April in the Cairngorms

April showers of the white kind carpeted the Cairngorm National Park this April. We had all four seasons in one month and our wildlife had to cope with the ever-changing weather as we head into breeding season. Calm and sunny days (with a chill in the air) followed by wind and snow made this diverse landscape look different every day.

Caught out in a snow storm
Red Squirrel carrying nesting materials to the drey

Just when our birds and mammals think it is Spring, the snow fell to the ground and cold nights meant extra preparation to keep warm. Red Squirrels have been bounding around the forest and this friendly female was capture as she searched for food and carried a large bundle of nesting materials to her drey. Red Squirrels will make their dreys high up in the trees away from danger our of branches and soft materials like moss, leaves or like this one, sheep wool from nearby fields.

Summer migrant begin to arrive (Swallow, Common Sandpiper, Chiffchaff, Ring Ouzel)

The Cairngorms is a fantastic place at any time of year to watch for wildlife, but April is an important time for migratory birds to make their journeys either away from us to Scandinavia or Iceland or arrive from distant countries like Africa for the breeding season. As Pink-footed geese, Redwing and Fieldfare began to leave, Swallow, Ring Ouzel and Wheatear were the first of the migrants to arrive back. With plenty more birds still to arrive in May after the weather delaying them, it should be an exciting month ahead to be out birdwatching. If you are in the area, found out about day guides that we offer.

Course students exploring the National Park and its wildlife

The Cairngorms National Park is an important and popular place for many bird species and people like to find and watch these species when out with us. Over the years we have welcomed many students on a year-long identification course to help identify and learn bird song of birds found in the National Park. With many birds singing through April we welcomed this year’s course students and were out exploring the local area. We also run various weekend masterclasses throughout the year. Both the year-long course and masterclasses information can be found here. If you would like to participate in any of our courses, please get in touch.