This morning we drove down the coast towards RSPB Troup Head Reserve but go sidetracked by a sign Below the Visitor Centre, the lower headland has great coastal views with some nice birdwatching.
Up the slope toward the Pictish Fort site:
Then we drove on down to Duffus Castle, because it was on the way to Troup Head.
While Ralph was inside the castle taking pictures, I walked around the outside, next to the moat.
After Duffus Castle we drove on to RSPB Troup Head:
We headed down the path marked in orange.
Ralph saw a bird land on the cliff. He is sure it was one of the small falcons: a kestrel, sparrowhawk, or merlin:
Along the way we saw butterflies:
A couple we met on the path said there were dolphins off the cliff. I took some shots with my lens zoomed to the max. While I got some splashes, this is the only picture that shows there were dolphins!
This map shows the real bird watching part of Troup Head:
While I got this shot of a gannet:
Ralph walked out to the real headland:
When Ralph returned to where I was waiting on a bench, he made a friend:
Then we cut across the field to return to the car park:
It was time to head to RSPB Loch of Strathbeg. To our surprise, they have ponies!
But there were plenty of birds, too. At first we didn’t see many:
The swans were obvious, but to their left at the edge, there was a curlew.
Above him was a large bird, maybe a buzzard or marsh harrier.
He flew off in the next picture:
But showed up later:
A bird in the middle foreground, badly out of focus in this picture, may have been a greenshank:
Here he is later, along with a lapwing and a number of other unidentified shore birds:
The black blob in the right lower corner turned out to be one of several lapwings, but here is a better picture of them:
The bird at the far right in the first bird picture was probably another curlew. Here is the best picture I got of him:
I really didn’t see him while taking the photos, he blended in so well. But that meant I never tried to focus directly on him, unfortunately.
As we were leaving there were starlings on the chimneys:
And many swallows resting on the wires above the visitor centre:
Another reserve visitor frightened them:
That night we traveled on to Peterhead and stayed at a Travelodge – basic, but clean.