November Rains

A mostly wet week on the reserve – Thursday and Friday were most unpleasant, so most pictures were taken on the fine days!

A small flock, or charm, of goldfinches seem to have taken up residence in and around the teasel fields. Their fine, pointed beaks are ideal for teasing seeds from teasel heads! They tend to fly up into the trees (like this bird) as you walk past but are back feeding very quickly.

Goldfinch

Goldfinch

There are quite good numbers of bullfinches around just now as well. They are picking their way through the rowan trees, eating any of the dried-up berries that the thrushes have missed.

Male bullfinch, eating dried- up rowan berries

Male bullfinch, eating dried- up rowan berries

You often see, or at least hear, wrens in the woods. In spite of their small size, they have a big attitude and will often pop up and “machine gun” you with their churring call.

Wren

Wren

Even the sunnier days have had some rain. Still, at least that means the occasional nice rainbow!

A sign of the times - 27 whooper swans on Loch Davan, starting to move north

Rainbow over Loch Davan

Wednesday morning was cold and clear. Morven, the big hill which overlooks the reserve, had the very first, faintest sprinkle of snow on it that morning…but we didn’t have any on the reserve itself.

The first sprinkle of snow on the tops

The first touch of snow on the tops

Away from the wildlife, it’s been yet another busy week, cutting firebreaks and dead trees off path edges. We’re also planning for next summer already- two new picnic tables have arrived to replace the now tatty – looking ones we have here. These need a lick of paint before they go out though, and it’s a tight squeeze in the garage just now while the first one dries off!

The first coat- painting the new picnic tables

The first coat- painting the new picnic tables

We were also started to hear something rustling around in the visitor centre on Wednesday. Closer inspection turned up this very late small tortoiseshell butterfly, clearly looking for somewhere to hibernate. These usually overwinter, often in outbuildings, and emerge with the warmer weather in the spring. However, the centre is not a great place to hibernate as it’s too warm to properly slow their metabolism. So we carefully caught it and evicted it into our absolutely freezing and smelling-of-paint garage, in the hope it’ll survive there for the winter and reappear in five months or so.

You can't hibernae in here! Small tortoiseshell captured for removal to garage.

You can’t hibernate in here! Small tortoiseshell captured for removal to garage.

 

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