A Changing Climate

Our climate is changing. There’s a conference in Paris about it right now, although it’s been somewhat swamped by other news this week. It’s not always the easiest subject to discuss- it’s hard to put over without sounding like a doom-laden elder god telling off their errant flock or sounding sanctimonious and preachy…switch off the lights or polar bears will die! So what can we do about it? It there any point, with the world population on a seemingly suicidal upward trend…and overpopulation being the last great taboo, the one no-one will talk about, in spite of it being the root cause of so many of the world’s problems? It would be too easy to think, “well, there’s nothing we can do about it, so might as well get another beer in”.

Well, yes. There is something we can do. There is stuff we are doing. Get another beer in, by all means (there’s always room for beer), and don’t necessarily resort to Larkin’s “get out as early as you can / and don’t have kids yourself” strategy, but I’m sure lots of people are doing their bit. Stuff like recycling has become everyday – how often do you bin a tin, rather than recycle it? Here on the NNRs, we are lucky in that we can carry out  work that contributes directly to climate change mitigation….did you see our dams on Parkin’s Moss a couple of weeks back? This will help the bog to “wet up”, favouring the growth of things like Sphagnum mosses. But bogs being wet is important, as vegetation in wet places doesn’t decompose- and all decomposing stuff produces carbon dioxide, which is a greenhouse gas. So bogs and wetlands store up lots of carbon, which slows global warming.

Dam fine! The fixed dam is holding water well

Dammed ditch, Parkin’s Moss

Mind you, some days it feels like the climate can change within a day. It was 11 degrees on Tuesday morning- I was working without a jacket first thing- but had to scrape ice off the car to go home. The rain moved off and the clear skies meant the temperature plummeted.

Ever noticed you're just about to get wet?

Ever noticed you’re just about to get wet?

The cold clear mornings have made for frosty dawns…..

Frosty hazel leaf

Frosty hazel leaf

Frosty foxglove leaf

Frosty foxglove leaf

Frosty oak leaves

Frosty oak leaves

…a thin skin of ice on the lochs…

Davan, with a skin of ice starting to form

Davan, with a skin of ice starting to form

Kinord, with slight skim of ice

Kinord, with slight skim of ice

….and yet more spectacular sunrises.

Birches against the sunrise

Birches against the sunrise

Sunrise over Loch Kinord

Sunrise over Loch Kinord

Sunrise from viewpoint

Sunrise from viewpoint

But the cold hasn’t been helpful for our pathworks. We’re getting some of the muddier sections of the path surfaced, but the cold has frozen the ton bags of surfacing as hard as concrete. They’ll have to wait until Jack Frost loosens his grip on the reserve.

Ton bags of path surfacing

Ton bags of path surfacing

Our attempts to count the local geese have been laughable this week. The little feathery so-and-sos haven’t been coming in until it’s pitch black (and you can’t count geese on call…sounds like “quite a lot” isn’t very scientific) and have been getting up when (you’ve guessed it) it’s still pitch black. Best estimate is about 120 greylags roosting on each loch. I’m sure these were sniggering, not honking, as they flew over.

Geese high over Morven

Geese high over Morven

Still, at least there was a beautiful sunrise over Morven to compensate!

Morven

Morven

Morven, with the first rays of sun touching its top

Morven, with the first rays of sun touching its top

The snow blushes pink in the morning sun

The snow blushes pink in the morning sun

In spite of it being December, a few of the oak trees are trying to fool us into thinking it’s still autumn. Looking at this picture, you could believe it! Oaks are  usually the last tree to come into leaf in the spring and the last to lose their leaves in the autumn…or winter!

Some of the oaks are holding their leaves very late this year

Some of the oaks are holding their leaves very late this year

The oaks still have leaves in December

The oaks still have leaves in December

 

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