Sunday, 31 May 2009

Highland visit - Abernethy finale

The Saturday had been fairly unexciting on the birding front. A morning spent in the Loch Garten area having a last go at Capercaille and Crested Tit ended in total failure, so we opted to have a drive up North to Chanery Point and mix a little seawatching with the daily marine spectacular....

These were not birds but Bottle-nosed Dolphins which feed daily on the rising tide just offshore. Sadly there were no 'jumps' today and getting anything other than tails, fins or just water was incredibly hard work - here's my one and only head shot!!

We saw plenty of Common Terns plus a single Black Tern, Red Kites also overhead during the drive.....

The final day had arrived and I was still without Scottish Crossbill!! A final fling in the depths of the Abernethy forest was planned. We walked for about two hours and at least Crested Tits were more obliging here - we saw at least five (is that meant to be good??!)

I nearly turned back when I saw the small river we had to ford - no bag meant carrying the camera!! Slighty panic stricken I waded through with Dave and Ian either side to catch the tripod if I slipped - I don't ever want to do that again!!

Was I glad I didn't turn back - a couple of hundred metres down the track was a puddle, we paused for a Siskin.....

And then would you believe our luck. A couple of Crosbills dropped in for a drink! I just had chance for one burst and they were gone - a cracking male captured though. Boy were these guys big birds - like English Crossbills on steroids?? My initial plump for Scotbill (which seemed more likely) has now been revised and everyone so far who's seen the images feel sure this a Parrot Crossbill. The large thick set head coupled with that deep stonking great bill and the sharply turned down tips all point this way.....

The brilliant finale just got better!

If only there was more time but daylight was burning and I had what turned out to be a nine hour journey from hell pending! What a way to round off a morning though - in the nick of time!!


  1. Hi Jim,

    Aye, adult Parrot Crossbill - the clincher was your phrase "like english crossbills on steroids" !

    Scottish appear more like Commons in size. The female bird in the header of my blog is a Scotbill.

    Was that on the Forest Lodge circuit - that burn looks familiar ?

  2. Great to hear from you Loxia Fan (and was hoping for your input!!) Can you contact me by email??
    Cheers Jim