March in the Cairngorms
As the ‘Beast from the East’ swept over Britain, the Cairngorms also had a large amount of snow but surprisingly not as much as the rest of the country, with the west coast of Scotland basking in sunshine.
Badger in the snow (Kate Mennie)
With the snow covering the ground, Badger prints were visible on the paths and especially round the Wildlife Hide. The Badgers at the hide have been becoming more active throughout the month with good sightings of between 6-8 different badgers. Any successful female Badgers will have given birth to cubs and will be feeding from their mums for the next eight weeks before coming out of their sett. Badgers like to feed together but if there is a Badger from another sett trying to join then fights can occur. The screams and growls of the Badgers while they fight can sound and look quite dramatic with some going away with scars, but they recover quickly and continue to feed.
As we move into Spring, birds start to move into and around the country. Waders such as Oystercatcher, Lapwings and Common Redshank move further inland from the coast to our inland marshes for the breeding season. The noisy ‘peep’ of the Oystercatchers as they circle together in pairs and the slurred ‘teu-teu’ of the Common Redshanks. One of the best sights is the Lapwings display flight as they tumble and dive whilst calling ‘pee-wit’ to make other males aware of their presence and attract a female.
Oystercatcher (Colin Scott)
Redshank (Colin Scott)
The pink-footed geese begin to flock and make their way up to the Arctic where they breed in the summer. One of the most recognisable migrants to the area is the Osprey. The female Osprey returned to the RSPB site here in the Cairngorms, with sightings on her previous nest and in the skies as she fights off a passing White Tailed Eagle.
Osprey (John Grierson)
Osprey (John Grierson)
As we move into April on Easter weekend, the first sighting of Woodcock roding at dusk and pairing up was a great sight. With the holidays starting, great skiing still in the area, and sightings of more migratory birds returning, April is a great time to visit the Cairngorms. To find out how you can book a day trip with one of our guides, click here.