We’ve had some spectacular sunrises this week. The skies have been mostly clear, which has made for cold nights and mild days. And the sunrises, oh, the sunrises, have painted the skies in pinks and golds.
At this time of year, on the slightly misty mornings, the light seems to flow, slow and gold, into all the hollows and hidden places. The sun touches the hills a good 15-20 minutes before it reaches the lochs.
When it’s misty like it was today, you can look directly at the sun. Normally, that’s not advisable- at best you’ll get purple spots in your vision for ages, at worst you’ll damage your eyes. But today was one of those rare days when you can see the golden ball that is out nearest star rise over the loch. Kind of odd, in a way, to see something as tiny as teal in the foreground and as something big as a star in the background.
Last weekend’s snow melted rapidly this week. It always looks sad when it goes, all mucky and patchy. But at least folk had been having fun while it lasted!
The wind hasn’t done too much damage, we’re glad to say. We’ve only found one, not-very-large tree that needed cleared up.
In spite of the cold weather, the wildlife has sensed the year turn and there are signs of spring creeping in. The mistle thrushes are in good voice already, and great tits are prospecting for nest holes.
We also heard our first woodpeckers drumming today (20th Jan). The males are already marking out their territories, often using a dead or hollow tree for extra sound.
However, some other birds are concentrating of feeding, rather than thinking about breeding yet. Small flocks of bullfinch can often be seen, picking their way through the frost-blackened remains of the rowan berries.
Wrens, too, are just concentrating on survival. You have to, when you only weigh about 10 grams. But, in spite of its tiny size, the wren is the king of birds in several mythologies and its Dutch name is winterkoninkje, the little winter king.
Another bird that features in a lot of mythology is the raven. We don’t often see these here, but a “quork, qourk” call heralded a fly-past by the UK’s biggest crow.
We’ve been taking advantage of the reasonable weather to get a few jobs done out on-site. One of these is starting to dispose of the big pile of wire that Duncan has been clearing up. We’ve spent what feels like far too much time loading it onto the trailer. It’s horrible stuff- anything it can catch on, it will, and does, and it takes forever to separate. Still, we’re getting there…and I, for one, will be delighted to see the back of it. But it is nice to know that no more deer or owls will die on now-defunct fencing….no matter how many times we curse it!