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!
Spectacular golden trees are growing fewer as the days pass. The leaves are falling fast now and autumn is definitely slipping towards winter.
The straight, grey trunks of the aspens are growing more obvious as the leaves fall.
But, 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.
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.
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.
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.
Most of the ripples on the lochs are caused by the ducks. The swans have done well, with four good-sized youngsters in tow.
And the wigeon are moulting back into their winter finery.
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!