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Monday, 3rd June. I spent my final morning at Avielochan, on my way to Inverness Airport. The Grant Arms Hotel, where I had been staying for the four previous nights, has a hide there for the exclusive use of its guests, and indeed ask you that if the little car park already has its capacity of five cars to come back later. I was fortunate in that I was the only person in the hide for the full 90 minutes I was there.

I was fortunate also to have shelter – it was drizzling when I arrived, and for nearly all the time I was there. This was the general view from near the hide as I arrived.

Avielochan was another place where there was to be the chance of seeing Slavonian grebes, though, sadly, again they were not in evidence. But I enjoyed my morning, obsserving a variety of more common birds, some of which are featured below. For a short while, not long enough to get my camera to it, I caught sight of an osprey flying around against the background of the hills opposite.

Greylag geese were in abundance.
So were gulls of various kinds.
Hmm, there was a lapwing on the bank a few seconds ago.
Young ducklings – goldeneye I think.
Female Goldeneye
Great black-backed gull taking off
Willow warbler (?) in nearby tree
Greylag geese in parallel formation
About turn!
And I couldn’t resist taking this little video of the three adults and goodness-knows-how-many goslings.
Mallard
The greylag goose is all ready to start conducting the piece, but the choir is not watching. Heads in copies as usual.
Goldeneye taking off …
… in flight …
and landing.
Gulls enjoying the wind. I’m glad someone was.

There was short path beyond the hide, but I didn’t say long. By now I was perishingly cold, even though the rain had temporarily stopped.

And in the event, this was all I saw of the Slavonian grebes.

Despite the weather, and despite the underlying sadness over the very recent loss of my lovely Lulu, I did enjoy my short stay in the Cairngorms National Park. The hotel was a friendly, welcoming place and made me feel very comfortable and looked-after, which I’m sure helped my general satisfaction at the mini-holiday. But I was happy to get home to Bella in the early evening. I feel pretty sure I shall return to Grantown-on-Spey before too long.