Into 2017

Welcome to the first A9Birds blog of 2017 - I've purposefully left it until after 11 January for those still using the Julian calendar, and never quite got over losing 11 days back in the 18th Century!

With the Winter Solstice now a memory, already the days are starting to clearly lengthen and watching the behaviour of various birds shows that Spring is coming...even though, as I write this, the garden is under six inches of snow.  Crossbill males were already singing back in December on nice, sunny days however it's not unusual as these birds are notoriously early breeders in order to maximise their access to seed cones in the various trees offering such.

I'm not going to start the whole Crossbill species debate here, but I will say the song I've heard has been 'Scottish' to my ears!  The Coal Tits accompany on bagpipes, and Dunnocks on the squeeze box...okay, I'll stop there.

Mr Crossbill looking for his next cone to prise apart

Return of a friend?

The winters of 2014/15 and 2015/16 saw a Rough-legged Buzzard frequent the area around Lochindorb, one of our favourite places just south of home.  The distant photo below that I took of the bird shows signs - creamy head, the start of black trailing edges to the underwing feathers - of the 2015/16 bird to be a second winter female, indicating the juvenile female from the previous winter was probably back once more.

Rough-legged Buzzard - is she back again?

News rattled through the birding grapevine a week or so ago that a Rough-legged Buzzard was back in the area, so folk various went looking - some seeing it (including a friend), some not (me, and a lot of others!).  Based on previous years, she's stayed within the surrounding, large-ish area until April, so hopefully will reconnect with the bird soon and get photo evidence to help try and show it's a three year old female which will be great news.

So what's coming up in 2017?

With the new year's arrival, I've been working on various things to develop my A9Birds business, keeping it fresh for customers as well as myself.  The print sale side of my activities will see some new locations added where folk can purchase them direct, while for the birdwatching/photography tours I'll be adding in some new locations for key species that folk usually wish to see during a Highland foray.  And, as always, there'll be Ospreys...lots and lots of Ospreys!

Want to take Osprey photos like this?  Get in touch!

Remember too that A9Birds is pleased to be affiliated with places to stay in Moray and Strathspey, galleries as well as (for those heading from south of the border to come up and see us) two great 'one man band' companies that are worth considering, whether you carry binoculars, a camera or both.  So, check out Nature Nuts and Scottish Photography Hides!

Happy birding


A9Birds is a birdwatching and wildlife photography company based in Moray, covering the local area including Strathspey, the Moray Firth and Inverness-shire.  Please see our website for details of what we can offer you, including fine canvas prints of some of our images which make ideal gifts.  Also, why not keep up to date with our sightings and photos on our Facebook page.  All photos on this page are copyright Mike Crutch/A9Birds.


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