Monday, 23 April 2012

Weekend away... Part.1

My girlfriend and I decided a couple weeks back to have a weekend away somewhere after the Northumberland trip didn't work out in the Easter holidays. We decided to rent a static caravan up at Embo, North of Dornoch near to Loch Fleet.

We checked in on Friday (20th) and got settled in. After dinner we took a stroll down to Embo pier and along the beach. Plenty of Herring and Common Gulls around plus my first Gannet of the year flying North past the pier. On the beach were quite a few Pied Wagtails and Skylarks in the dunes. Around the campsite on Friday evening and throughout the trip were plenty of House Sparrow, Starling, Jackdaws, Carrion Crows and some Black-headed Gulls aswell as Common and Herring.

On Saturday (21st) we decided to head up to Golspie and took a route around the South shore of Loch Fleet and passed the Mound on the way. From the lay by near to Skelbo Castle were 20 Sandwich Terns (first of the year) on the rocks as well as a single Turnstone. Out on the water were Red-Breasted Mergansers, Eiders, Goldeneye, and a couple hundred Pink-footed Geese out on one of the sandbanks. Around the shore were Curlew, Oystercatchers and Shelduck. Two Common Seal were also seen not far from the shore.

Sandwich Tern + Turnstone
A quick stop at the Mound showed nothing unusual with some impressive looking Great-Black Backed gulls but no Greenshank that I was hoping for. We then headed onto Golspie and the Big Burn Walk. Straight from the off just after exiting the car I spotted a pair of Grey Wagtails on the river, the best views I have had of this species.

Female Grey Wagtail.
Male with characteristic black bib.
There were plenty of woodland birds about, Great, Blue and Coal Tits, Chaffinch, Robin, Blackbird and Treecreeper. Up near the top of walk we came to the falls, very impressive and also my first Dipper of the year spotted just below it before flying off up stream. The sun was finally out and the woodland was beautiful aswell as the river. We carried on the circular walk heading up the hill. Up the top a Chiffchaff was heard and a bit of searching meant I could finally see my first Chiffchaff of the year.

Later on the afternoon / early evening we decided to take a walk along Dornoch Beach out to the point and back along the dunes. The beach was fairly quiet, plenty of Herring and Common Gulls with a handful of Great Black-backs and the odd Oystercatcher. The dunes were more productive with plenty of Skylark singing and displaying and a Curlew seeing off some Carrion Crows. Meadow Pipits were also scattered around. The highlight of the walk however was a Wheatear sitting in a pine tree in the dunes.

In the carpark were a pair of Pied Wagtails and a small group of Linnets flitting about the Gorse bushes.

Female Pied Wagtail
Some views of the beach just down from the caravan are below. Look out for Part. 2 soon.

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