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Garden birds & Puppies!

After a busy October out in the field guiding for Heatherlea, November has seen me taking a more relaxed approach to birding and I’ve had the novel opportunity to spend time watching the birds in my garden. I have two feeding stations set up and a ground feeding tray. I put out a variety of food and get most of the usual garden birds including Coal, Blue and Great Tits, Chaffinches, Greenfinches, Siskins, Starlings etc. We’ve got about 10 Blackbirds at the moment and a number of them are migrants from the continent – much larger birds with darker bills. It is wonderful being able to take the time to look at the finer details of some of these birds that we often take for granted. We had our first Great Spotted Woodpecker earlier this week and I’m hoping we’ll get a few more new garden birds as the weather gets colder, Crested Tit and Brambling are high on my wish list.

Although its safe to say that I have not been totally content with garden viewing and have indulged in a little bit of birding out and about to keep up to date with local sightings. We are very fortunate the Highlands are in a Level 1 area, and travel within our region is not restricted. A quick foray to a favourite valley last week resulted in great views of a Golden Eagle as it flew over my head. I've also been up to the Beauly Firth at high tide and was rewarded with nice views of an otter plus the usual wildfowl and waders. I took the long way home, stopping in at the ancient monument of Clava Cairns, not far from Culloden battlefield. It was stunning in the late afternoon sunshine and a very large flock of Redwing & Fieldfare was in amongst the trees. Wonderful sightings with a very Scottish backdrop!

I’ve also been satisfying my wanderlust travel cravings by reliving a couple of my favourite overseas trips. Some of my birdwatching DVDs have been helping me do this and yesterday was British Columbia and today Arizona. Both destinations have the most amazing mix of wildlife and scenery and I’d love to go back (hopefully in the near future!).

At the beginning of November we got two puppies - Jonny is a black labrador and Magnus is a Patterdale x Jack Russell. They can’t go out for walks until they’ve had all their vaccinations but they're lots of fun and certainly keep us on our toes!

Now we’re in December our Christmas tree and a few other decorations have gone up. It was a bit of a challenge with two young puppies running around - they kept trying to run off with the tinsel! Now it’s up though, they seem to be leaving it alone.

We’ve had relatively mild weather overall but we did get our first snowfall last Friday. I’m hoping we get some more over the next few weeks.

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