Snow and Storms

In spite of the cataclysmic weather we’d been promised this week, it’s not been too bad in the end. I think the east of the country has definitely escaped the worst of it. Monday was a lovely day and we got some nice views of the wildfowl on the lochs. The wigeon were all happily whistling to one another, while this female had a wash and brush-up.

 A pair of wigeon; she's preening, making herself look attractive....but he knows he's gorgeous already!

A pair of wigeon; she’s preening, making herself look attractive….but he knows he’s gorgeous already!

Mallards are the typical park duck; you often see them in town scrounging bread on park ponds. It’s easy to forget how wild and handsome a duck they really are.

Mallard ducks

Mallard ducks

The tiny teal also put in a relatively rare appearance. Oh, you hear them all the time, and often see a few, drifting in and out the reeds, but you don’t often see them sitting in the open. Probably because they’re so tiny – lots of things can eat them.

A pair of teal loafing at the edge of the loch

A pair of teal loafing at the edge of the loch

After Monday, the weather soon changed and we’ve had quite a few sleety or snowy showers during the rest of the week. The promised “weather bomb” on Wednesday didn’t come to much, I’m glad to say, and we had some glimmers of sun between the snow showers.

Bad weather? What bad weather? It's a nice sunrise....

Bad weather? What bad weather? It’s a nice sunrise….

....but it's getting a lot darker....

….but it’s getting a lot darker….

...and here comes the snow!

…and here comes the snow!

By Thursday, we had some proper snow- about 3″ of the squeaky, creaky, sticky good-for-making-snowmen snow. And it looks like there’s a lot more in the hills.

Brrrr! Looks cold up there!

Brrrr! Looks cold up there!

It has been pretty cold too – according to our weather station, the top temperature this week has been 3.6 degrees Centigrade. Its been cold enough for some snow to lie even close to the edges of the loch.

Swan feeding at edge of loch

Swan feeding at edge of the loch. You can just see the snow beside it.

The cold weather has driven more small tortoiseshell butterflies inside in search of places to hibernate. We had to evict this one, with some difficulty, from the leaflet dispenser into the much colder garage.

Product placement? Small Tortoiseshell advertising Butterfly Conservation and Cairngorms Biodiversity

Product placement? Small Tortoiseshell advertising Butterfly Conservation and Cairngorms Biodiversity!

It’s also getting pretty dark early now….it’s really quite gloaming by 3pm. But it does give you the chance to get arty with slow shutter speeds on the camera in the Vat! give it a try if you’ve a tripod- or somewhere to sit the camera- just nowhere it’ll fall into the water!

Vat waterfall in low light

Vat waterfall in low light

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