Monday, 25 March 2013

Insh Marshes / Glenmore (24/03/13)...

Yet again the entire country seems gripped by Winter whilst the Black Isle and Inverness area has none! The last few days have had plenty of flurries but no snow has settled and is a long way from some of the conditions being seen elsewhere.

Three of us decided to head South to Insh Marshes today partly for some research for coursework and also for a day. Plenty of Buzzards seen on the way and as we neared Kingussie the conditions started to change with plenty of snow on the hills and blizzard conditions although when we parked up at the RSPB carpark the sun was out with plenty of snow on the ground. 

We took a walk around the reserve starting at the circular hide. The marsh was fairly quiet with 14 Whooper Swans, a lone Great Black-backed Gull and a couple of crows. We continued round exploring the Aspen woodland (the main reason for visiting) and spotted plenty of Roe Deer and some Ravens but unfortunately no Hen Harriers about. The reserve seemed very quiet which wasn't a surprise considering the conditions but a small opening in the woodland was busy with Great Tit, Blue Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Chaffinch, Treecreeper, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Reed Bunting and plenty of Lesser Redpoll.

The fields across from the carpark also held some Greylag Geese and a couple of Oystercatcher. We carried on North along the backroads passing through Insh village itself to Inshriach forest which produced a albeit brief view of a female Capercaillie a first for me. We then headed further up the road past Inshriach Nursery which we noticed had a tea room so it was time to turn back and get some tea and cheesecake. The tea room called The Potting Shed turned out to be fantastic. Not only was the tea and homemade cheesecake excellent but half of the tea room was surrounding by a viewing window looking out on 16 large peanut feeders that were absolutely covered in birds only a couple feet away. I never seen so many Coal and Blue tits in one place. There was also Great Tit, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, a single Goldcrest and the best of all a female Great Spotted Woodpecker. I could have stayed there all day (and night when they supposedly are visited by Pine Marten). It was the most luxurious "hide" I have ever visited (short video HERE).

We then decided to head up to the car park at the Ski Centre at Cairn Gorm but conditions were bad enough to close off the road so we decided to go for a walk around Glenmore Forest looking for more Aspen. The forest was very quiet as expected with on and off blizzard conditions. We did however manage to see 2 Crested Tit, a pair of Bullfinch, Treecreeper and Coal Tit.

All in all it was a pretty good day and I always love being out in Winter conditions, however, with my trip to Finland it has felt like winter to me for almost 7 months now so some proper signs of Spring would be greatly appreciated...

Year List Additions:
92. Lesser Redpoll
93. Capercaillie (Lifer)

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