Spring Signs, Soggy paths

Apologies for the slightly late blog. The water levels have now dropped to a point where we can get at the paths, so we’ve been doing a fair bit of ditching and fixing this past week….so we didn’t get round to blogging on Friday. Still, that’s the link path from Burn o Vat to Cambus o May repaired within the NNR.

Washed out path now fixed

Washed out path now fixed

The water has moved huge amounts of sand and gravel around. Scraping out the culverts and ditches was a big job. We must have shovelled a ton of sand over the course of the day, just clearing drains.

Cleaning culverts

Cleaning culverts

We were also scraping a fair bit of rubbish off the Kinord path. As the loch has dropped, a thick tideline of leaves, weeds and reeds has been left on the path. We had to scrape this away so the path could dry and so it won’t rot into slippery sludge. Thanks to Simon, Andrew and Andrew’s dad for all their hard work with this.

Clearing debris from path

Clearing debris from path

It’s not just leaves that have washed up on the tideline. This mink raft belongs about a kilometre away, on the other side of the loch, while an entire black bagful of bottles and other rubbish had also washed up.

Casualties of the flooding- mink raft and litter

Casualties of the flooding- mink raft and litter

The Vat path still need repaired – but that will take a bit longer to fix. It’ll need over 10 tons of hardcore to fill in gully washed out by the burn. Compared with so much of Deeside, we almost feel guilty there’s so little damage.

More damage to the Vat path

More damage to the Vat path

The water levels continue to drop. Compare these pictures a couple of weeks apart. You can walk round the loch again, although wellies are still advisable in a couple of places.

Flooding, Kinord route

Flooding, Kinord route

A change in water level!

A change in water level!

Wet area near Maikle Kinord just after Christmas

Wet area near Meikle Kinord just after Christmas

The water has dropped a fair bit

The same area this week

The snow has been coming and going on and off Morven all week. It’s been a bit mad, temperature wise- it was minus 8 last week and plus 12 degrees this week- a 20 degree temperature jump in six days.

Snowy Morven

Snowy Morven

Looking over Loch Davan

Looking over Loch Davan

The snow has been coming and going on Morven

The snow has been coming and going on Morven

Elsewhere, signs of spring are creeping in. It’s only to be expected- we are into February now! The hazel catkins are becoming increasingly obvious as they start to open.

Hazel catkins

Hazel catkins

The great tits are starting to feel spring-like too. This week, they have started up with their distinctive squeaky-wheel “teacher-teacher-teacher” calls.

Great tit

Great tit

And the lapwings are starting to check out the Old Kinord fields with a view to breeding. Four were hanging around the fields last week.

Lapwings

Lapwings

The goldeneye are also thinking breeding thoughts. There are dozens on Loch Kinord just now, and they have fairly started displaying to one another. All the males have started head-tossing and buzzing at the females, while the females are starting to look interested  too. The yellow bill tip on the female shows she is an adult bird and in breeding condition. So, even it it has been the wettest winter on record, spring is coming!

Goldeneye

Goldeneye

 

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