Starting to get the images processed.
After the overnight drive, and a kip in the car we arrived at a Black Grouse lek in Perthshire. We were last here in 1994 and found the birds around 1/2 mile south of the published location. Had a hard time getting our bearings because the area had changed a bit. The original spot seemed to be very overgrown and much harder to see from the car-it did not look suitable at all so we headed off to the proper location. This did not look good at all, but luckily a local drove past and told us the lek had moved a bit further north, but the fields were waterlogged. Stayed for a bit but it did not look likely that birds would show in the rain so we headed off-a flyby juvenile Goshawk was a nice surprise.
Our next location near Blairgowrie was for orchids. Bill Last had given me a few guides and we were hoping to see Coral Root and Lesser Twayblade here. However the site was badly overgrown with dense sedge and rush dominating the spot shown on his map. Some other areas looked better but a search did not come up with anything.
Keltney Burn was our next destination. it turned out to be a great location for plants, with large numbers of orchids present. We found about half a dozen Small White Orchids, a few Heath Fragrant, as well as Butterfly, Northern Marsh, Heath Spotted and Common Spotted. The burn itself was a raging torrent after the recent rain. I did search a large area for other plants on Bill's maps but could not reach some of them. Spooked a couple of Roe Deer while negotiating a marshy section.
Arrived at Loch Garten around noon. the weather had dried up but there were few sunny spells. The big roadside pool now has a board walk-been a while since we had stopped here. Met up with a dragonfly enthusiast and after some time two Northern Damselflies appeared but nothing else was seen. Popped into the centre and after watching a feeding Common Lizard ticked off the Ospreys then went to the little pool outside. Lots of Large Red Damsels and what appeared to be a Keeled Skimmer-well out of range if it was but I cannot think what else it could be.
The two pools up the road held more enthusiasts watching an emerging White Faced Darter. Several males were also patrolling the pool.
Tulloch Moor held several pairs of Whinchat, but the walk down to Loch Mallachie did not produce any dragonflies-Northern Emerald was possible. We encountered one Crested Tit in the woods, lots of Tree Pipit, Coal Tit and Siskin of course, as well as two parties of Crossbills. The first lot sounded much like the Commons I hear down here, while the second were rather deeper and sounded like Scottish.
After checking in at the hotel and eating we called in at Loch Ruthven where several family parties of both Little and Slavonian Grebes were seen. As usual, a Wheatear was seen around the car park. An interesting raptor flew over-I first thought it was a Hen Harrier but as it got closer it was clearly a more robust bird, and we actually speculated on the possibility of Black Kite though the lighting was pretty bad and I could not get details apart from a shallow forked tail. Moulting Buzzard or Marsh Harrier would be more likely.