Frostfest – Muir of Dinnet NNR

It’s been cold this week. Very cold – minus 10 on Sunday-into-Monday night. But oh so very beautiful in the frost.  It’s been a few years since we’ve had such a prolonged cold spell and this has made for bejewelled mornings as the frost splits the sunlight into thousands of red, gold and blue lights.

The frost coasts every twig

The frost coasts every twig

Bejeweled reeds

Bejewelled reeds

Frosty birch

Frosty birch

The sunrises have been worth getting out of bed for, too. The sky was an amazing pink colour this morning during the goose count. Even the snow on Morven was tinted pale pink.

Birch trees against the sunrise

Birch trees against the sunrise

The light gradually goes pink, then gold in the mornings

The light gradually goes pink, then gold in the mornings

The snow looks pink in the sunrise

The snow looks pink in the sunrise

Mind you, it wasn’t easy to count the geese. There is hardly any unfrozen water on either of the lochs and all the birds are crammed into a very small area. We had 440 pink-footed geese and 250 greylag this morning, while there were over 240 mallard on Monday- all in an area about the size of a dozen car parking spaces.  Not to mention the fact that it was -7, so your binoculars steam up instantly when you take them to your eyes, and you can’t feel at least two of your fingers…..

Loch Davan only had a tiny bit of open water - with an awful lot of ducks in it!

Loch Davan only had a tiny bit of open water – with an awful lot of ducks in it!

All the trees round the lochs were covered in frost

All the trees round the lochs were covered in frost

The birds are easy to see in the cold. They are so intent on feeding, they don’t really care too much about you- unless you’re bringing them food. the coal tit were taking peanuts from our hands by Friday, they were so hungry. Except for the winter thrushes- they are still shy and you always get spotted by the sentinel bird- the one that sits up high watching out for sparrowhawks-or people.

Long tailed tit

Long tailed tit

Sentinel fieldfare

Sentinel fieldfare

We’ve been continuing to remove dead trees close to the paths. It’s actually ideal weather for this work….chainsaw gear doesn’t half make you sweat, even in sub-zero temperatures. The main risk is dehydration – the water out of your bottle, or even the tap, is so teeth-achingly cold, you often don’t drink enough!

The fungi are a good indication that the tree is dead or dying

The fungi are a good indication that a tree is dead or dying

We also had a visit from an old friend this week. Paul,who used to work here, popped in to say hello and to do some photography of the frost. He’s kindly shared some of these with us, and they’re spectacular. So, thanks to Paul and enjoy the frost show.

Ice in Vat burn

Ice in Vat burn

 ice on Vat burn

ice on Vat burn

All the plants in the splash zone are bedecked with ice

All the plants in the splash zone are bedecked with ice

Ice crystals

Ice crystals

Even the sphagnum moss in the bog is frozen

Even the sphagnum moss in the bog is frozen

Thick frost coasts the woodrush

Thick frost coasts the woodrush

Frost, close up

Frost, close up

The frost crystals get bigger as it stays below freezing for another day

The frost crystals get bigger as it stays below freezing for another day

Frost crystals

Frost crystals

frosty grass

frosty grass

A frosty world.

A frosty world.

Trees coasted with hoar frost, Loch Davn

Trees coasted with hoar frost, Loch Davn

Male bullfinch

Male bullfinch

Frosty reeds

Frosty reeds

Every twig is coated in ice

Every twig is coated in ice

Frosty rowans

Frosty rowans

Don't forget the robin!

Don’t forget the robin!

 

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