On Wednedsday I spent the early part of the morning in the garden where Tawny Owl was calling first thing and the Spotted Flycatchers continued to perform as a Cuckoo called more distantly.
Siskin, Braemar, 3rd June
Spotted Flycatchers, Braemar, 3rd June
Willow Warblers, Braemar, 3rd June
Robins, Braemar, 3rd June
Blackbird, Braemar, 3rd June
Greenfinch, Braemar, 3rd June
garden, Braemar, 3rd June
Rabbit, Braemar, 3rd June
We headed down to Linn of Dee but were still in the car having only seen Grey Wagtail when news of a nearby rarity prompted a change of plan. Soon after we were at Loch of Skene where the target was not showing. It had been hawking insects low over the water and also high in the sky further away. After a while I picked it up over the water, a fine Black-winged Pratincole, and over the next hour or two I enjoyed watching it feeding while enjoying a good chat with Harry Scott, a local birder I'd met and stayed with years ago when I found an American Golden Plover on the Ythan.
Black-winged Pratincole, Loch of Skene, 3rd June
Red Kite, Osprey and Sparrowhawk were among the raptors on show at the Loch of Skene.
After this we headed back to Linn of Dee to resume our earlier plan, that is to go for a walk in the hills above the Linn. This was very pleasant and produced a few birds, though nothing spectacular. Goosander flew over, 3 Crossbills were feeding and we saw 2 Redstarts and 2 singing Tree Pipits.
Crossbill, above Linn of Dee, 3rd June
Redstart, above Linn of Dee, 3rd June
above Linn of Dee, 3rd June
Harry had told me about a female Capercaillie that had been seen recently at the car park at Linn of Dee. I'd spent quite a bit of time in the Linn of Dee over the last few days but avoided the car park as that always seemed to be busy with tourists and mountain bikers! We spent a bit of time here this afternoon, but no sign of Capercaillie - just this Red Squirrel.
Red Squirrel, Linn of Dee, 3rd June
We took our fish and chips from Braemar to a pull-off south of the town from where we enjoyed a Curlew singing, a Cuckoo and a fine male Ring Ouzel. Back at the base another Red Squirrel was in the garden.
At dusk I headed back to the car park at Linn of Dee in the vain hope of seeing the Capercaillie. I heard a couple of Crossbills and managed to avoid hitting any of the 400+ Red Deer that were littered throughout the valley as I drove down.
This was our last full day but next morning before heading back south I had one last try for the Capercaillie. It was a bitterly cold morning - minus 2 degrees which I didn't think was very June-like. There were fewer Red Deer this morning but this one was especially impressive.
Red Deer, Linn of Dee, 4th June
Also on the mammal front was this Hare. I associate Mountain Hares with Scotland but I suppose there's no reason why I shouldn't see Brown Hare here too, especially in the valley as this was.
Brown Hare, Linn of Dee, 4th June
Unfortunately though the birds weren't as showy as the mammals. No Capercaillie, nor anything else of note.
Pheasant, Linn of Dee, 4th June
Linn of Dee, 4th June