Typical Scotland, typical February. Fourteen degrees and sunny on Monday, very pleasant and spring-like….and then minus two and 4 inches of snow by Friday. It was really warm at the start of the week and the adders were out enjoying the sun.
They are incredibly hard to spot in the bracken. Even we, who are used to them and look for them, don’t see them sometimes and I nearly trod on this male when I went to retrieve some litter from the bracken.
There were quite a few blustery showers early in the week, with the wind whipping short, sharp showers across the reserve. But these combined with the sun made for some spectacular rainbows.
A lot of the birds are thinking breeding thoughts now. Mistle thrushes, song thrushes, great tits, blue tits, treecreepers and chaffinches were all singing in the first half of the week.
The mute swans are getting increasingly aggressive as they push rivals or young birds out of their territories. The last year’s cygnets were not being allowed to settle on Loch Davan and were being repeatedly chased by the resident males.
A couple of the swans on Loch Kinord just now have probably been pushed off a park pond or somewhere there are lots of people. They don’t seem wild and wary like the other swans, but are hanging around close to the bank and look like they’re used to being fed. “What have you got in your sandwiches? Go on, give us a bit.” But, unfortunately, bread for a swan is a bit like booze or chocolate for us- it’s so-o awfully fine but not good for you at all.
Midweek, a suspicious-looking stain on the ceiling sent us into the loft to look for leaks. It seems dry up there but who’s poo is this? We get mouse and bat poo in the loft, both live up there, but this looks like stoat poo. I’ve heard of having bats in the belfry, but stoats in the attic…?
It was nice to see one of our rarer and more obscure specialities putting in an appearance this week too. We found a couple of capsules of green shield moss by the Vat Burn. It’s a very rare, very fussy moss which only grows on very rotten wood that stays wet all the time. We don’t see it every year but it’s nice to know it’s still hanging on.
It’s a good job we found it on Wednesday. It would have been covered with several inches of snow, after “Doris “day on Thursday. The reserve looked a very different place by the end of the week, a winter wonderland of crisp, fresh snow. It’s starting to melt rapidly by now – late Friday -but, if you come to the reserve this weekend, make sure you have good boots- it’ll be wet for a few days to come once this all melts off!