A cold Easter Sunday was followed by another day of snow at the beginning of April here in the Cairngorms. Things have slowly begun to warm up and Spring is making an appearance in many ways. The tree buds of the Silver Birch are starting to green up the dull purple Winter branches in the countryside, and the daffodils are in full bloom.
With the return of Spring, also comes the return of our Summer migrant birds that choose our countryside to breed. One Wednesday, mid-April saw the sudden influx of Willow Warblers and Chiffchaff, shorty followed by the song of Tree Pipit in surrounding scattered woodland. Swallow, House Marten and Sand Marten have been souring in large groups over wetlands, and Grebes and Divers have moved to inland lochs for the breeding season.
The Meadow Pipit that live here all year round, can sometime be confused by summer visitor Tree Pipit in looks. The countryside has been filled with their descending display song and ‘sitt-itt itt’ calls that fill the meadows. The Meadow Pipit is slightly smaller than a song thrush in size, with thicker chest and flank streaks than the Tree Pipit. The Meadow Pipit is most recognisable for their displaying pattern, where they rise us from the heather and spread their wings out like a parachute as they glide down during their flight song.
A bit of an achievement for me this past year has been getting to know so many bird song and calls here in the Cairngorms, noticing just how many there are. Now that most migration birds are back, the woodlands have started to fill with the ‘morning chorus’ of birds singing their hearts out as it echoes through the woods. It has already started and will continue through May, so getting up that little bit earlier in the morning and going for a walk will not disappoint!
Now that Spring is here and the birds are singing, why not visit the Cairngorms or have a Tailored Day Trip with Speyside Wildlife