A BIRDING BLOG -
hong kong AND
hong kong AND
The Black Isle 29 July - 2 August
Back at the Black Isle, I managed to squeeze in visits to three sites. The first was the Fairy Glen at Rosemarkie on 30 July. This is an area of deciduous woodland beside a stream; a trail through the forest follows the stream to a waterfall. The woodland, as you would expect at the end of July, was rather quiet but I saw a few common birds including Coal Tit and Treecreeper. My target bird , however, was Dipper, and I managed to see and photograph one near the car park.
On 31 July I went to Chanonry Point, also near Rosemarkie, in search of the Botttlenose Dolphins which are regularly seen there. This is a popular site; at least a hundred people were lined up on the shingle beach observing several dolphins that were swimming close to the shore on the rising tide. For the hour I was there, only their backs and dorsal fins were visible apart from a five minute period when two or three of the dolphins suddenly started leaping above the water. I only managed to get a couple of not altogether satisfactory shots of the dolphins in action.
After viewing the dolphins, I headed a few miles east to the RSPB Red Kite feeding station at Tollie. I remember seeing my first Red Kites in the 1970s at Cors Tregaron in central Wales. At the time, this was only the place where Red Kites occurred in Britain – a relict population of a species that was once widespread here (there are references to the bird in Shakespeare). A reintroduction scheme began in 1989 with birds from Spain, where there is a healthy population, being released in the Chilterns and the Black Isle. The success of the initial project has led to further reintroductions at several sites in England and Scotland.
Red Kites can often be seen flying over the fields and woods on the Black Isle, but at Tollie food is put out for the birds daily in the afternoon enabling visitors to get good views of the birds. When I was there, two birds were flying overhead and swooping down to take food laid out on a raised table. More birds come down to feed in winter.