May 2019

The young birds have started to appear in the garden. The first ones as usual were the Blackbirds but it was not long before they were feeding themselves. I still had apples left from the tree and the young were quickly led by the parent birds to the ground where they were. There have been lots of young Tree Sparrows in the garden and lots of young Starlings. I am still noticing a Tree Sparrow going into the nest box during the day but so far no sign of any food being taken in. Unfortunately the bird has managed to completely cover up the camera in the box and we really do not want to disturb it by opening up the box in case it is nesting there. There are four Yellowhammers, two males and two females, who are regularly coming in to feed but no sign of any young there so far. Usually there are quite a few juvenile Blue Tits come in with their young but so far I have only seen one. During the last few years I have had two Feral Pigeons that look like Rock Doves come into my garden about this time to feed. They have appeared again this year  but so also has a striking white and grey Feral Pigeon. I try not to encourage these Feral birds into the garden as I already have plenty Wood Pigeons which come in.  A Great-spotted Woodpecker came into the feeders this month but It flew as soon as it sensed any movement. I have not seen it since.

During the second week in May I heard and saw my first Cuckoos.  There was one at Little Aitnoch, which I managed to get a distant photo of, and another between Loch Allan and Black Loch. The second one just flew along the road in front of the car landing on fence posts and then continued.  That same day I saw a Red-throated Diver and later in the month, there were two displaying on a loch. There seemed to be at least three pairs of Stonechats nesting between Refouble and Little Aitnoch. In that area, there were also plenty of Red-legged Partridges. It is lovely to see quite a bit of activity with many of the summer visitors back, the Willow Warblers, the Chiffchaffs, the Whitethroats and the Swallows. I have not seen many Common Sandpipers this year. There are usually quite a few at Lochindorb but so far I have not seen any there. I did see two near Drynachan. There were lots of Sand Martins flying over the water there too. Near Dulsie Bridge I saw my first Spotted Flycatcher this year. There used to be quite a few Lapwings up in the Dava area but their numbers seem to have diminished. Towards the end of the month I heard Cuckoos near Knockaneorn and near Balnught but could not see them.

May -June 2018

In May the young birds started to appear in the garden. The parent birds were busy all the time feeding their young. There were juvenile House Sparrows, Starlings, Dunnocks and Blue Tits. When I was out and about on the Dava, I saw Lapwing chicks, Mallard with ducklings and I even saw my first Cuckoo of the year in the same place as I had seen them in previous years. The Red-breasted Divers had also returned to the lochs on the Dava. The young Deer could also be easily seen in the fields. The Orange Tip Butterflies are seen quite early in Spring in the garden but it not always easy to get a photograph as they never settle, just pass through. In the woods there are plenty Speckled Wood Butterflies.

At the beginning of June we were in Ghent, in Belgium, for a few days. It was a lovely city with plenty to see. I always see Great Crested Grebes when I go abroad to various cities and Ghent was no exception to this. They were seen on every waterway. They are very photogenic birds as they glide gracefully past. I also noticed a Coot there, out of the water and did not realise they had such large feet!

Back home, there was plenty of activity along the coast. I was fortunate to see Ringed Plovers and Oystercatchers with their Chicks and Eider Ducks with young in the sea. As the weather was so good there were always plenty Grey and Common Seals basking along the shores. On the Dava, I saw my first Red-legged Partridge chicks and Juvenile Stonechats being fed. There were plenty of Dragonflies to be seen near a small pond in the woods. A little mouse has been appearing at the bottom of my birdfeeders for a while now. I hope it survives as there are Herring Gulls and Jackdaws often in the garden.