October’s End

A rather mixed week weather – wise and wildlife wise this week. The lochs were very quiet for birds – not many ducks to disturb the reflections on Loch Davan on Monday.

A still morning on Loch Davan

A still morning on Loch Davan

But the woodlands have been full of mixed tit flocks, all chirping and churring at one another. I managed to snatch a couple of pictures of one of the loveliest woodland birds, the long – tailed tit. These little birds are all tail….it’s much longer than their body and I’ve heard them described as “little lollipop birds”. They never stay still for long- no sooner have they settled for a picture, than they’re off.

Long tailed tit

Long tailed tit

....and picking insects off the leaves.

….and picking insects off the leaves.

The tits are foraging hard just now, bulking up for winter while the weather is still mostly mild. This great tit had his face right in among the lichens hunting for insects.

Great tit insect hunting under the lichen

Great tit insect hunting under the lichen

The robins are still singing. This one in the picture was in quite full voice for this time of year, but there were two other robins in a nearby bush. They came into “his” bush and I’m afraid the term for three robins in a bush is “an argument”. There was a real flurry of activity as he duffed the other two up and chased them off.

A robin singing

A robin singing

This week marked our first real frost. It didn’t last long but the ground was white on Wednesday morning.

Ice cap! this mushroom has a frozen "hat" today.

Ice cap! this mushroom has a frozen “hat” on Wednesday.

Frosty leaf

Frosty leaf

Still, at least it was better than Tuesday morning. But what a difference a day makes. I arrived in the morning in the pouring rain, 13 degrees centigrade, and left in lovely evening sunshine to six degrees centigrade.

What a difference a day makes! Tuesday morning.....

What a difference a day makes! Tuesday morning…..

....and Tuesday afternoon!

….and Tuesday afternoon!

The deer were taking advantage of one of the fine mornings. This roe doe was grazing quietly near Old Kinord.

Roe deer on Old iKnord fields

Roe deer on Old iKnord fields

Not so quiet are the geese. These aren’t the resident greylags, but migratory pinkfeet passing overhead. There has been a steady stream of them heading south all week.

Pinkfeet heading south

Pinkfeet heading south

Away for the wildlife, it’s maintenance season. Time for all those jobs, conservation or visitor related, you don’t have time to do over the summer. Here, we’re taking down a not-very-well tree that was too close to the track. The tree was ok, but not the mosquitoes – they were out in surprising force for this time of year. I suppose we haven’t had many frosts but wound up with bites that suggested, against all probability, that Dinnet mozzies can bite through kevlar chainsaw trousers.

Clearing up a dead tree by the path

Clearing up a dead tree by the path

We’ve mentioned “interesting” litter before and, while tree cutting, found a large silver “1” shaped balloon. Now, balloon litter can be a problem….helium balloons can travel for miles and wind up anywhere. So we picked it up and bundled it into the land rover….but it wasn’t properly deflated. Remember the scene in a famous British comedy when the blow-up dolls popped up in the back of a yellow Reliant Regal? It was a bit like that! We had to burst the balloon with the only sharp thing we had –the chainsaw- so it wasn’t obscuring the back view. At least it gave us all a laugh!

You the one I DON'T want!

You the one I DON’T want!

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