We got up early to attend the RSPBs CaperWatch (responsible birding folks). Despite a male Caper displaying well for the remote cameras, we couldn’t see it from the hide. We later found that it had been seen later in the morning, but by then we had left for breakfast. On the way back for breakfast we stopped at Tulloch Moor, picking up a female Black Grouse in a tree.
Next on the target list was Ptarmigan. The girls weren’t keen on a snowy walk, so we took the Funicular railway to the top. Anything with fun in has to be good, right? It was weird not worrying about hitting people with my tripod, the reason being that I was being battered with huge snowboards. For a while it looked like we would be out of luck, three Snow Buntings and some hare tracks being the only things on display. Gary decided enough was enough and found us two Ptarmigan, feeding near the summit behind the top of the ski-lift. Excellent.
The Mull leg of our trip was aimed at seeing eagles, but we decided to have lunch at Findhorn Valley in the hope of seeing some early Golden Eagles. A beautiful place, but no sign of the eagles. We did manage Peregrine and Raven. On to Loch Ruthven, which was teeming with Toads, and more disruptively bathers at one end. Understandably the Slav Grebes had done a runner, with only a distant view of one at the far end. A Red Kite flew over, adding to our birds of prey list. In an attempt to cram in a last bit of birding we headed to the Old Bridge Inn in Aviemore for some beer. Gary jammed an Osprey, whilst the rest of us settled for Whooper Swan (a flock over north), Siskin, Goldcrest and Coal Tit.