Category Archives: pond

Ptarmigan!

Blog #26

Today was absolutely one of my wildlife highlights so far this year! My Dad and I were up at 7:30am, in the Scottish Highlands for noon and watching 17 Ptarmigan up a mountain in the early afternoon!  Despite living in Scotland and making regular trips up north over the last 3 years in particular, I’d never actually managed to see one; although frustratingly I’d heard them!!

 

Ptarmigan are very shy birds which change their plumage to suit the season: white in winter and brown/ greyish with a white tummy in summer. Both options provide perfect camouflage in their mountain surroundings so they are incredibly difficult to spot. Even if they are a few meters away from you they can still be almost impossible to see them unless they stand up or move.

Can you spot all three of them?

On this occasion we were fortunate that David Walsh had spotted some in the area a few days previously, so we returned to the area with increased hope of finding them again. As they are very difficult to spot our best hope of finding them would be to listen for their croaking kind of call which lasts a few seconds, stops, then repeats again.

We arrived at the Glencoe car park just after noon, met up with David and after a trip up a ski lift and a 45 minute walk we heard the distinctive croaking.  After taking a few minutes to get our bearings and agree exactly where the noise had come from we set off further up the mountain to a rocky outcrop next to a waterfall. Finally, after scanning the area with our binoculars it was David who finally saw one!  We composed ourselves and worked out the best route to get a look at the bird and take some photos.  We split up and after a few minutes more birds appeared from between the rocks and started climbing further up the hill.  One bird, became, 4, then 7, then 13 and finally 17 – split between two main groups!! The birds were clearly a mix of adults and younger birds which was so good to see.

The views the birds gave us during the 45 min or so we followed them were absolutely unbelievable as they were regularly on the move and ‘posing’ for photos non-stop: every so often the birds would stop, stand on a rock, then call!

Not many people get the opportunity to see so many birds together, let alone have them obligingly standing up on a rock calling with perfect backdrop for a photo!  The weather also remained kind to us, with only some very occasional slight drizzle.

To end this amazing day, we spotted Ptarmigan poo and a common frog which had the colouration perfect for blending into its environment. The rocks are greyish and so was the frog!

Common Frog (Rana temporaria)
Ptarmigan (Lagopus muta) Poo

This is a day I KNOW I will remember and look back on for a long, long time. 

Thanks for reading!

 

Michael

 

Links to the people involved in making my day below:

 

David Walsh 

Twitter – @DavidWalsh22

 

Kevin Sinclair

Twitter – @Kevandiso

Suffolk blog (part 2)

As you can see in part one we went to RSPB Minsmere and other places but alongside that we had been staying at a place called Springlake Leisure with very friendly hosts Lynn and Leister! They also showed a big passion for wildlife and were very interested in what wildlife was roaming around their place! I showed them the moths, bats and loads of the other wildlife they were so lucky enough to have! The final place we went to during the holiday was RSPB Lakenheath fen in hope of seeing something nice. We arrived and were told an adult bittern had two younger Bitterns and it was with them in front of the hide. This is a very rare sight as bitterns are very elusive and don’t usually show well. Continue reading Suffolk blog (part 2)

BTO Bird Camp 2018

Blog #23

I was again lucky enough to be accepted into the BTO bird camp which is a camp held at the BTO headquarters in Thetford and funded/sponsored by the Cameron Bespolka Trust. The camp started on Friday evening and finished on Sunday late afternoon. The camp is aimed at giving young people more of a chance to connect with nature and to give people the opportunity to speak to others with the same interests!

Continue reading BTO Bird Camp 2018

Frog Blog

Frog Blog – Blog #22

The other day was really sunny and the temperature was high so late that night at 10:30 the frogs in my garden went absolutely crazy! There were 12 in my main garden pond of which, two climbed out onto the grass then started gobbling up flies. Then they would do a jumpy dive movement towards slugs and gobble them up too. Meanwhile the 10 frogs that stayed in the pond were just catching unlucky flies that got a bit close to the water.

Continue reading Frog Blog