With breakfast fast approaching back at the hotel, we made our way back but jammed on to a Crested Tit feeding on a lone roadside tree.
After breakfast we headed back out, hoping for a bit more luck. First up was a new site for us with nesting Osprey.
Next up on the list was a trip up the Cairngorms, or so we thought! With all of the snow still at the top of the mountain we were fairly sure that we'd be able to get out at the top with a decent chance of connecting with Ptarmigan. Unfortunately, when we walked into buy our tickets for the funicular train to the summit, we were told that it was having maintenance work until 16th May!!! With none of us up for the hike up by foot, we decided to head out along the lower lying paths and hoping our luck would be in, it wasn't and after a fairly long trek, we'd only had more Red Grouse, Raven and a Wheatear. We headed back to the car park for a coffee, unfortunately we were then told by the person parked next to us that he'd had a pair of Ptarmigan just up from the base station. So off we went again, but other than some excellent views of 6+ Ring Ouzel, we saw little else.
Male Ring Ouzel
We also had a flock of 6 Snow Buntings in the car park including 3 smart black and white males.
Our next stop was one of our favourites with the Slavonian Grebes just outside Aviemore but despite there normally being at least a pair present, we could only find 1 bird, the other perhaps on a nest as it was seen by others the next day. Also seen here were Common Sandpiper and Siskins around the bird hide.
Having read fantastic reviews of the wildlife seen at the Rothiemurchus hide, we had pre-booked our spaces. We met our guide just after 8 and headed down to the hide, which was hidden away within the Rothiemurchus estate. Once the food had been placed all around the outside of the hide, the lights were switched off and we waited. It didn't take long before we were joined by our first visitor.
Sorry but couldn't resist this one!!
Altogether, we had 4 Pine Martens and 4 Badgers visit the feeding station before we left at about 11.30. We also had brief views of roding Woodcock and stunning close views of Tawny Owl as we left. A truly amazing experience and one I'd thoroughly reccommend.