|Red Grouse at Glenshee
|A good sized herd of Red Deer at Glenshee
Large herds of Red Deer were also a feature, with one constantly on the move, toing and froing across the slopes. Ravens, as you would imagine are also in good numbers with one group of fifteen birds noted.
|Fieldfare at Glen Clunie
|Young Roe Deer at Ballochbuie Forest
With the day ebbing away our final stop was at Ballochbuie Forest, which is best accessed from the car park at Keiloch on the Invercauld Estate. From here you walk back over the A93 and across the River Dee by way of the old General Wade bridge, entering the forest through the large gate.
|Iconic Red Squirrel
However, just before entering what I would imagine being one of the estate houses had a selection of feeders outside, always worth checking. Among the six or so Coal Tits a single Red Squirrel was a good find.
Ballochbuie Forest is a breeding area for Black Grouse, just two today and is also a good place to find Scottish Crossbill. Three species breed in Aberdeenshire ~ Common, Parrot and Scottish. Common Crossbills are widespread across the area in any conifer plantation. Parrot Crossbills are found in very small numbers in the old pinewoods and plantations of Upper Deeside. Scottish Crossbills (the UK's only endemic bird species) are notoriously difficult to nail. Whereas the extremes of Common and Parrot Crossbill is more straightforward so of the four birds seen and heard today I can rule out Parrot. As for a Scottish Crossbill 'tick' there are many intermediates and so due to the short period and distance of observation, I can only register Common Crossbill for our visit.