Something to crow about

I decided, on a bit of a whim, to have a road trip over the weekend, and so – having first finished off a bit of decorating in our kitchen which I had started yesterday, I headed off for the west coast of Scotland. I had booked a B&B in Torridon, near to where some good friends of ours, Kelly and Graham, are currently living. They had other guests so couldn’t offer me a bed, but I was happy – coming up to my birthday – to indulge and the B&B I booked was a room in a very grand old Scottish mansion which had a drive even longer than the one to Dungarthill House!

But before getting to Torridon I wanted to visit the small RSPB reserve of Loch Ruthven, near Inverness. We’ve been there before, but not for a few years. It’s the main (pretty well the only!) UK breeding site for Slavonian grebes. I was a little late in the breeding season, and the RSPB volunteer I met when I got there told me that they’ve had a bad season because the water level was so low in June. Hopefully that won’t cause problems next year, but in the mean time I was delighted to be able to get good views of a single bird on the loch. It was no longer in full breeding plumage, but still beautiful.

View of Loch Ruthven from the RSPB hide

In the woodland by the loch I saw several varieties of fungus of fungus including this one attended by a dragonfly!

A tawny grisette with what I think might be a golden-ringed dragonfly

Then I continued west and the scenery got very spectacular. Stopping at one lay-by to take a photo I caught site of a bird on a fence a little way off…and there was my first hooded crow of the year. Later, by Loch Torridon, I saw several more.

hooded crow (photo taken 2013)
The view down to Loch Maree

Having had a meal in Shieldaig I met up with my friends for a drink to round off the day. They’ve suggested a few roads I might want to explore tomorrow, before I head back east. I’m hoping for some divers and some eagles, but we’ll have to see what tomorrow brings…..

Brenda writes: “Today I was back in one of my old parishes, Leighton Bromswold, to take a wedding. Sadly, the rain kept falling but it was still a joyful occasion and wonderful to see friends in the village, and to be back in their beautiful church.

St Mary’s, Leighton Bromswold

In my travels I had brief glimpse of purple loosestrife growing by a river.”

New species for July 22nd:
Birds: Slavonian grebe, hooded crow
Flowers: purple loosestrife

Birds = 211
Moths = 188
Wildflowers = 260