Monday, 18 July 2016

Another Hill top Climb and Crested Tit to Find

Sunday 17th July Light SW Cool and cloudy

I want to find today's target bird, crested tit, not at a feeder conveniently set up at the RSPB Loch Garten reserve nearby but somewhere out in the immense Abernethy Forest. To that end I am up early at the youth hostel to enjoy a large breakfast before setting out to explore. The area I plan to walk is one I have never been around before and I am looking forward to new views and landscapes. I am particularly looking forward to finding a large variety of fungi. 


Yesterday's examples had been in superb condition and I expect a lot more today. Red squirrels are possible and hopefully I will hear the trilling call of a crested during the day.
In fact red squirrels prove to be easy. They run across the lawn at the hostel as I eat the substantial fare. Curious how they have white, bleached-out looking tails.
Now I don't know why but when I see a hill I have a hankering to climb it. So it is today. The path from the hostel goes up. It goes up beyond the tree line after going through fir plantations of row afetr row, same sized firs. No birds in here, a few meadow pipits are in areas where the trees have been removed. Scots pine skeletons punctuate the slopes.
Why am I going up here? The wind is strong at the top and light rain is falling. It's cold.


I want to see the other side of the hill. The trouble is when I arrive at the summit and shelter against the cone of stones, the cloud descends and I am in a whiteout.
Lunch. A small moth crawls in front of me.

The clouds lift and I descend down a steep heather-covered slope down to the forest again. It is so sad to see how much of the area is just regimented conifer blocks and how little is original pine forest.
Eventually reaching a sort of dirt road, I head back towards the hostel. Listening all the way I hear a crested tit in the high canopy of some of those cultivated pines and find it. Bird number 268. A photograph proves impossible amongst the branches.
I do however manage to get one of a spotted flycatcher in the same area. A few hundred yards later another crested tit is once again high in the canopy.

7.57 Miles 1502 feet elevation up and down


Green Year list is now at 268, twenty eight ahead of this time last year. Last year I had three birds on the island of Islay; rock dove, arctic tern and golden eagle.

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