Sunrises and Soggy Bogs

It’s easy to feel sad and angry as you walk through this world.  The events in Paris have brought home how often innocent people die as a result of other people, be it there, Beirut, Africa, on a ‘plane or elsewhere. And it’s affected people- I’ve noticed that a lot of the people in the centre have mentioned it. It makes you extra grateful for your family, your generally comfortable life, your normally peaceful country…and for the fantastic sunrises we’ve been having this week.

Sunrise from the viewpoint

Sunrise from the viewpoint

Sun up

Sun up

Sunrise through the trees

Sunrise through the trees

The pine trees glow in the morning light. I don’t know what it is about pines, but they almost seem to generate their own light when the golden or pink light of morning and evening hits them.

Golden light on pine trees

Golden light on pine trees

Mind you, the clear mornings have meant some cold days. The temperature hasn’t risen above 3 degrees today (Friday) and it’s damp too…which always feels much colder than dry, sunny but equally cold days.

Frosty leaf

Frosty leaf

The trees are almost all bare now. You can see all their branches, picked out against the sky.

Almost all of the birches are bare now

Almost all of the birches are bare now

Bare birch

Bare birch

We’ve been back on the bog this week….Parkin’s Moss, that is! The dams needed a check- over and one of the new ones had burst. The dams are made of recycled plastic piles which slot together with a sort of tongue-and-groove arrangement….and one of these had popped out. We’d never manage to pull out the dam piles to replace- they are 2.5m long and hammered well into the peat- so we needed to patch it. You do this by hammering in another four dam piles just in front of the split and packing the dam gap with peat. It worked- gradually the flow slowed to a trickle, then it all went blissfully quiet. Sorted!

The Dam Un-busters!

The Dam Un-busters! Daryl celebrating a fixed dam.

We also dammed a wee side drain to stop water flowing into the big ditch.

My, that's a big hammer you've got there....putting in a new dam on a side drain

My, that’s a big hammer you’ve got there….putting in a new dam on a side drain

And the dams seem to be doing their job and wetting up the bog nicely. Let’s hope for lots of dragonfly action next year….

Dam fine! The fixed dam is holding water well

Dam fine! The fixed dam is holding water well

Down on the lochs, there are still a few whooper swans hanging about. We’ve had seven, usually roosting on the spit at the mouth of the Logie Burn.

Winter visitors heading north- whooper swans

Whooper swans

The male wigeon are looking handsome just now. That yellow forehead is very distinctive and they were one of the first ducks (other than mallards) that I learned to identify. I’ve had a soft spot for them, their yellow foreheads and lovely whistling call ever since!

Male wigeon

Male wigeon

And the great white egret is still around- although it’s been very elusive. Most views have been in the depth of the reeds.

Great White Egret

Great White Egret

Although we’ve had some grand sunrises, the sunsets haven’t been so spectacular- often it’s clouded over by sundown. But we did have one nice sunset, so we’ll leave you with the sun setting over the hills to the west from the reserve. It’s a lot nicer than the sleet- cum- wet -snow that’s just started to fall…

Sunset over the hills to the west

Sunset over the hills to the west

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