Saturday, 27 June 2020


Loch A'an basin, Thursday
The temperatures rocketed here in the Highlands towards the middle of the week. Temperatures up on the summits in the Cairngorms reached around 18 C by Thursday. Thankfully there was a good breeze blowing most days. The threat of thunderstorms and heavy bursts of rain faded way and it has been dry, hot and mostly sunny for four days.

After early cloud and rain it was a lovely afternoon for a bike ride up Glenmore and over Ryvoan. The first of the 3 heathers we have here in Scotland is just out in flower. Bell Heather. This time of year you get to see different flowering plants day by day.
Adorable Red Squirrels
Bell Heather in bloom, bees loving it
Ryvoan Pass

Mountain Hare, Monadliath
On Wednesday I had a wander to my usual spot in the monadhliath hills to photograph the Mountain Hares. Good numbers and they're well into their summer pelage now, that gorgeous chocolate brown colour. No good close ups today but nice to see them in relation to their mountain environment and blue skies above.
In sillouette

At the ready

Camouflage in the heather
Highlights today were a Wheathear and her two fledglings lower down the hill. She was looking after her young well, constantly feeding them with insects, plenty of them about just now.
Wheatear adult

Juvenile, getting towards adult size

Patiently waiting for food


It was also lovely to observe and photograph a Golden Plover looking gorgeous in the golden sunshine. This is another ground nesting bird that can be found high up on moorland and sometimes even above 900m in some areas. Their instantly recognisable call is usually the first signs they are close by before actually  seeing them.
Golden Plover

Golden colours

Nice backdrop
Northern Cairngorms

Nice afternoon sun
Meadow Pipit


I had a wander around the plateau, avoiding the paths as much as possible. Quieter
but mostly to try and find some of our wonderful wildlife.  Namely Ptarmigan and Dotterel. It's that time of year when the young should have hatched so it would have been nice to see some chicks about. In the end I saw no adults of either species never mind any youngsters.
Selfie snowpatch

The Ciste Mhearad snow

With crevasse
The Ciste Mheared snowpatch up towards the summit of Cairn Gorm was is hanging on well. There is an impressive 'crevasse' opened up. This gives an easy indication of the depth of the snowpack here. At least 3 metres. It will still be here for some weeks to come, despite the soaring temperatures of the weekend. A good spot to cool off for lunch. Earlier in the day I spotted two juvenile Ring Ouzel at around 1100m. Nice to see them high up. They are normally lower down, close to the Coire Cas carpark earlier in the Spring/Summer.
Juvenile Ring Ouzel

Happy not to fly off very far today
If you've never had the pleasure of seeing these beautiful birds you may well be mistaken in thinking they are female blackbirds. The big giveaway clues are the terrain and height they thrive in (unlikely to see a blackbird at Munro height) and their very beautiful and distinctive call. Once they grow into adults they get their distinctive white bib on their chests. The male's is much more vivid.
Trailing Azalia

Stag Rocks above Loch A'an

Golden sands and beautiful blue waters of A'an
I roamed around the plateau for a few hours, checking out all my usual well known spots that \I have frequently seen Ptarmigan and Dotterell. Not today unfortunately. Always another day. I was accompanied by plenty of Skylark and Meadow Pipits and a distant Snow Bunting or two.
Shelterstone Crag & Carn Etchachan

Coire an Lochain, late afternoon

Coire an Lochain
Hiding Mountain Hare

Heath Spotted Orchid
Nice to see my friend the Mountain Hare in Coire an Lochain on my return home. It was still as hot on the bike ride back down the road from the top of Coire Cas. Great news again this week. From 3rd July the whole of Scotland can freely travel about and accommodation is starting to open up at the same period. Of course this is also terrific news for moi. I can get back to work and hopefully folk will start hiring mountain guides again. So I will be availiable from 5th July onwards if you require any guiding in our beautiful hills. I also provide navigation courses and wildlife photography workshops, as usual.

Some wildlife watching and photography last two days. We have some very easy walking around the many lochs and lochans in the Strathspey region. All within short travel distance or on foot/bike from the middle of Aviemore. Thankfully Saturday was a bit more comfortable temperatures after another scorcher on Friday. Saturday evening we had an half hour weather window after rain. Enough time for a lovely photograph session with a Lapwing on the Dava Moor.
Juvenile looking a bit damp
Taking off

Delightful baby bunny in Clova
I counted at least 50 in this group of Greylaggs
Juvenile Kestrel


Moorhen Chick

Azure Damselfly
A very fast Roe Deer

Ringlet Butterfly

Looks like rain

No, sun came out
Lochindorb, nice evening

After the rain

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