Monday, March 28, 2005

Brecks birding

Day 4 | A Speyside Wildlife holiday.

Marilyn, Jenny, Barry and Steve are the early birds with a dawn raid on Lynford. The dawn cacophony of the hotel is only surpassed by that at Lynford! We wait in the mist for some of the birds to pack in singing and show themselves. It’s a long wait and we are getting colder and colder at the Hawfinch stakeout. A Tawny Owl hoots away and awakens another which begins to call ‘koo-wick’. Great Spotted, Woodpeckers drum, Green Woodies yaffle, Robins warbler, Pheasants cough (and flutter their wings), Jackdaws chack, and Tits shurr away. Oh, and dogs bark! The nearby kennels have just awoke.

Frustration and cold is setting in when Steve spies a couple of dots sat up high distantly on trees in the arboretum. ‘Hawfinches!’ exclaims Steve. At last! We each take it in turns to look through Steve scope at two dumpy blobs. ‘If you look carefully you can see the large bills when they turn their heads’ says Steve. ‘Honest’. We leg it in to the arboretum but by the time we get there the birds have gone. A couple of minutes frantic scanning of all the trees. ‘There they are!’ states Steve as they fly into a tall tree. Scopes are up and on them. They are not great views but we can at least now see what they are, and they are clearly Hawfinches. Their huge bills are obvious and you can just make out their colours and the black facial mask through the mist. Times running out so we head for the van, but not before Steve finds another new bird for the trip – three Bullfinches sat high up in a tree. Great stuff.

We hot foot it back to the hotel (spotting a flock of 11 migrating Curlew on route) for breakfast with the others before saying out goodbyes and each heading into the Easter Monday holiday traffic. What fun!

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