Ruthven from the parking area
||Loch Ruthven, in the Scottish
highlands, lies high above and east of Loch Ness. It's particular claim
to fame is as the British breeding grounds for Slavonian (or Horned) Grebes.
We arrived on a warm, overcast day, with a strong wind whipping up the
waves on the Loch.
for a map of the area. We were met by a number of birders taking tea in
the parking lot, and a few overfriendly Chaffinchs (see photo below) begging
|On the way to Loch Ruthven
from Fort Augustus (our home base in the Highlands), we dawdled along and
stopped several times to observe the local bird life. A particularly good
side road led down to an artist's studio, where we spotted Pied Wagtail,
Barn Swallows, a pair of Curlew, Northern Lapwing, a Common Buzzard
circling lazily overhead, Red Grouse (known in North America as Willow
Ptarmigan), Redpolls, a solitary Twite, Mistle
Thrushes, and lots of Common Pheasants.
|From the parking lot at Loch Ruthven,
we scoped out a Meadow Pipit, a Stonechat,
and several Siskins. Turning the scope onto the Loch, we
identified Northern Lapwing, Red-breasted Mergansers, Oystercatchers, Mallards,
Black-headed Gulls, and finally, a pair of Slavonian Grebes (Horned Grebes
for Americans)! We just missed the Willow Warbler that was fascinating
a family group of birders. Everyone was very helpful to the Canadian
"Over the Top" to the
Findhorn Valley - looking back towards Loch Ruthven
Get out - open gate
- drive through - close gate - get back in car. Repeat many times......
||The road "over the top" to
the Findhorn Valley was an interesting trip, and the location of our only
sighting of a Golden Eagle. The road itself was peppered with gates, so
we got plenty of excercise on the trip. Although the Findhorn Valley is
known for its raptor variety, we were unable to spot any, but it was still
a source of a few more great birds, including Red-legged Partridge,
and Northern Wheatear. We drove this road twice, as we selected it to be
our route to Loch Garten and the Abernathy Forest the following day.
Common Pheasant on the
Loch Ruthven Road
The Findhorn Valley