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Saturday, 17 April 2010

Scotland Trip - Day 4 (Crossbill Searching)

Tuesday 13th April 2010
Not learning from the King Eider or Snow Goose episodes, we decided to have a look at a drake Ring-necked Duck reported nearby. It had gone. We called in a Loch Ruthven again, and with the crazy bathers gone we clocked up 7 Slavonian Grebes, including two displaying pairs. Bootiful.

Slavonian Grebe at Loch Ruthven

The rest of the day was spent walking in various parts of Abernethy and Glenmore Forests, looking mainly for Loxia sp. We heard and saw quite a lot of Crossbills, it seems like the good year they’re having in Norfolk is echoed in Scotland. Across the Aviemore leg of the holiday we picked out three individuals (two females, one male) which we were happy with as Scottish Crossbill. All were initially picked out by calls, and we were able to listen to the Sound Approach flight and excitement calls of different crossbills directly after. I did attempt recordings but they didn’t come out well enough to make anything out. We also got prolonged views of the male.
So, a disclaimer. I will happily talk about politics, religions, twitching etc. But Crossbill taxonomy? Not with a big sh*tty stick. You may believe Scottish Crossbills don’t exist, that they are a subspecies, that they can’t be separated in the field, that they can only be separated through sonograms. You may be right, and I’m not going to argue with you. All I’m going to say is that we heard a lot of Common Crossbills sounding very similar, and these three crossbill sp. that sounded different. On the basis of the calls and our observations, we were satisfied they weren’t typical Parrot or typical Common, so we’re going with Scottish.
We saw our second Dipper of the trip along with a pair of Goosander around Loch Morlich. In the evening we went back to the Old Bridge Inn, where we got cracking views of an Osprey for our pub list.

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