Another month passes by and up here in Aberdeenshire, there's still no real signs of summer. In the past month, temperatures locally have struggled above 20C on just a few occasions with what seems like a constant, unabating northeasterly airflow. This is often accompanied by persistent sea haar that will actually come inland as far as home, around 15 miles! The lowest temperature recorded on my weather station for the month was actually just above freezing at 2C! The locals tell me this is not a normal year and having been on holiday here on several occasions over the years before moving permanently I'm inclined to agree.
|A glorious sunset over the hills of Bennachie ~ Taken on my iPhone from the kitchen window.|
|Noctilucent clouds ~ These taken once again from the kitchen window at midnight on June 27th|
However, we do get just short of 18 hours of daylight at this time of year and quite often some amazing sunsets. More recently noctilucent clouds have become an evening phenomenon, usually seen just a few hours after sunset, which is currently around 10pm.
|Looking south from the heart of the Invercauld Estate showing its diverse habitat with the cliffs of Craig Leaf top right|
When the sea haar does hit a 40-minute drive into the Cairngorms can often produce clear sunny days and on the penultimate day of the month (29th), I did just that. Checking my records I last visited Invercauld on the first day of the month, a journal entry of which can be found HERE along with more details of the site.
|The views from the track at Invercauld|
Today just a few fair-weather clouds and a pleasant 23C when I headed along the track that leads from the estate offices towards Inver and Felagie. Tree Pipits were in song and a female or perhaps juvenile Redstart made a brief appearance along the treeline. There were also a good number of juvenile Stonechats along most of my route today. Small Heath butterflies were plentiful and like my previous visits, Green Tiger Beetles were also easily encountered every few yards.
|My first Aberdeenshire Whinchat ~ Lovely to hear one singing!|
The best from a birding perspective was my first Aberdeenshire Whinchat, which although remaining at a reasonable distance, could be heard singing.
|My first ever encounter with a Northern Dameslfy!|
There are several water bodies to explore along the route which currently hold many Four-spotted Chasers and the odd Golden-ringed Dragonfly plus Large Red and Common Blue Damselfly. If your luck is in and you spend what seemed an age searching you may even come across a Northern Damselfly. Having been searching for the past few weeks, today was my first ever encounter.
|Northern Brown Argus at Felagie|
I paused at Felagie Burn for lunch before making the return journey and here at least four Northern Brown Argus and six Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary. Unfortunately, still no sign of any Large Heath, which according to East Scottish butterflies can be found within the area. Also of note today Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral and two larger Fritillaries flashed by at a rate of knots so I'm assuming these to have been Dark-green Fritillary, although I've not placed them on my year-list.