Well, we’re almost there- it’s the turn of the year over the weekend. Oh, not officially – that’s the 1st of January, obviously – but in real terms, the year turns on the winter equinox on the 21st December. That’s the shortest day and after that the days start getting longer again. Because the reserve is in a hollow in the hills, the sun drops behind them very early- this picture was taken at not much after 2:30.
A lot of the snow has gone but it’s still fairly icy here. The temperature has been up and down a lot and that has made some paths very icy – the snow has melted, then frozen again but it’s never been warm enough to totally melt it away. Surprisingly, the lochs are only frozen in sheltered bays, probably due to the wind keeping the water moving. However, in these bays, even the waves are frozen.
After saying no more than a fortnight ago how rarely you see shy bullfinches, we’ve seen quite a few lately – including just outside the visitor centre. The males are a gorgeous pink colour and posed beautifully for us in to top of a birch tree.
The bullfinches are probably being bolder as it has been pretty cold. Hunger makes wildlife more reckless than normal so you often see birds and animals more easily. Where there is a known source of food, like the peanut feeder, there is a real flurry of activity. You can check this out in this wee movie clip on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=895238870506710&set=vb.125227577507847&type=2&theater and here are a couple of pictures from Monday.
We did try and entice the squirrel closer for a picture by putting some nuts on a table near the window. However, the coal tits spotted them first and they didn’t last long after that!
It’s not just the small birds that are less wary of people just now. W startled this buzzard out of a tree near Loch Kinord. Usually you just see them soaring – or sitting on a fencepost from the car.
And finally….as it’s almost Christmas….here’s the bird that features on most Christmas cards! Robins are a real Christmas symbol, which is kind of ironic given that they’re argumentative little so-and-sos (some people will probably be thinking that’s appropriate right now!). The most likely reason is that Victorian postmen wore red jackets and were nicknamed “Robins” ….so the robin represented the posties delivering cards.
Have a happy Christmas an all the best for 2015.