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Bird Watching (UK) - - Go Birding - PAUL TRODD

THIS BIRD­ING WALK is lo­cated within the bound­aries of the Cairn­gorm Na­tional Park on the Roth­iemurchus Es­tate, near Aviemore. With its 13th Cen­tury castle is­land set on Loch an Eilein, and views across the snow-capped Cairn­gorm Moun­tains to the south, it is a place of im­mense at­mos­phere and grandeur. Old Cale­do­nian Scots Pines con­trast with com­mer­cial plan­ta­tions and de­cid­u­ous trees, home to a typ­i­cal range of Highland wood­land birds, while ad­ja­cent open moor­land, birch scrub, bogs and streams add to the habi­tat di­ver­sity. Vis­i­tors from south­ern England will be sur­prised by the sheer num­bers of Wil­low War­blers and Siskins in these north­ern pine woods, and Crested Tits, which should be easy to see as they re­turn to nest holes to feed their young. Ca­per­cail­lie are few in num­ber and can be elu­sive dur­ing the sum­mer in thick ground cover. Ospreys reg­u­larly fish open wa­ter while Red Kite and Goshawk are both present in the gen­eral area. On warm, muggy days vast clouds of fly­ing in­sects rise off the wood­land canopy, at­tract­ing large flocks of Swal­lows, martins and Swifts. Red Squir­rels should be rel­a­tively easy to see through­out the for­est, while Roe and Red Deer are of­ten noted along wood­land edges and the open moor­land to the south. This is a great walk for dog-lovers. For a chance of Ca­per­cail­lie visit early morn­ing and scan fire-breaks and clear­ings

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