Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Killiecrankie, The Cuilc and Loch of Lowes

I left Oban at about 5.00am and arrived at Killiecrankie at 7.30.  All there is at Killiecrankie is a car park and a National Trust for Scotland visitors centre.  It was closed , so were the toilets and the car was saying I had less than 30 miles of fuel left in the tank.   I then knew I should have gone to Pitlochry for a pit stop.  As it was I had to drive there in some discomfort and carefully to ensure I didn't run out of fuel.  Thankfully I found a garage with all its facilities at my disposal fairly quickly.

About the only good thing about that journey fro m Oban was the spectacular views and the cuckoo that I saw perched on a roadside fence.  Even that flew off before I could get sorted to take a photo.

As I was in Pitlochry, which was scheduled to be my second stop I went on my quest for the Ring-necked Duck that had been living on a 'The Cuilc' a small loch near the golf course for several years.  I think the only time it was not there was on the 27th May when I went to look for it.  I did see Tufted Ducks, a family of Mute Swans, a Little Grebe and nice reflections
Tufted Duck
Mute Swans

Reflections in The Cuilc

Ring-necked Ducks look very much like Tufted Ducks but these were Tufties.  I explored a bit more of Pitlochry.  There is a large Hydro Electric Scheme where a damn has been built across the River Tummel forming a large Loch.  I figured that if the Ring-necked Duck wasn't on The Cuilc then it would be here, the nearest large body of water.  I was wrong,  There was even less on this Loch on the Tummel than there was on The Cuilc.  There was a nice view looking into the morning mist downstream from the dam
River Tummel

And here is a close up of the fisherman.

So back I went to Killiecrankie.  The visitors centre was still shut but it didn't matter now.  I was on a mission to find a Nuthatch.  The car park at Killiecrankie is at the top of a deep wooded gorge.  Steps and steep paths led to the bottom of the gorge.  The number of times I went up and down the gorge must have involved the same amount of climbing as I had dome getting to the top of Cairncorm.  There was a good variety of bird life, but not a nuthatch despite staking out a dell where a couple had seen it just minutes before.

By this time the visitor centre was open so I got a cup of coffee, went out onto the veranda and looked at the bird feeding station which before had no bird feeders.  I didn't have long to wait for the Nuthatch to turn up.  


 The only task left was to get a picture without the feeder.  Here it is:-


Try as I might I could not get a shot without the wire. Ho hum that's the way it goes.

Mission accomplished with a couple of bonus shot I quite like...

Blue Tit
Coal Tit
....I went on my way passing through Pitlochry again.  I had to call in to The Cuilc to see if the duck was there.  It wasn't so I took a picture of a Mallard.


The only thing to do now was go home via a decent lunch spot.  I bought lunch at the co-op supermarket in Pitlochry and drove to the Loch of Lowes to eat it.  The Loch of Lowes is famous for its nesting Osprey and did not disappoint.  Not only was it on the nest but while I was watching its mate returned with a fish


Also on the Loch was a pair of Great Crested Grebes

Great Crested Grebes

 ...and from the visitor centre window a Great Spotted Woodpecker

Great Spotted Woodpecker

I got home at tea time!

Total on list 190

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