Scotland 04 -11 May – Glenloy

Eleven club members joined this trip which was centred around the Fort William area of north west Scotland. We stayed at Glenloy Lodge which had very peaceful surrounding and a bonus in the form of two Pine Martins which would visit in the evenings to feed on snacks put out by our host Jon. We were incredibly privileged to be able to see these beautiful animals so close totally unconcerned. We explored a range of habitats which included sea and freshwater lochs, mixed woodland glens, moorland and mountains and the islands of Eigg and Muck. The weather was quite cold but mainly dry but with overnight snow frequent on the mountains. A group total of 114 species were recorded. The highlights were: Golden Eagles, Sea Eagles, Ospreys, three species of Divers, a Black Grouse lek and Slavonian Grebes. Mammals included three Deer species, Red Squirrels, Pine Martins, Otters and Common Seals. The scenery was in places spectacular in the clear light conditions and was enjoyed by all. Places visited included the Ardnamurchan peninsula, Lochs Shiel, Arkaig, Linnhe, Ruthven, and Glens Loy and Roy.
On our first day looking around the Ardnamurchan area we saw twelve Great Northern and five Red-throated Divers, all in summer plumage, Red-breasted Mergansers, Eiders, Black Guillemots breeding on the Corran Ferry pier and twelve Purple Sandpipers. Raptors included two Sea Eagles and a Peregrine. The next day we took a boat trip to the islands of Eigg and Muck. Before joining the boat we stopped at a freshwater loch near Arisaig to watch a close pair of Black-throated Divers which gave great views. Very few seabirds were seen on the island crossings. A brief stop was taken at Eigg, then two hours were spent on Muck. Looking over a damp meadow we saw Snipe and a few people heard a brief Corncrake call but it was not located. A male Hen Harrier flew overhead and while looking over the newly arrived Arctic Tern colony a Sea Eagle flew low and out to sea. The views of the four surrounding islands were spectacular, Rum in particular. Two local Glens were visited the next day with a wide mix of habitats. The woodlands held lots of Siskins and Redpolls, Willow Warblers everywhere with smaller numbers of Whinchats, Tree Pipits, and Cuckoos while the streams contained Common Sandpipers and Oystercatchers. Two Black Grouse were perched high up in nearby trees and our only Ring Ouzel gave good but brief views. Over the moorlands a male Hen Harrier, Buzzards and two distant Golden Eagles put in an appearance. The next morning we took a steady three hour boat trip along the whole length of Glen Shiel (15 miles). There were the usual Mergansers and Grey Herons plus a Red-throated Diver. Three Golden Eagles soared over the mountains and the boat stopped to enable us to view a Sea Eagle sitting on a nest situated in the top of a large tree. Just before disembarking we watched an Osprey eating a fish on the shoreline. After lunch we took a very pleasant walk around the oakwoods of Ariundle which had a splendid display of Bluebells along with sightings of Willow, Wood and Garden Warblers, Tree Pipits and a Treecreeper were seen. Next morning, after a 05:00 start at a spot close to Fort William, we watched eight male Black Grouse at a lek which was situated very close to our vehicles and gave great views. After breakfast we visited Loch Arkaig stopping at various spots. We were hoping for Eagles but, unfortunately, none appeared but we saw a pair of Dippers at a waterfall, feeding young in the nest, and on the Loch a pair of Red- throated Divers and Mergansers. Our last day was spent visiting the western side of the Monadhliath Mountains above Loch Ness. The lochs and moorland held a pair of Black-throated Divers, Slavonian Grebes, an Osprey flying past carrying a fish, several Red Kites, Peregrine and a few Red Grouse. It was a very good end to the trip. Many thanks to Alastair for organising the trip and to the members of the group and the owners of Glenloy for making this a very successful club holiday.
Jeff Holmes