In woodland near Aviemore wood warbler were singing loudly. And we heard, but did not see pied flycatcher.
Crested tit were nesting in a dead tree and their secrecy in approaching the nest kept us sharp- eyed.
Curr Wood, near Granton on Spey, was delightful and we found Scottish crossbill high in Scots pine and flitting through the canopy. Sunlight poured through the understorey where birch was coming into leaf.
We drove slowly through forest seeing goldcrest and looking for capercaillie the only species that eluded us. Stopping for lunch with views of the Cairngorms streaked with snow, we admired a stunning redstart. In a week of perfect weather illumination was remarkable.
On our first morning there was light rain and we saw a couple of black grouse and a cuckoo on a wire. Black grouse, a first for me. Later that morning the sun came out, we stopped roadside and watched half a dozen black grouse on their lekking ground, wonderfully lit. The experience was memorable if the photographs were not (we did not leave the vehicle for fear of disturbing the birds).
A day on the west coast of Scotland gave excellent sightings of two white-tailed eagles and a golden eagle. And through the week we had sightings of loons: red throated diver, great northern diver, and a pair of black throated diver in a slick of glimmering water.
Another highlight, late in the week, was a Slavonian grebe. Distant, but through telescopes he looked stunning.
Petty whin of the forest floor was new to me. And Jonny pointed out Turban fungus growing amongst fallen pine cones.
And thanks to Malcolm Taylor and Ian Jenkins for images included in this blog sequence.
Images are always my own- I write to capture the essence of the experience. Birding in the Highlands was a shared experience. I wanted to reflect this generosity of sharing. And it's an opportunity to show different images of birds we were watching and to see how different birders interpret what they saw.