Saturday, 26 April 2014


We began today at 5am with a visit to the RSPB Capercaillie watch at Loch Garten. Unfortunately thick fog was against us and despite persevering for an hour and a half, visibility was always less than the distance to the "forward" hide (c50m) Although our quarry species alluded us, we were rewarded with excellent view of the smart male Redstart pictured below, which sang throughout our time in the hide whist the female remained within the nest box. Further to this, Red Squirrel and Siskin flocks offered a further distraction from the distinct lack of Capers. I would love to give you an update as to how the Osprey is doing....but we couldn't see it!!!!

Having made a decision that the fog was going to hang all morning, we moved on to Loch Mallachie. Spending approximetley an hour walking the loop trial, we finally heard our first Crested Tits, located on the Loch side. Here we also recorded Redstart, Goldrest, Treecreeper, Crossbill sp x 2, Goldeneye and Common Sandpiper.

Having briefly stopped back at the hotel for refreshments, we continued on toward Cairngorm Mountain, calling in at "the second" Osprey nest, seeing the female proudly sat on her nest, now we were having to compete with heat haze!!

Above 2 images: Snow Bunting

The majority of the afternoon was then spent birding the Cairngorm area recording of note Snow Bunting (above) and a stunning pair of Ptarmigan (below). Click on any of the images to enlarge and remember book for our 2015 at 2014 prices, limited time only!

Above 4 images: Ptarmigan

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Highlands Tour Day 2

Well, after a very long day, there is not going to be a lot of text for you to perusal this evening, however a more wordy update will be available tomorrow, in the mean time I hope you enjoy the images I managed to acquire throughout the course of today. All of our guests are now with us and tomorrow marks the official start of the tour, so watch this space!!

Common Gull


Pied Wagtail

Above 3 Images: Female Red Grouse

Red Grouse (male)

Above 2 images: Black-throated Diver

Above 3 Images: Long-tailed Duck

Above 2 images: Eider

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Pre Tour Birding

With our 5th annual (under the banner of "Aquila") due to commence in full flow on Friday morning, Dad and I decided to drive up over night and have an extra day enjoying this superbly diverse and scenic part of the world. Furthermore, one of our American guests will be arriving tomorrow and as such, we can work on a few of them "rare for you, common for us species".

We are currently taking bookings for the 2015 Highlands Tour, which if booked before the end of May 2014, will be offered at this years prices. For further information please e-mail

Today we visited a number of the usual haunts recording a number interesting species of note- Crested Tit (3), Ptarmigan (1), Red Grouse (numerous), Osprey (3), Redstart (numerous) and of course it wouldn't be Scotland without a Red Deer or 500..... Below are a few pictures which have turned out okay. Click to enlarge.

Above 2 images: Gooseander

Above 2 images: Red Grouse

Off to Scotland

Just a quick blog to say in the morning we will be driving to Scotland for the 5th Annual Scottish Highlands Tour.  A few photos below from an hour or so spent at the Flashes (Sandbach) at the weekend.  Dad finally got Sand and House Martin for his 2014 "Sandbach Flashes Year List" and found a smart male Wheatear near the end of our walk to add a further year tick! 
Sedge Warbler could be heard singing near the road at Elton Hall Flash and I managed to get myself a year tick, with what has to be my favourite wader - Little-ringed Plover. 

Watch this space for blog updates throughout the Highlands tour and a full trip report will be available on the website when we return!


Swallows, Sand and House Martin

as above.

Peekaboo! Greater spotted Woodpecker
As above.

Above and Below - Willow Warbler

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Inner Marsh Farm no more

An impromptu visit to Frodsham yesterday was unremarkable - pretty quite really. A lone Marsh Harrier, 2 Sedge Warbler and 3 Common Whitethroat of note.   As there was still plenty of the day left we decided to move on to Burton Mere RSPB where a pair of Garganey had been reported.  

We arrived to find a busy car park due to the opening of the new footpath to what was the old Inner Marsh Farm RSPB.   En route to the Garganey we scanned the pool in front of the visitor centre and were rewarded with 80 Black-tailed Godwit and 20+ Avocet (some sitting on eggs).  

Photograph opportunities with Chiffchaff, Sedge Warbler and an Orange Tip Butterfly was nice as we made our way to the hide.  The Garganey were showing well - a lifer for Al (my travelling companion today).  An enjoyable few hours and not too far from home. 


 Common Whitethroat

 Avocet (Library Picture Spanish Tour)

(Library Picture Spanish Tour - Bryan Thomas)

Orange Tip

Friday, 18 April 2014

Spring Pictures

 Well after the other half of Aquila's doubtful insinuations mentioned within their last blog post, I thought I better pull my finger out and provide some proof, see below for some truly stereo-typically "spring" images, click on any of the images to enlarge.

Early Purple Orchid

Small Tortoiseshell 

Fallow Deer






House Martin

Sedge Warbler

Yellow Wagtail

Yellow wagtail

I'm working down in the South East this week and spring/summer is already well into the swing of things with plenty of migration and breeding based activity being observed. Key migrants have included - Nightingale, Lesser Whitethroat, Grasshopper Warbler, Cuckoo, Garden Warbler, Willow Warbler, Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler, Yellow Wagtail and Ring Ousel. Please keep your eyes peeled on the blog as next week Aquila will be visiting the Scottish Highlands for their 5th annual tour. For further information on set or bespoke tours throught the UK and Europe, please visit

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Sandbach Flashes Cheshire

Just a quick blog to keep all our followers looking !  We are busy with survey right now but still try to grab a few hours local birding when we can.  Spring has now finally arrived and reports of migrants arrive daily in our inbox.  Not everyone is so sure though, as you can by the pic of the Coot at Sandbach Flashes a few days ago, who is playing it safe and building her nest well out of the danger !

Blackcap, Bullfinch, Chiffchaff, Black-tailed Godwit and my first Swallow of the year were all nice to see along with a surprise Iceland Gull.   A Cheshire Lifer for me (Mark Powell) outdid them all, an Egyptian Goose, which has been strutting around the flashes for several days.