Tuesday, 21 April 2015

North Berwick and Bass Rock 14/4/15 Gannets, Eiders, etc

Our journey took us east of Edinburgh to North Berwick the home of the Scottish Seabird Centre.  A very windy and blustery day but some blue skies to be seen.  The North Berwick coastline is beautiful and the magnificence of seeing Bass Rock covered in Gannets is jaw dropping! The Rock is covered in Gannets, a 150,000 of them! wow!
A walk along the shore towards the Seabird Centre and on the rocks we spotted Oystercatchers and a Ringed Plover. Further out to sea were groups of Eiders and Gannets. Closer to the Centre we had great views of Eiders displaying complete with their haunting 'whooo' call! The males in fantastic colours. Also from the centre area we were able to watch hundreds of Gannets fairly close, fly overhead and across the sea. Great to see them dive but this time collecting seaweed presumably for their nests back on Bass Rock.  A few Terns (common I think) were also heard and seen flying by.   As the tide went out we had some great views of a Redshank and Turnstones on the rocks very near the Seabird Centre. The Centre by the way is a great place for coffee and a light lunch whilst you ponder what you have seen plus the staff are friendly and helpful. All in all a fantastic day in a beautiful place!

   Bass Rock - the White dots are Gannets!

                   Gannets Galore

   Ringed Plover hiding in the seaweed and sheltered from the very strong wind

                Eiders - fine looking males and one female!

    The chase!

                   Eider in flight over a moody sea!

   Majestic Gannet

                    Nesting material

    Eider in his prime!

                  Redshank - the legs look redder in the North of the country!
    Well balanced Redshank

                   Turnstone - amazing the size of the pebbles these little birds turn over

    The beautiful sands of North Berwick 


Aberfoyle - Forest & mountain and Red Squirrels 12/4/15

A trip towards the mountains near Callander took us to the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park and Aberfoyle. Fantastic scenery with a fresh layer of snow on the mountains. Although cold and damp the weather cleared for us and blue skies appeared as we approached Aberfoyle. 
The visitor centre staff were very helpful and the cafe with its amazing views brilliant for both coffee and lunch was excellent.
We took the short trail to the Wildlife hide in the hope of seeing Red Squirrels. The walk is through a mixture of woodland and stream and even a dramatic waterfall! Arriving at the hide we spent at least an hour watching Coal, Blue and Great Tits, Nuthatch, Chaffinch, Blackbird come to the feeders. Then as we thought about leaving two Red Squirrels turned up to the feeders. Amazing to watch these wonderful animals climb into the feeders.
Leaving the visitor centre we took the 3 Lochs Drive in the hope of seeing an Osprey. No Osprey but a truly most picturesque and dramatic drive where we saw a Gooosander and some Ravens.

Robin on the beautiful moss and lichen

                  The trees are covered in this lovely delicate moss

Mirrors in the woods! Gave a great effect!

                  Red Squirrel just out of the box!
Waiting to go in!

                                                             Suddenly a waterfall appeared

Mountain view - stunning

                    Along the three lochs drive

Pines and mountains - breathe in that air!

                    Along the 3 lochs drive - stunning