Fine or Foggy

It’s been a week of contrasts. If you were on the reserve Monday or Tuesday, you’d think it was one of the best and most beautiful places on this earth. Anything later in the week, and you wouldn’t even have seen it! Thick fog has crept in and it’s only now that there’s enough of a breeze to disperse it….but it’s grey and wet now. Therefore most of the pictures are from the first two days!

Golden birch

Golden birch

Aspens go the most vivid golden colour

Aspens go the most vivid golden colour

Spectacular golden trees are growing fewer as the days pass. The leaves are falling fast now and autumn is definitely slipping towards winter.

The trees are fairly starting to lose their leaves

The trees are fairly starting to lose their leaves

Some of the birches are quite bare now

Some of the birches are quite bare now

The straight, grey trunks of the aspens are growing more obvious as the leaves fall.

Golden aspens, fast losing their leaves

Golden aspens, fast losing their leaves

P1030350But, even now, in autumn, there are signs of next year’s growth and life. The hazel leaves have turned gold, but look closer- in among them are next year’s catkins. The form in the autumn and will open in the early spring, probably February, before the new leaves burst open.

This autumn's leaves with next year's catkins

This autumn’s leaves with next year’s catkins

While walking by the loch on Monday, we were in for a real treat. There had been rumours of another great white egret in the area, and winging its way towards us, there it was! After a few moments flustering (and a quick mental checklist of big white birds (Gull? Too big. Swan? Wrong shape. Egret!), we managed to get the camera out and catch it winging past in a leisurely fashion. Great white egrets, like many of the heron species, are being seen far more commonly in the UK- they even breed in Somerset now- and this may be a sign of global warming.

An unusual visitor - a great white egret

An unusual visitor – a great white egret

Looking magnificent in flight

Looking magnificent in flight

It certainly felt like global warming this week- just short of 18 degrees on Monday…in November! Warmest I can ever remember for this time of year here.

Nearly 18 degrees on 2nd November!

Nearly 18 degrees on 2nd November!

The lochs were flat calm, yet again. This calmness has made for beautiful days when the sun has been out but has meant the fog during the rest of the week just hasn’t shifted.

Tall, straight aspen trees

Loch Kinord

It's hard to know which way's up when the loch is this calm

It’s hard to know which way’s up when the loch is this calm

The trees are still gold- but are getting barer

The trees are still gold- but are getting barer

Most of the ripples on the lochs are caused by the ducks. The swans have done well, with four good-sized youngsters in tow.

The swans have done well raising 4 cygnets...though only two would stay in the shot!

The swans have done well raising 4 cygnets…though only three would stay in the shot!

And the wigeon are moulting back into their winter finery.

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

Wigeon

We also bid a sad farewell to Paul this week. Many thanks for all his hard work and we’ve all enjoyed his amazing photos in the blog, so I’ll leave you with a few of the best!

vat burn DSC_9854 (Copy)

Fly agaric

Fly agaric

Red rowan leaves

Red rowan leaves

Every strand covered

Every strand covered

Aurora, visible near Echt

Aurora, visible near Echt

 

 

 

 

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