It would be an unlucky birder indeed who went away from Speyside and the Cairngorms disappointed. Just a glance at the birds I have listed should tempt even the hardened twitcher to make a first (or repeat) visit to this amazing area...Mike Dawson reports.
Birders wishing to see Crested Tit, Scottish Crossbill, Capercaillie, Ptarmigan in the UK have little choice but to travel to Scotland, and for the first two species especially there is little choice but to visit Speyside.
The tranquil water of Loch Ken made a perfect
mirror for reflections of the gently rolling autumn gold landscape
of this quiet corner of Scotland. Along the trail a Red Kite
in a nearby tree gave promise of some good things to come. Numerous
Goldcrests and Chaffinches were spotted but a restless Lesser
Redpoll remained elusive..Chris Hall reports
When I reached the center people were excitedly
gathered around a handful of scopes trained far out in the open
pine woods. Unexpectedly, the bird seen that morning was still
around and visible, and after a few moments I was delightedly
viewing the prize of the trip, a male Capercaillie! I was well
aware of how outrageously fortunate I had been, a stranger to
Scotland....Chris Spagnoli reports
We eventually arrived at the lay-by overlooking
Gruinard Island at about
hrs. It was still raining but the mist had lifted leaving a quite
clear day. The island and surrounding sea could be scoped clearly.
Almost as soon as we arrived an immature White tailed Eagle (Y)
drifted over our heads from the mainland....John Jennings reports.
This was only my fifth visit to Scotland
and I have to say that each time the weather has been exactly
like it was now, 23c and not a cloud in the sky, the weather would
stay pretty much like this for my whole visit. Just past Pitlochry
on the A9 I had my first sighting of, not one but two of my favourite
birds, a pair of Common Buzzard. To me this is the one bird that
represents Scotland. I was so overjoyed by this site I pulled
in to a convenient lay-by and watched enthralled as the pair circled
right overhead...Graham Mee reports
Two weekends spent with Lee Evans
the foremost twitcher/bird logger in Britain...John Broadbent's
personal diary and extensive site and bird notes.....Well over
1000 miles covered at a frenetic pace...and not a bird missed!
Again John Broadbent visits Scotland
in the company of Lee Evans, this time looking for Corncrake,
White-tailed Eagle, Slavonian Grebe, Osprey and all the other
Summer specials. Extensive site and bird notes.
After an early flight from Luton (too early)
we were birding on the Ythan estuary by 8.30am. Hundreds of Eiders
were around with a scattering of other ducks and waders and it
took us a little while before the King Eider was found...
Over 250 species are covered in detail with a page per species. The species accounts include concise information on identification, voice, habits, habitat, food, breeding ecology, seasonal movements, population and conservation. Detailed maps have been specially created to show distribution when breeding, wintering or on migration. Superb colour illustrations from some of the world's leading artists have been integrated into the text for easy reference.
Scotland has my favourite birding
in the whole of the UK. This book, now updated, contains
more than 140 key sites and numerous additional sites accompanied
by maps and line drawings. It concludes with an up-to-date
list of local birds Recorders and reports, useful addresses
and a code of conduct for birdwatchers. The guide has become
indispensable for anyone birdwatching in Scotland.
Collins Guide to Scottish Birds Valerie Thom, Norman Arlott (Illustrator):
Buy from Amazon.com
Aimed at both the birdwatching market
and at tourists visiting Scotland, this guide describes
all the species commonly found in this country. Each section
has an introduction describing the habitat illustrated
with colour photographs, followed by a guide section describing
all the birds found in that habitat. Each bird is illustrated
in full colour. The text is written for beginners as well
as to inform keener birdwatchers. The end of the book
has a "places to go" section arranged by area (Highland,
Western Isles, south-west, etc): it details over 70 of
the best sites for birdwatching, describing how to get
to them and what to expect to see once you are there.
I really like this book and it truly
stands the test of time. First published in 1927, Seton
Gordon's narrative is vivid and so evocative of the Scottish
mountains and glens that I can almost believe that I am
there. Seton follows the lives of a pair of Golden Eagle
and their two young, Cain and Abel, by close observation
of the nest. His fascinating "highland stories"
of Eagles around Scotland are a joy to read. Also available
direct from Whittles
A superb and well researched update
of the original book. Lots of new sites have been added.
The experts have been consulted. An indispensible guide
to British twitcher or foreign visitor. All the key sites
are covered, usually with good maps complete with a season
by season guide of what to see where.
The Complete Guide to the Birdlife
of Britain & Europe Rob Hume, Peter Hayman (Illustrator):
Buy from Amazon.co.uk
This is quite simply the best illustrated
guide to Europe's birds that I have seen. Every bird is
pictured at least five times (and sometimes twenty times)
in varying poses within its habitat. Seeing the birds in
context, really gives this book the edge.
More than a field guide, the book is coffee table size,
and certainly deserves to be in the collection of every
serious bird watcher.
Recommended travel books for
Lonely Planet Scotland (Lonely
Planet Country & Regional Guides) Neil Wilson, A. Murphy:Buy
The Scottish Highlands are one of
Europe's last great wildernesses, with a wealth of mountains,
lakes, rivers, moors and dramatic coastal scenery. This
guide to the country has separate chapters detailing the
historic Highlands, and provides information on climbing,
fishing, golf and walking.