Tuesday 19th July Light SW Very warm, 26C and very sunny!
Off to Loch Garten RSPB reserve in the Abernethy Forest, the iconic osprey nest site. The sun is shining and the hills are free of cloud for the first time since arriving in the area.
I know it must be warm and sunny as a song thrush is sunbathing just outside my youth hostel dormitory. The temperature is climbing and what little wind there is as I cycle is behind me. Hence I am in a fabulously good mood and singing all the way.
The ten or so miles to Loch Garten pass quickly enough and after stopping to photograph both a house that looks French and a very large boletus sp. fungus, I go out onto the small broadwalk that overlooks a small rush and horsetail filled pool.
Four-spotted chasers, libellula quadrimaculata are chasing each other and a few damselflies include large red, emerald and northern, .
Three people from the US of A join me and we chat about American politics, Brexit and nature. John is from New York, his wife, Clare was from Chicago originally and her sister, Eleanor was from Boston. They were a delightful trio and a pleasure to be with.
From here it was a short cycle to the visitor's centre and after meeting Sarah in the entrance kiosk,
another superb RSPB staff member, I went into centre to view the famous osprey nest. EJ, the resident female was on a tree by the camera pylon and her two offspring, Rowan and Willow, were on the nest devouring a large rainbow trout, brought in by EJ, the female. Odin, when he arrives only brings in a small fish.
Apart from the ospreys there are some close to the centre bird feeders that attract a good number of siskin and chaffinch, as well as a few greenfinch, some titmice and a juvenile great spotted woodpecker.
Outside for some strange lunch, brioches with jam, peanut butter and apple sauce; well it's all I have, I meet a fantastic family from Manchester. Mum and Dad, Helen and Jamie with their two sons Oscar and Max. They talk about birds and their holiday and are an inspiring group.
I had really want to see a RSPB staff member from last year, a man who really made his mark on me last year, a Maltese man named Nimrod. Unfortunately he is having a day off but I am told by Sarah that he will be in tomorrow.
With that in mind I head off into the magnificent Abernethy Forest to find a place to camp.
18.18 Miles 581 feet elevation up 970 elevation down