Scotland in Style: Birds & History Apr 27—May 06, 2017

Posted by Andrew Whittaker

Whittaker_andrew_r

Andrew Whittaker

Andrew Whittaker was born in England but considers himself to be Brazilian, having moved to this biodiverse country in 1987 to work for the Smithsonian Institution, banding...

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Breathtaking Scottish highland scenery; superb birding among a constant flush of spring greens combined with colorful flowers; exploring a wealth of  interesting historical sites (castles, stately homes, and battlefields); and wrapping up by visiting one of the world’s finest Scots Whisky Distilleries to sample a wee dram—what more can one ask for? Combine this with a wonderful group of people based in a superb historic (birding) hotel where we were treated like kings, with excellent meals (we all certainly gained a little weight) and marvelous hospitality; really, life can’t get much better!

Black Grouse displaying at lek

Black Grouse displaying at lek— Photo: Andrew Whittaker

 

We were blessed with wonderful spring weather throughout our trip. Birding highlights were many; none of us will ever forget the stunning scope studies of those male Black Grouse (on their lek as they carried out their odd rituals) in all their glory, their odd calls echoing over the early morning on that stunning bleak moor, while displaying Eurasian Curlews’ romantic calls filled the air. 

We enjoyed exceptional daytime studies of a wonderful pair of responsive Tawny Owls—voted the number one bird of the trip! Other highlights included wonderful repeated Red Grouse studies and stunning Rock Ptarmigans, especially the one that landed almost at the feet of those hiking with me on that glorious day at the Cairngorm Mountains! And I’m sure no one will ever forget those marvelous soaring Red Kites. Other interesting behavioral observations—“Bambie moments”—included the tiny baby Northern Lapwings and Graylag Goose with goslings, and the multitude of cute playful lambs!

Read Andrew’s full report in his Field List.