We had a lovely final Scottish walk today around Loch of the Lowes and Loch Butterstone. There were mallards and great crested grebes on the lochs and plenty of warblers and other small birds in the excellent mixed woodland along the loch borders.
I was hoping for common redstart – they were on the list of birds that are seen locally, and my previous experience with this species told me that this was perfect habitat for them, but they can be elusive. At one point we heard the right call but couldn’t find the bird and had to give up. But just towards the end of the walk our friend Roz saw a bird in a nearby tree and pointed it out to me. We got binoculars on it and both saw the red as it flew…redstart!
But that was just the start: The birds must have had a nest near to the minor road we were walking along because we were then treated to both male and female fluttering around in the bushes near to us, basically trying to distract us away from the nest. We watched for a coupe of minutes and then moved on so as not to distract them too much. The male was in superb full breeding plumage but sadly I couldn’t get a decent photograph. A super bird to get me to 198 though.
Brenda writes: “This morning there was nothing new in the moth trap, but there was a good selection of moths I’ve already recorded. We had both elephant and small elephant hawk-moths, so I took a photo to highlight the differences in wing shape, markings and size.
There was also another small angleshades and a sandy carpet, both of which we were able to take a photo of this time.
In the afternoon four of us took a walk along the other side of Loch of the Lowes through beautiful woodland and past fields. We’ve seen so many sheep with lambs this trip. I had three new flower species, broad-leaved willowherb and two wild rose species, burnet rose and downy rose.
There were drifts of pink purslane by the path.
But the highlight of the walk was beautiful views of a pair of redstarts. I didn’t mind this being Steve’s 198th species – what a cracker! This was our last day at Dungarthill so before dinner I had a last walk in the grounds. Walking up the hill behind the house I saw my fourth species of the day, eyebright.
I then enjoyed the view from the top, and took a final turn round the curling pool where the yellow flag irises are now in full flower. What a difference a week can make at this time of year.
New species for June 9th:
Flowers: broad-leaved willowherb, burnet rose, downy rose, eyebright