Had another breakfast date with the Osprey this morning, sadly my last! One of many images from today.
From the Osprey, I had nothing planned so decided on Ptarmigan,,,again. I went up Cairngorm mountain for the second time in search, it was horrid, waterproofs,,,camera and lens wrapped up in a bin liner, ,,,,,,again. I hunted about in the snow for some hours but no Ptarmigan, I did however grab another Red Grouse so not a total waste! I made it back to the main car park and ended up chatting to a guy photographing the Snow Buntings, he also failed with Ptarmigan today and suggested if I had time I should go to Applecross and search. Off to my van I trotted and bashed Applecross into satnav, 120miles 3hrs one way! I sat and thought about it and in the end I said why not, I'm not going to find one here, I can only find them in the Highlands and I'm not back here for 12 months, the deal was done, Applecross it was! It was a fabulous drive, very little traffic and amazing views, I got myself to the summit carpark which is around 2000ft above sea level. The guy from Cairngorms said head up to the weather station, it's only 100 meteres away. My backside it was 100meters away, it was just over a mile with a climb of maybe 700 feet above the carpark, not easy in the snow and strong wind, my calculations came up with a windchill of around -8 degrees C. On the positive side, the sun was out and it was as clear as clear could be. It took me around an hour to get to the top and again, the views were mind blowing! I searched for a few hours but nothing. A few foot prints in the snow of birds but they looked old. I headed back down and guess what, I found one!!!! The cold, the wind, the crawling about in the snow was worth it., So glad I gave up smoking last year, if I was still smoking, I'd still be there gasping for air like a fish out of water. As they say, no pain no gain!
I found a Black Grouse not long after the Ptarmigan near Applecross another first for me, well worth the trip!!
Red Grouse from Cairngorm earlier in the day. I also managed a Hooded Crow also on the way back.