A Week - 25th to 31st July
Aviemore to Insh The RSPB Fun Day and on to Tomintoul
Not feeling well, sinusitis is back with a vengeance and my face feels squashed by the infection. I pack up the tent and cycle to Aviemore, shop for food and book into the youth hostel there, a superb hostel with large windows in an extensive lounge. Sitting in there I watch as red squirrels come to peanut feeders. A relaxing afternoon and evening whilst feeling rough.
Having slept in the lounge to prevent me waking others in the dormitory with my snoring, I enjoy the antics of the squirrels. I am looking for wood warblers this morning and I set off into the woods.
Late afternoon, after having spent the day searching but not finding the target bird, difficult to find at this time of year as they don't sing, I have enjoyed watching lots of willow warblers, titmice and the occasional spotted flycatcher. The woods, mostly silver birch has been beautiful and I have a bag full of chantrelle fungi for dinner.
After a visit to a pharmacy for medicine to alleviate the sinuses, I cycle to Insh Marshes and enter the RSPB offices in the village. On the way I stop to watch a pipistrelle bat that unusually is out hunting. It is speedily hunting insects near to a large house and some teenage kids have seen me from an upstairs window. I ignore their lame attempts at distracting me and pretend that I have not seen a full moon!
I enter the RSPB offices and the greeting is wonderful, thanks Karen, Karen and Kat!
I spend the afternoon walking around the nearest woodland section of the extensive reserve, the highlight is the sixteen Scotch Argus butterflies I see. These are the first I have seen this year.
Thursday 28th The RSPB Fun Day
I cycle to the Heritage Centre in Newtonmore for what will be a fabulous day; marquees are up and lots of RSPB staff are ready to enthrall the many visitors that are sure to turn up at this superb place on such a sunny day.
I get my face painted, a bumblebee decorates my cheek. After talking with Brad about his job with the RSPB and his passion for finding about his grandfather's role in World War One, I explore the large site.
With Stephanie and Lexy I make a woollie creature for the bike. Further on Michael and a RSPB staff ember have a tray of creatures from their pond dipping.
Black houses, perfectly reconstructed show the life of Scots long ago.
The day is fabulous, the children excited by so many differ activities and the RSPB staff so energetic and . . fun!
Too soon it is late afternoon and time to pack up. A final activity to see, worm charming, Sarah exemplifies the RSPB staff.
An evening is spent at Kat, the organiser's nearby house, a splendid relax with great food on a terrace with views over to the Cairngorms. Their beautiful house with a large garden has chickens and Kat's girls tell me about them all as they sit holding one each.
I need to get to Aberdeen but am still feeling very rough. Mind you the weather is fine and the cycle to Nethy Bridge is pleasant enough.
Lunch taken, I continue to Tomintoul. By now though I am feeling very ill and seeing a youth hostel sign I decide that maybe I should rest here for the night.
Doctors and more antibiotics and inhalers. I go back to bed!
Total mileage for 2016 - 4915.83
Year list - 269 (thanks Doug!)
New birds added in July - 11