Saturday, 16 January 2010

A Very Strange Week

We travelled to the highlands and our cottage in Boat of Garten last Friday & Saturday with an overnight at Kinross. A low temperature of minus 1o on the A66 and in the Southern Uplands on Friday led to a couple of interesting sightings - a pure Hooded Crow on the from the motorway between Glasgow and Edinburgh, a very southerly location but a corking bird. Even earlier in the journey a Pere skimmed across the bonnet on the A66 distracting from the dire driving conditions. A constant trickle of Buzzards had us at 20 or so by the time we got to Kinross. Snow of up to 3 feet all along made it dicey.

On the Saturday morning en famille descended on Vane Farm for Bacon Sandwiches and a scope of a sea eagle. No sign of any of the 3 eagles but a single Pink-foot on the ice plus a male Brambling around the feeder looking moribund. The snow set in and after concussing myself on the 42inch telly in the visitor centre we set off for the highlands. As we passed through Tayside my wife became proficient at seeing Buzzards. At a particularly mountainous juncture she mentioned "2 massive birds like buzzards but all dark. One has white on its tail and they have very long wings. Like Buzzards only bigger". Goddam it ive missed 2 Golden Eagles, gripped off by my wife. And one was a subadult. All wrong, my wife hates birding. She also managed her first few Monarch of the Glens...

My parents arrived later that evening and drinks were had all round. My dad hadn't been well prior with pneumonia and he looked ghastly after a 400 mile drive. We were more interested in that it was minus 14. Madness. A drive to Loch Garten and Tulloch Moor the next day was interesting as there were was 6 inches of packed ice to drive on. We took a few photos and buggered off...

The next day we headed to Channory Point where I saw a Seal and halfway up Findhorn Valley where 25 Raven were compensation for no eagles and no dolphins (although my wife managed a brief view on the farside of the estuary). A Mountain Hare crossed the road infront of the car up findhorn valley. Mammal lifer! We got back to news of my dad having had emergency dental surgery. He had a shit nights sleep.

The next morning and dad wasnt well. My mum wanted him home for safe keeping so they headed home sothe doc could check him out. We perservered and had a nice day at Loch an Eileen with Red Squirrels and a Peregrine wheeling over the ridge.

Dad was admitted when he got home. AF and Pneumonia. I was glad he was getting the care he needed and couldnt believe he managed the drive home with a heart condition. I found on my emails that I'd been offered a job part time offshore surveying and data analysis which rocked. Maybe I can give up nursing. I hope so. Ange's mate Kate has had a little Girl - a playmate for Izzy. Me and Ange were headed up the mountain or to a distillery or anywhere that wasnt closed. That turned out to be the Highland Wildlife Park where we saw Otter and Wildcat and Pine Martin. Cool as. The tigers were good as were the Hoodie hybrids knocking about and one purish bird. Ish. And then we dragged Izzy through two foot of snow up to see the Polar Bear. My phone rang. It was mum. Dad has Lung Cancer...

2 comments:

Marcus Conway said...

Hope everything turns out for the best.

Thinking about you mate.

James said...

cheers man.

How brains and birds become mutually exclusive