An early start northwards in cold but bright weather. Whilst we'd researched various Black Grouse lek sites we decided on one that I felt was less well known, but to which I'd never been before. The journey seemed to go on forever, all surrounding areas of which seemed suitable for Black Grouse, reinforced when Matthew had a bird in flight. Finally we both decided " this is it" at which point Matthew picked up a couple of birds before I'd got the car parked!! In all we had good views of three males alongside the road before they were lost to view. I'd never appreciated how wide the white tail shows when fully fanned and how distinctive it shows too at a distance. So, early success.
Ever onwards we made a stop at Loch Insh where we had Whooper Swans, Goldeneye and a Goosander along with a variety of passerines in the adjacent woodlands. Following breakfast a visit up Glen Feshie provided good birdwatching, a variety of species , but nothing significant as far as "highland specialities" go. Visits to other areas followed with similar results, although we did get Crested Tit along the early stages of the walk out to Loch Mallachie.
Finally a trip out to Loch Morlich and Cairngorm provided two Raven and several Red Grouse. We discovered we were too late to travel up to the higher station so resolved to leave that aspect until later.