Finally, finally, we’ve seen some sun. It’s been a long time coming and much needed by a world still reeling from the worst flooding in our generation. We started the week as we finished the last one, still mostly underwater. The Kinord route was, and still is, impassable at the moment due to flooding on (mostly) the north and south shore. We’d advise against walking this route at the moment.
The car park was also half flooded on Monday. As of Friday, this has all turned to ice-take extreme care if visiting.
The dark skies were promising more rain on Tuesday.
The wildlife hasn’t been finding all this wet weather easy either. The peanut feeder has been in high demand.
But….some good news! As of Fri 15th Jan, we’ve been able to reopen the toilets. We’ll keep an eye on these, to see if the soakaway can cope with the still-high water table and public use, but we’re hopeful that it will. However, apologies in advance if it’s still too wet and we have to close them.
Due to the lack of loos, I’ve been helping out at Forvie NNR. It couldn’t be more different to Dinnet, with 1000 hectares of sand dunes, cliffs, coastal heath and the Ythan Estuary. But it’s one of the best wildlife sites in the north-east of Scotland and the place where I started my conservation career, as a volunteer warden. This week has marked the start of summer at Forvie- work has begun to prepare the ternery for the birds returning from March onwards.
While heading for the ternery, we found this bench washed up on the beach. If it’s yours, contact the reserve office and they’ll be delighted to reunite you.
We can only assume the floods were responsible for the arrival of another visitor to Forvie- a chainsaw carved red squirrel!
I don’t think the robin quite knew what to make of him….
Forvie has a huge seal haul-out at the mouth of the Ythan, but you can find lone seals hauled out anywhere on the beach. They sometimes haul out right at the top of the beach, which can look alarmingly far from the sea. We often get calls about this but usually the seals will just be waiting for the tide to come to them at next high tide. It’s very rare that are actually ill or need any attention.
One creature which did need rescuing was this guillemot. Like the little auks of a week back, it was exhausted and underweight after the storms. We’ve handed it to an animal rescue centre and hopefully it will be okay after food and a rest.
The wind has carved the dunes into some fantastic shapes.
This rock pipit was having a good rummage in the tideline debris for food.
Once we made it back out to Dinnet, it was to a different world. There’s still a lot of water and the paths are still flooded, but everything is frozen or in the process of freezing. It’s a bit frustrating as it will slow the water draining away, but the snow does look beautiful.
However, the cold weather comes with a warning for ice- all the wet places on the reserve will freeze. If you are walking, this will mean it’s very slippery or the ice could break and drop you into several inches of freezing water. We’re not advising the Kinord path for this reason and there are large puddles on other paths too.
The snow has revealed overnight visitors.
Away from the lochs, the Vat path is passable but rough due to water damage. There has been a great deal of sand deposited in the Vat due to the floods. Mind, you, they’re not as impressive as Forvie’s sand dunes!