In search of a “crestie”!

Today was our last full day in Scotland before heading back to Norfolk tomorrow. It was clear, cold, crisp and sunny, and so we decided to drive over to the RSPB reserve at Loch Garten.

a frozen Loch Garten

It was a beautiful drive out via Huntly and Dufftown, and we saw rooks and a hooded crow on the way plus common buzzard and kestrel.

The reserve centre is closed during the winter, but the are feeders left out and this attracts a variety of small birds, mostly tits. We had excellent views of blue, great and coal tits: I think these last are particularly lovely. But what we’d really come to see, and hopefully photograph, were crested tits, or cresties, a particular speciality of the Cairngorm forests.

coal tit

And after only a short time there we saw one, or possibly two birds – hard to tell if it was always the same individual or not – very close. Fantastic!

crested tit

We then did one of our favourite walks, the “Two Lochs Trail”: Very enjoyable in the sunshine and snow but with virtually no birds to be seen, with the exception of a solitary treecreeper.

Then back to Premnay via Tomintoul – and a magnificent sunset!

sunset at “The Watchers”

New species for January 2nd:
common buzzard, kestrel, fieldfare, robin, rook, hooded crow, treecreeper, crested tit

Birds = 23
Moths = 0
Wildflowers = 0