Spent five days in the Great Glen, staying on the south shore of Loch Lochy. Passed through Pitlochry on the way up and popped into the Cuilc to see the smart drake Ring-necked Duck. A lovely bird, hanging out in this very picturesque spot with ten Tufties. Didn't do much birding in the Highlands, but saw a fine immature Golden Eagle up Glen Roy on 30th December. The real highlight was seeing the Northern Lights on New Years Eve between 11.30pm and 12.15am. It got really good at about 11.55pm with vertical curtains appearing. It was all bright enough to light up the snow on the mountains across the loch - simply stunning. We got Addie up to have a look but we couldn't wake Sol sadly.
Headed back south on the 3rd and stopped off at Caerlaverock WWT which I hadn't visited since I was about 14. c2000 Pink-feet in the fields nearby, with c500 Barnacle Geese and 100 Whooper Swans providing a wonderful spectacle. A first winter drake Ring-necked Duck (brown feathering along the upper flanks) was on one of the lakes and nearby, a drake Green-winged Teal was kipping on an island in Folly Pond. A lovely way to spend Christmas week and we even got a bit of snow up Aonach Mor on New Year's Day!