Monday, November 03, 2014

Moine Mhòr

The weather was quite pleasant on Monday so we set off further south from Oban and our first stop was Moine Mhòr. This is one of Scotland's oldest landscapes, with 5000 years of history locked in its layers of peat. It's also one of the few landscapes in Britain which takes in saltmarsh, peat bog, woodland and hillside. If we were here in the summer or early autumn Golden-winged Dragonfly would be on the wing, along with the rare Large Heath butterfly.

Roe Deer at Moine Mhòr
However, today's visit had a very wintry flavour with Siskin, Brambling, Mistle Thrush, Redwing and our first Fieldfare of the visit all recorded as we walked the ancient woodland. A boardwalk takes you around 100 yards into the bog and offers excellent all round views. Here Stonechats were in double figures, a Curlew could be heard and a single Roe Deer was seen in the long grass. This is also a great place to see Hen Harrier, which also roost here, sadly not during this stay but it's our intention to return one evening to check it out!

Moine Mhòr
After Moine Mhòr we headed down towards Taynish stopping off at Islandadd Bridge which crosses the Crinan Canal and Add Estuary. Here a look over the water produced Red-Breasted Merganser, Goosander, Wigeon, TealGrey Heron, Curlew, Oystercatcher and Hooded Crow. After entering the Knapdale Forest area we checked out the Scottish Beaver Trial Centre which we'll be visiting later this week. The car park held a large flock of Chaffinch and atop the pines a single Crossbill, along with several Goldcrest at the lower levels. Passing Loch Sween Dee noticed a large splash in the flat calm water and after pulling over a scan revealed a couple of Otter, which we enjoyed for a short while before moving on.

Red-breasted Merganser
After lunch in Taynish we took a short walk through more woodland and peat bog and stopped for a while to explore an 18th century estate mill, where the local farmers came to have their cereal crops ground. A little quiet on the birding front but we did add Raven, Treecreeper and Coal Tit to the day list. It was Dee's birthday today and after dinner in Oban we arrived back to the cottage where we encountered over a dozen Roe Deer on the road up.