The following day with slightly sore head I headed up to Dalguise near Pitlochry to stay with my sister.
On arrival I noticed her nyjer seed feeder was being besieged by Siskins. I counted as many as eighteen queuing up to use the feeder. I love Siskins such a small and beautifully coloured bird. I see them rarely on my own feeders so the ability to sit and listen and watch them fighting over the seed was a real treat.
As I entered the house I noticed a Chaffinch collecting feathers to line a nest it had made in the cotoneaster right beside the front door.
|Female Chaffinch with nesting material|
|Breeding Osprey at Loch of the Lowes|
We then headed off to see if we could find any Black Grouse which would be a lifer for me. I have tried on a few occasions but to no avail. My sister rang the local gamekeeper to see if he knew of any good lekking sites. He rang another keeper and we headed off up the A9 to see what we could find. We found this track and headed for miles deep into the countryside. There were Wheatears, Meadow Pipits, Hares and Deer but no Black Grouse. When we had run out of likely habitat for the Black Grouse we headed back and as we were driving along I caught a glimpse out of the side of my eye of a bird dropping to the ground and at first thought was it a Kestrel. I got out of the car and headed towards where I thought I had seen it when a female Hen Harrier flew up. It made my day to see a Hen Harrier on a Scottish estate.
We continued on our hunt, at one point passing a Red Grouse calling but not from a very photogenic perch,
to various lekking sites where my sister had seen birds previously. It wasn't until the last place only about 14 miles from my sister's house that we saw a couple of birds a hundred yards off the roadside.
I was able to get a few shots of them. What fabulous birds.
I went back to my sister's house on a high. The following morning I went up the hill behind her house in the hope of finding a Capercaillie but to no avail. There were however lots of Tree Pipits around
|Displaying Tree Pipit|