After we’d had our three days in the black grouse hides we gave ourselves the luxury of a lie-in (in relative terms).
Setting our alarm for 6am we scoured the local moorland for red grouse. These birds are often found close to roads in the early hours of the morning before dispersing further into the heather during the day. The males use boulders to give them extra height to survey their territories and call to ward-off rivals. The golden-flecked females are quite hard to spot as they skulk in the heather.
For our last day in the Cairngorms we had a long lie-in and decided on some late afternoon photography. We went in search of mountain hares and managed to find several that were sticking out like sore thumbs in their winter plumage without any snow cover. They were just starting to turn into their brown & blue-grey summer coats.
On our way home from the Cairngorms, we spent a short while in Alan McFadyen’s hide, hoping to see a cuckoo. We had really close views of a male bird who posed nicely for our cameras.