Monday 18th July Light SW Cool and cloudy, early morning heavy rain
Another walk in the Cairngorm area with an aim to circumnavigate Loch Morlich and the hope of finding a capercaillie. Rain falls as I make my way along the Old loggers Pathway towards the south west end of the loch. There are plenty of fungi along the pathway but each specimen is damaged in some way; boleti with holes caused by slugs, amanita with damage caused by twigs and pine needles. Why should every photograph of these superb organisms? I start my collection of fungi in less than perfect condition. A new facebook group beckons . . . funny fungi.
Rain stops for brief moments and birds are very few, just a group of coal tits come to the first pishing session.
A few common hawkers are hawking as I follow pathways deeper into the forest. Most of the forest seems to have been planted. I must check on this as the history of the area would be fascinating.
Off the path, I search an area of seemingly open and original forest. The trees are of all different ages and sporadically well spaced. The heather, moss and rush are up to my thighs and I almost put my hand into a wood ant nest. No capercaillie here.
For the next mile or so I look at all of the wood ants nests. Some are large, some small, some empty.
I arrive back at the loch side and take the dirt road north east.
It has been a very quiet walk with very few birds, just the occasional coal tit or willow warbler with a few swifts overflying the trees.
Then a long-tailed tit crosses the path in front of me. Then another. I start to pish. More birds are coming and going as a large titmice flock is passing, mostly high up in the trees. I pish harder and birds come close; willow warbler, siskin, goldcrest and a few long-tailed tits. Then a very close crested tit is on a branch. I click and the camera focuses on a leaf!
The flock passes. The chance for classic crested tit photograph is gone.
I walk on and pish a male redstart. It is definitely the way to see birds here in the forest.
Psssst. Pssst. Pssst......
Trout in the stream, flowers on a young Danish girl; Clara the youngest is wearing a beautiful yellow hawkweed headband made by her sister. Mum and Dad insist on a photograph. A family from Copenhagen. Great!
Back at the youth hostel again, an evening of The Matrix and Rolling Stones music. Perfect.
6.38 Miles 462 feet elevation up and down
Green Year list is now at 268, still twenty eight ahead of this time last year.