Thursday, 24 May 2018


The Dotterel has landed
A glorious day of wall to wall blue skies and warm sun here in The Cairngorms. Highland heatwave day 2.  If you've booked a weeks holiday up here this week then you've certainly hit the jackpot. This big high pressure sitting over us is going nowhere fast. More days of warm sun and blue skies pretty much across the whole of the Scottish Highlands.
Remaining snow in the Goat Track, Coire an t-Sneachda
T-shirt conditions all day in the Northern Cairngorms. A lovely light breeze to stop you getting too hot! 
Living up here in Aviemore is a very special spot. Where else can you fit in half a days outing and manage to walk amongst big corries, scramble along a delightful ridge, photograph some of the UK's rarest bird and mammals and bag a Munro. Oh yes, even found time to have a peaceful lie down on dry grass. A lovely spot, so peaceful except a wee trickling stream, the croak of a ptarmigan and the beautiful song of the snow bunting.
Female ptarmigan
Male ptarmigan
Heading off the main Sneachda path and onto pathless terrain there were plenty of ptarmigan about. In the background was the beautiful song of a snow bunting. I reckon this wee guy is the one that's been calling away for the last few days. He was fluttering about between the cliffs of  Sneachda and onto the crest of the Fiacaill Ridge.  I sat high up in the coire for over 20 minutes beside a pair of delightful ptarmigan, totally unaware of my presence.
Fiacaill Buttress, spot the ptarmigan, he's there
Marsh Marigold
A deserted Fiacaill Coire Sneachda
Fiacaill Ridge skyline
Up on the plateau there was a stiff breeze which was nice, still warm coming from a southerly direction. I evaded the crowds again and disappeared onto pathless terrain. It was so warm today the Cairngorm Reindeer Herd were cooling off on one of the many snow patches.
Reindeer on snow
Too hot for some
One of the rarest of  birds to visit the UK are The Dotterel. Amazing wee plover that migrates from West Africa in Spring, a ground nesting bird and another hardy character that stays up high on these mountains. The Cairngorms one of the best areas to see them altough they do nest in other parts of Scotland.  I've seen them on the plateau in all kinds of weather. Heavy rain, high winds, thick cloud. To see them in glorious sunshine is a treat. They 'go home' late summer so look out for them while you can.
Male Dotterel
A beautiful bird too. The male is the showier (as always in the animal world!). Unique in that the male looks after the youngsters.
Back on the path and down in sizzling heat, home for mid afternoon. Not a bad few hours out.
I think the NW Highlands are beckoning again!

Male patrmigan

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