Zino's Petrel off Madeira - June 2018

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Monday, 24 July 2017

Scotland 21st July - 23rd July 2017

A long weekend with Ian Barnard to the Highlands of Scotland with the intentions of finding some new Dragonflies, Orchids and potentially a new Butterfly as well. The weather was better then expected but still wasn't perfect and certainly put pay to finding White-faced Darter and Azure Hawkers, the latter being new for me.

Friday 21st July
However, upon landing into Edinburgh (cheapest option) on Thursday evening we drove up to the Aberdeen coastline to Murcar Beach in the hope of seeing the long staying American White-winged Scoter, but as we hadn't packed tripods to save space and weight we resorted to laying in the wet grass to scan the flocks of Scoter, but over a few hours and the urge to hit to Cairngorms, we failed to find the bird, but had better luck a few days later.

Murcar Beach, Aberdeenshire

Arriving into the Cairngorms the weather had turned for the worse and after trying a few sites we only managed to find a Northern Damselfly and a couple of Highland 'Common' Darters near to Loch Garten, and two Common Hawkers at Uath Lochan, the Hawkers being new for me and represents my 45th Dragonfly/Damselfly in Britain. Despite having sites for both Lesser Twayblade and Small White Orchid we were obviously too late for these but did see plenty of Creeping Lady's Tresses. Also was good to see a Crested Tit, plus hearing several more.

Creeping Lady's Tresses
Northern Damselfly
Highland (Common) Darter

Saturday 22nd July
We stayed in Dingwall which was well placed to drive to Loch Maree The weather was better then expected today although the wind was still strong in places. Our main site for Azure Hawkers was Slattadale and despite finding perhaps 30+ Common Hawkers, we failed to find an Azure Hawker. Further down at Ben Eighe Visitor Centre we had better luck with yet more Common Hawkers, but then lucked into a flighty Scotch Argus (my last British Butterfly to see) and a superb Northern Emerald Dragonfly, the latter I had seen before but not photographed.

Common Hawker
female Northern Emerald

Loch Maree

We made our way back towards Aberdeen knowing the weather on Sunday wouldn't be suitable for Dragons and would try our luck again for the Scoter.

Sunday 23rd July
As we made our way towards Murcar it was obvious it was misty and grim, especially for laying in more wet grass. However, after spells of heavy rain the conditions cleared slightly and after three hours of scanning a single Scoter flock, I spotted the American White-winged Scoter swim into the group from the south and join a small group of Velvets in front of us. Views were good despite laying down and I even managed some phone-scoped shots of this and a drake Surf Scoter. It was a good end and we made our way back south towards Edinburgh for our flight back to Gatwick. A relatively successful weekend, though earlier in the season would no doubt be more productive.

drk White-winged Scoter
White-winged Scoter (left) with Velvet Scoters

1 comment:

  1. Now this is interesting, heard that people have hobby to have coins, capture photos of flowers but interesting that you have interest in dragonflies, these are really awesome pictures, thank you for sharing your work with us