Is it Spring Yet?

We’ve had some lovely days– a series of beautiful, clear frosty mornings have made for spectacular sunrises and lovely moonsets. 

Sunrise over Loch Kinord

Sunrise over Loch Kinord

It's no hardship opening up on mornings like this!

It’s no hardship opening up on mornings like this!

A frost sunrise

A frosty sunrise

Gibbous, waning....the moon is setting behind the pines.

Gibbous, waning….the moon setting behind the pines.

The reserve has felt like an episode of “Springwatch” this week. All the birds and wildlife seem to be coming to life during the warm days. But the nights are still cold and we’ve seem a 16 degree temperature difference from day to night, with it being down to – 4oC at sunrise but a pleasant 12oC during the day. This still hasn’t been enough to defrost the lochs though- Loch Kinord is still completely frozen. 

Cold nights mean the lochs are still frozen

Cold nights mean the lochs are still frozen

But elsewhere there are plenty of signs of spring. I do wonder if these are a bit premature – but try telling that to the great tits! These are the most obvious bird in the woods right now, with their repetitive “teacher, teacher” calls. They are hunting for nest holes and displaying to potential mates everywhere right now. And the blackbirds are singing as well…

Great tit

Great tit

Blackbird singing from the treetops

Blackbird singing from the treetops

…and the lapwings are back in their fields by Old Kinord as well….another sure sign of spring.

The lapwing are back in the Old Kinord fields

The lapwing are back in the Old Kinord fields

The great -spotted woodpeckers are also thinking breeding thoughts. The warm days have inspired the males to start drumming…often on dead or rotten trees for extra resonance.

The drummer - a great-spotted woodpecker displaying

The drummer – a great-spotted woodpecker displaying

Really dead trees are an excellent source of food and the can be literally picked to bits by woodpeckers hunting for grub in the dead wood. 

Still standing- just.

Still standing- just.

They’re not the only ones displaying. The mute swans are really starting to get territorial about things now. This pair were in full display at some teal, which were ignoring them completely. I’m surprised they bothered- a teal is so tiny they’d never be any threat.

Under sail-  the mute swans are starting to get protective of "their" territory.

Under sail- the mute swans are starting to get protective of “their” territory.

A nice surprise on Wednesday (11th Feb) was the reappearance of the adders. There were three basking in the warmth at midday. Can you spot them? There are two just to the left of my shadow, where I’m pointing, and another just beyond my right elbow.

Can you spot the three adders?

Can you spot the three adders?

In close up - the adders are still cold and not hugely willing to move

In close up – the adders are still cold and not hugely willing to move

At least one of these had just newly emerged. You can see the dust stuck in between his scales on his head, probably from where he’s crawled out of an old rabbit burrow for the first time since last October.

A  sandy snake - this adder still has earth from his underground lair stuck to his head.

A sandy snake – this adder still has earth from his underground lair stuck to his head.

Away from the wildlife, we managed to get a little more heather burning done….not helped by a rare, completely still day. Still, every little helps.

Lighting up!

Lighting up!

And if you’ve been at the Burn o vat this week, you may have wondered what’s going on, as there have been diggers around. We’ve been extending a ditch to stop the cap park flooding after heavy rain- so hopefully no more blogs will feature me in a puddle of to the top of my wellies!

Not the usual sort of cat you'd expect to find in the woods...

Not the usual sort of cat you’d expect to find in the woods…

 

 

 

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