Wednesday, 27 September 2017

19th August Trip to Dinnet and the back of Glen Tannar

One of a few not very succssful trips was a day at Dinnet with Alex.  The aim was to find a Redstart for my list and a Green Woodpecker for Alex to move from his 'heard' listing to a 'seen' listing and of course to get photographs.

We Started at the Vat o' Burn carpark and crossed the road into the Muir of Dinnet NNR.  This is where Alex had seen Redstart last year.  Of course this year the most exotic bird was a Robin.

We went to parts of the birch woodland that I did not know existed.  There is a long boardwalk over marshy ground that held lots of Dragonflys

Black Darter

The other insect that was abundant was a Scotch Argus butterfly.  I had never seen one before and for some reason I thought they lived on heather moorland and were rather scarce.  Actually they live in damp woodland and are common at least locally.  This one was on heather so I was partialy right!

Scotch Argus
 From Dinnet we went just a little way to the South Deeside Road to walk a farm track that basiclly led round the back of the Glen Tannar estate.  Here the target was Green Woodpecker, Tawny Owl and Garden Warbler. What we saw was Crossbill and Buzzard.  Now, you know and I know that Crossbills live in conifers and eat the seeds out of the cones.  So it came as something of a surprise to see two of them flying from one willow tree to another.


We also know that there are three types of Crossbill that live in Scotland, Common, Scottish and Parrot.  It takes something of an expert to tell the three apart.  What you need, to be certain is a DNA testing kit and sound recording equipment that will produce a sonogram, a sort of chart showing the sound frequencies of the birds call.  Alex and I only had our cameras but we are told that these are Common Crossbills.  Our hunt for Scottish and Parrot Crossbills has to continue.

And we saw a Buzzard....


.... and took some other photos as well

A large derilict looking barn with new bails

Very Old Potato Harvester

Old Gate New Fence
  I've put these up because somehow they typify the Scottish Highlands countryside.  These were all in the same place and I could have taken more of the same, the lorry that clearly no longer fit for the road, the pile of large bits of wood, the rusty old stock feeding thing.  You get the idea.  When I first moved up here I was all for something being done to tidy up the countryside and get rid of all the debris and scrap that is lying around.  That was fifteen years or so ago.  Now my attitude has changed.  I don't want the old barn and steadings converted and 'gentryfied', I want to see old farm machinery, yes and rusty old cars, and I want to see old wooden gates.  Along with the mountains and the moorland, the (highland) cattle running with calves and herds of sheep these things from the past, often no longer useful are what makes Scotland, well Scotland and unique.  And they are good for wildlife.  See the lichens on the gate.  How many mice and voles live in the field with the uncut grass and the potoato harvester that feed owls, kestrels stoats and weasels.  What nesting habitat is there in the derilict looking steading and for what cretures?  Many rural parts of England and alas of Scotland to are becoming too tidy, too efficient at the expense of our wildlife.  And that is not good for the soul or the mental health of the nation.

Rant over

Total on list 201


  1. Totally agree. Leave it alone.

  2. Hi Mike, Thank you for your blog! Well done on the 200! I achieved a similar target here in Devon in 2016, as a challenge with a birding pal. I am visiting N/E Scotland for family reunion of cousins at Huntly Castle in early Nov and with my brother will then spend a couple of days at Fochabers, where my parents lived when alive. We hope to spend a little time birding the area, with possibly a visit to Strathbeg. Your blog has helped my research into the area a great deal, so once again sincere thanks!