Seasonal Snow and Unseasonably Warm

It’s nearly Christmas – and, more importantly for the wildlife, nearly the winter solstice when the year turns and the days start getting longer. But, given it is the festive season, let’s have some snowy pictures.  

The road to the visitor centre was very slippery...but the trees were beautiful!

The road to the visitor centre was very slippery…but the trees were beautiful!

 Monday was most unexpected. It had been (and still is) mild and wet, apart from on Monday night when we had a sudden fall of 6 inches of snow. All the trees were coated with it. 

Snowy lichens

Snowy lichens

The first job of the day is to scrape the path to the toilets.

The first job of the day is to scrape the path to the toilets.

No matter which one you choose, it'll be snowy....

No matter which one you choose, it’ll be snowy….

The woods just seem to turn monochrome in the snow. It’s a silent black-and-white world. 

The way through the woods...

The way through the woods…

Snow has coated every branch

Snow has coated every branch

Snowy view across to Loch Kinord

Snowy view across to Loch Kinord

The snow has even coated the wire and fenceposts

The snow has even coated the wire and fence posts

Rabbits look dark against a snowy background. In the deep snow, often all you can see is two ears!

Snow bunnies

Snow bunnies

Their tracks are everywhere. So which way was this one going? From top to bottom of picture-or bottom to top?

Rabbit tracks

Rabbit tracks. It was travelling from bottom to top of the picture. The larger hind feet land in front of the small front feet when rabbits hop.

Splashes of colour come almost as a shock to the senses. The holly berries look impossibly scarlet against the snow. 

The red berries of the holly are one of the few colours in the woods

The red berries of the holly are one of the few colours in the woods

 Some pink peeping through the branches resolves itself into a redpoll, feeding on birch catkins.

The redpolls are a splash of colour in an otherwise monochrome woodland

The redpolls are a splash of colour in an otherwise monochrome woodland

Redpoll

Redpoll

 While a treecreeper forages on the underside of a branch. They have to feed there as the top side of the branch is deeply covered with snow.

Treecreeper foraging on the not-snowy underside of the branches

Treecreeper foraging on the not-snowy underside of the branches

 And a wren scrambles around a birch trunk, alert for any insect.

Wren on snowy tree

Wren on snowy tree

 Loch Kinord was almost totally frozen, for the first time this year. 

Loch Kinord is mostly frozen

Loch Kinord is mostly frozen

Looking west over Kinord

Looking west over Kinord

A combination of the wind and snow snapped a birch tree over the track. But that’s what chainsaws are for! 

A tree had snapped off over the path

A tree had snapped off over the path

All cleared up

All cleared up

And then….it turned mild and wet again! It’s been 10 to14 degrees Centigrade here for the rest of the week and really doesn’t feel like December. All the snow vanished inside two days and the lochs are really high with the snowmelt and added rain. 

The rain moving in over Loch Davan

The rain moving in over Loch Davan

These trees aren't normally in the water

These trees aren’t normally in the water

Loch Davan is high just now

Loch Davan is high just now

 The oaks are confused. Always last to lose their leaves, there are still a couple that look autumnal…..and one tree still has quite a bit of green in its leaves.  

A confused oak tree

A confused oak tree

Still-green oak leaves

Still-green oak leaves

There has been the odd glimmer of sun but it gets dark so early when it’s overcast. These pines were photographed about half past one in the afternoon. Daylight? What daylight? 

Scots pines in poor light

Scots pines in poor light

With the holidays approaching, we’re sorting out our winter opening hours. The walks, car park and toilets will be open all the time (barring fire, flood and emergency) and the visitor centre will be open on the days shown here. 

Christmas opening hours

Christmas opening hours

And finally-as it’s Christmas- here’s the obligatory robin photo! This bold fellow was following us around the loch, in the hope we’d disturb something he could eat. 

On the lookout for grub

On the lookout for grub

Merry Christmas and all the best for 2016!

 

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