was pointing be down the road to where he had seen a crowd of birders the previous day - result.

Armed with local knowledge I positioned myself opposite the likely looking stand of trees, and within a minute had the bird singing away in front of me. Ten minutes later I was joined by a couple of local lads and a guy from Lancashire. and we moved location to get the light behind us. The second spot was more distant but the light was now behind us, the bird glowed a pale yellow standing out even without bins. 

After 30 minutes we moved back to the cars to set up scopes, through which you could easily pick out the heavy bill and the pale patch on the wing. I just couldn't get a decent shot of the bird to save my life. After about 2 hours observation I said goodbye to my new friends and headed up the road.

The tree favoured was just far enough from both vantage points to make pictures bloody awkward

Is that a bit of a primary projection? 

From Kingussie I went to Craigellachie Nature Reserve on the outskirts of Aviemore with the aim of getting some wood warbler shots, but while I heard the birds, I didn't manage to connect with one. However, I did get some lovely views (although again, awful pictures) of flycatchers, common sand, tree pipit and goldcrest. I called it a day at only two, heading back along the A9 to enjoy the last of the sun at home, you never know when it will go again...

Brief views of pied fly resulted in one usable record

The pied flies were more and confiding numerous

Unlike the KD Trips, the Craigellachie birds have more typical habitat and I got to see some lovely branch-strutting

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