Twenty three years have passed since my first jaunt to the Scottish Highlands and repeat trips have never been as productive or as enjoyable until now. In addition to the usual sites and thanks to several birders I also had sites for Parrot Crossbill, Scottish Crossbill and an alternative Capercaille Site. We had several flyover parties of Crossbill Sp with birds flying over at the Parrot site and at the Scottbill site but nothing that I would dare put a name to!
The mountains were still covered in snow, up to several feet thick in some places, so we were a bit restricted in our search for Ptarmigan - none the less were persevered (which proved to be the theme of the trip) and found a nice partial winter male at the highest point of our steep ascent.
Apparently Ptarmigan are having a hard time this year and we heard stories of how corpses were being revealed by the slow thawing snow. Some of the forest birds have had a real hammering from the three month freezing spell, we didn't see or hear a single Wren during our five day stay, Coal Tits weren't as numerous we did however manage three Crested Tits though only at one site - the track to Loch Mallachie.
All the other specialities were fairly easy - even Jo found a male Caper whilst I was listening to the gripping voicemail informing me of a Red-rumped Swallow at Rother Valley. Jo also found the only Red-throated Divers of the trip.