Trip reports

Group Spring Birding Break - Speyside

Group Spring Birding Break - Speyside
Slavonian Grebe - Chris Briggs

Saturday, 14 May 2016

TRIP REPORT: Speyside, 14 - 23 May 2016
Our spring break this year was to Speyside, staying at the Grant Arms Hotel in Grantown-on-Spey. There were 22 of us in total, staying for various periods over the ten days. Naturally our first target bird was the osprey, and we soon connected with it. At RSPB Loch Garten the nesting ospreys had one chick when the first of us arrived and another chick hatched later in the week. (Some people had stopped off at Loch of the Lowes near Dunkeld on the way up, where the ospreys also had two chicks.) We visited Spey Bay, where there were a long-tailed duck, eider and common and little terns: also, an osprey caught a fish and the bottle-nosed dolphins put on a fine display. Lochindorb eventually yielded its usual black-throated diver, while it was Loch Morlich that provided red-throated diver. At Avielochan we had fine views of Slavonian grebe and goldeneye. The old Spey bridge at Grantown produced dipper, grey wagtail, common sandpiper and goosander. The best views of the elusive crested tit were at Uath Lochans. The weather was a bit variable and so our forays to the upper Findhorn valley produced only very distant sightings of eagles for a few people. An early morning visit to a black grouse lek near Nethy Bridge allowed some people to see eight lekking males. One of the best excursions was a trip up the funicular to the viewing platform below the Ptarmigan Restaurant near the summit of Cairngorm. Not only did we see ptarmigan but also several dotterel in full breeding plumage, and also ring ouzel. Some of the later arrivals in the group went up Cairngorm again on the final Sunday: it was very misty at the top and they couldn't see much, but on returning to the car park at the bottom they had the amazing find of a red-backed shrike. The final tally for the group was 112 bird species, which was very good given the changeable weather. As usual the Grant Arms Hotel was very welcoming and we had plenty of conviviality in the bar and restaurant.


Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Pink-footed Goose (Anser brachyrhynchus)
Western Greylag Goose (Anser anser)
Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
European Teal (Anas crecca)
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Common Eider (Somateria mollissima)
Long-tailed Duck (Clangula hyemalis)
Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula)
Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator)
Goosander (Mergus merganser)
Red Grouse (Lagopus lagopus scotica)
Rock Ptarmigan (Lagopus muta)
Eurasian Black Grouse (Tetrao tetrix)
Red-legged Partridge (Alectoris rufa)
Common Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus)
Red-throated Diver (Gavia stellata)
Black-throated Diver (Gavia arctica)
Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus)
Slavonian Grebe (Podiceps auritus)
Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus)
Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)
Red Kite (Milvus milvus)
Hen Harrier (Circus cyaneus)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus)
Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo)
Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos)
Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)
Eurasian Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)
Peregrine (Falco peregrinus)
Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra)
Eurasian Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus)
Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula)
Mountain Dotterel (Charadrius morinellus)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Red Knot (Calidris canutus)
Dunlin (Calidris alpina)
Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago)
Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata)
Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)
Common Redshank (Tringa totanus)
Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres)
Common Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus)
Common Gull (Larus canus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull (Larus fuscus graellsii)
Herring Gull (Larus argentatus)
Greater Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)
Little Tern (Sternula albifrons)
Feral Pigeon (Columba livia)
Common Wood-pigeon (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)
Common Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus)
Common Swift (Apus apus)
Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis)
Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major)
Common Sand Martin (Riparia riparia)
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)
Common House Martin (Delichon urbicum)
Eurasian Tree Pipit (Anthus trivialis)
Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis)
Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea)
Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii)
White-throated Dipper (Cinclus cinclus)
Winter Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Dunnock (Prunella modularis)
European Robin (Erithacus rubecula)
Whinchat (Saxicola rubetra)
Common Stonechat (Saxicola torquata)
Northern Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe)
Ring Ouzel (Turdus torquatus)
Common Blackbird (Turdus merula)
Common Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos)
Mistle Thrush (Turdus viscivorus)
Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus)
Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla)
Wood Warbler (Phylloscopus sibilatrix)
Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita)
Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus)
European Goldcrest (Regulus regulus)
Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata)
European Pied Flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca)
Eurasian Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus)
Crested Tit (Lophophanes cristatus)
Coal Tit (Periparus ater)
Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Great Tit (Parus major)
Eurasian Nuthatch (Sitta europaea)
Eurasian Treecreeper (Certhia familiaris)
Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio)
Eurasian Jay (Garrulus glandarius)
Black-billed Magpie (Pica pica)
Eurasian Jackdaw (Corvus monedula)
Eurasian Rook (Corvus frugilegus)
Carrion Crow (Corvus corone)
Hooded Crow (Corvus cornix)
Common Raven (Corvus corax)
Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)
European Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch (Carduelis chloris)
Eurasian Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)
Eurasian Siskin (Carduelis spinus)
Common Linnet (Carduelis cannabina)
Common Bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula)
Yellowhammer (Emberiza citrinella)
Common Reed Bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus)

112 species
Author - Graham Palmer