Trip reports

Loch Kinellan and Brahan Estate

Loch Kinellan and Brahan Estate

Thursday, 18 May 2017

At Kinellan we took a walk around the loch mainly to search for spring migrants. A scan of the loch produced two pairs of Slavonian grebes displaying and looking superb in the sunshine. Also on the water were little grebes and mallards with ducklings. Further along the lochside we came across the resident pair of mute swans with seven newly hatched cygnets. As we walked around the loch we were accompanied by the songs of wren, willow warbler, chiffchaff, sedge warbler, blackcap, blackbird, song thrush, chaffinch, redpoll, siskin, yellowhammer and reed bunting, all of which were also seen. A peregrine falcon gave a good flying display and a cuckoo was seen flying from tree to tree on Ord Hill. Whitethroat was proving elusive until, towards the end of the circuit, one was observed in song flight and everyone then had good scope views of the bird perched on top of a bush.
Our next destination was Easter Moy where, after eating our lunch, we crossed the swinging bridge onto the island. Similar warblers to those at Kinellan were seen; the only new birds for the trip being sand martins flying over the water and a meadow pipit. Downstream from the island a common sandpiper crossed the river and a grey heron was seen standing on the river bank.
The final stop of the day was at Brahan Estate where we walked through the woodland admiring the trees and azaleas. Birds were scarce until we started our return when a treecreeper was seen, followed by the highlight of the day. A tawny owl flew across the track closely followed by several irate blackbirds. Over the next 15 minutes or so we were able to get some excellent views of the owl as it was continuously mobbed by smaller birds. Eventually it settled close to the trunk of a tree where it was left in peace. Our final birds of the day were two or three goldcrests which were singing in the large conifers, bringing the trip total to 50 species.