Whilst there has been plenty of activity the last few weeks, the one thing that seemed to be lacking were single stags to challenge for the groups of hinds. I have been told by keepers that the stags stay up the hill because they know it's the shooting season. Must admit I was sceptical about this. However this morning, the last day of the stag shooting season, many more single stags appeared. Wolud never have expected them to understand the Gregorian calendar!
An early start saw me and two clients in Glengarry for 07.30, well before sunrise. With plenty of deer from below Kingie to the top end of Loch Quoich, we were spoilt for choice. We didn't see any real antler clashes, however a pair of young stags had a sparring match about 100yards from where we were watching. Plenty of bellowing and pursuit of hinds - still playing hard to get from what I was seeing today. However, with the increase in the number of stags around there may be a lot more testosterone fuelled activity to come
Other sightings this morning included woodcock shooting up from the verges (a common dawn and dusk event), a couple of young buzzards (less camera shy than the mature birds), fieldfare and my first sighting this year of goldeneye ducks on Loch Garry. This along with the usual assortment of blackbirds, mistle thrush, woodpeckers etc. Buzzards seem to be doing particularly well in the glen this year and i've regularly been seeing family groups of 4 birds or more in various locations. Also had regular sightings of a pair of kestrel since january, normally around Quoich dam. This is the first time in 20 years I've seen kestrel in the glen and i presume this was due to buzzarrds keeping them out. Hopefully a sign of the health of the glen when it can support both species.
The early morning starts are proving successful with a lot more activity at that time of day and with sunrise now after 8.00am, it's not really that much of a hardship. I'll be running the trips until the rut ends, probably around the first week in November, but there is still plenty to see and do after that and safaris will run throughout the winter. The picture at the top was taken yesterday afternoon!