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

SET WITHIN THE Cairn­gorm Na­tional Park, Glen­more For­est Park com­bines the wilder­ness found in tracts of an­cient Cale­do­nian for­est and moun­tain moor­land with the con­ve­nience of a vis­i­tor cen­tre and a full range of fa­cil­i­ties around the main car park. Check the bird feed­ers at the café for Crested Tit, Siskin and Red Squir­rel. Loch Mor­lich even has a beach, which can be packed with tourists on warm sum­mer days! How­ever, once you’re clear of the car parks, the com­mer­cial pine plan­ta­tions close in and walk­ers have the place to them­selves. Cross­bills and Crested Tits are a given in the conifers, but Caper­caille may prove more dif­fi­cult. Ar­eas of open Birch scrub along the way har­bour good num­bers of Wil­low War­blers and Siskins and Black Grouse of­ten fre­quent ad­ja­cent bogs and rough ter­rain. A trail fol­lows a stream tum­bling down the hill­side, and then trav­els north-east along a rocky ridge with views across moun­tain crags and scree cov­ered slopes of Creag a Cha­la­main. Pretty much any bird you en­counter here will be a qual­ity sight­ing, such as Ring Ouzel or even a Golden Ea­gle, and, re­cently, I was sur­prised to find a Hen Har­rier.

3Scan the open coun­try to the south for hunt­ing rap­tors such as Buz­zard, Red Kite, Spar­rowhawk, Kestrel and Pere­grine. Black Grouse oc­cur here, plus Stonechat, Whin­chat, Meadow and Tree Pip­its. Grey Wag­tail, Com­mon Sand­piper, Dip­per and Goosander are reg­u­larly noted along the stream.

This is usu­ally a good spot for moor­land birds, typ­i­cally Whin­chat, Wheatear, Meadow Pipit, Red Grouse, Mer­lin, Curlew and Golden Plover. It’s also worth check­ing crags and rock faces for Ring Ouzel, Raven and Pere­grine. Golden Ea­gle has also been seen here so keep a close look out – you never know!

4Visit early morn­ing be­fore the loch gets dis­turbed by wa­ter­sports

Crested Tit Red Squir­rel

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