So its 4 o'clock in the morning and me and my Dad are on our way to Grantown-on-Spey.
We arrived at the Glenshee Ski centre around 1 o'clock that afternoon and began to scope the ridges surrounding the centre. Not long after we'd started we picked up 1 then 2 then 4 Ptarmigan (263) They were pretty distant but were feeding away and perching up on rocks, brilliant.
Plenty of Red Grouse were lower down and we also picked out 6+ Mountain Hare which was a new mammal for me.
Travelling further up to Braemar we found a large group of Red Deer on the hillside, the stags being particularly impressive even at a fair distance.
On the way to Grantown we managed a fly over Osprey somewhere south of Grantown and a Nordic Jackdaw on the roadside. 2 Dippers and a pair of Goosanders on the Spey and a flock of Crossbills.
Once in Grantown we found where we were staying and decided to get out into the woods and make the most of the daylight hours. Within only 10mins of parking up we had heard Crested Tit, getting views was another matter! Patience was rewarded and we soon managed one bird that showed really well (263) carrying on round the woods there were plenty of Crossbill, Siskin and Coal Tit.
We still had a couple of daylight hours left we thought we'd check out a site for lekking Black Grouse to make it easier to find it in the dark when we'd return one morning. We quickly found the area and to our suprise managed to get views of a male! (264) He sat around preening for a while then flew off.
So the first day had started well! 3 lifers for me