Warm and Wet

Well, that’s the end of March and a quarter of the year gone. Did anyone else blink and miss it? Surely, now it’s coming into April, it’s safe to take the winter tyres off the car? You’d have thought so on Monday, it was as glorious a spring day as you’ll see anywhere – Loch Kinord looked utterly idyllic, lying flat and still under a blazing blue sky. It even got up to 21 degrees!

Paradise?

Feeling hot hot hot!

The only thing disturbing the peace were the graylag geese. They are still pairing up- noisily- and their honking carries all the way across the loch.

The greylags are pairing off- noisily.

This pair look absolutely placid, sailing serenely through the calm water. Don’t believe it- the second another pair get too close, they turn into hissing, honking, neck-stretching, pecking monsters!

Loch Kinord, looking idyllic

It’s even been so warm and dry we had to put up high fire risk signs early in the week. This is a “rain dance” activity, guaranteed to make the weather break…and it was indeed raining by Friday.

High fire risk at the start of the week….rain by the end.

The adders were lapping up the sun early in the week, with seven males but no females seen on Monday. However, the females appeared by the middle of the week, so skin shedding and mating must be imminent.

Snuggling snakes- sharing warmth

female adder

Spot the adder? There’s one, out in the open, and another you can only see a few inches of. We’ll be dead impressed if you can spot that one!

This adder had decided to sunbathe in a decidedly odd position. The back half of his body is flat on the ground, as you’d expect, but the front half was extended vertically up a rock. He seemed comfy enough though, he was still there, in the same position, when I passed again about an hour later.

Adder “on end”- an unusual basking position

There are still toads everywhere, wandering about in search of a mate and apparently oblivious to danger. The herons and otters (and anything else that eats toads) make a real killing at this time of year – it’s a froggy, toady banquet for them. We’ve seen several herons hunting round the lochs or even  lumbering gracelessly away from woodland pools.

Heron fishing for frogs by Loch Kinord

The leaves aren’t really bursting yet but the willow catkins are ripe now. We think of them as “pussy willows” when they’re at the grey, silky stage but they soon ripen with yellow pollen and the whole tree can look yellowish. Sorry, hay fever sufferers, the willows and the daffs are the start of it.

Willow catkins

The lapwings are well ensconced in the Old Kinord fields. We had at least 14 birds last week, so hopefully that means at least 7 pairs will breed here. Their “peewit” calls as the display and tumble are one of the sounds of spring.

The lapwing are displaying over the Old Kinord fields

We’ve now finished heather burning for the year. We might have tried for another day this week, but the high fire risk put paid to that – it would not be sensible to light up the moor in those conditions! Though it looks devastating, this will, in the long term, benefit the heath and the species that live here by burning off the dense, overly shading heather.

Burnt heather- we’re finished burning for the year.

But the fine weather was good for some other jobs, like getting the viewpoint painted. Not the worst place in the world to work, on a fine day….though it could just have been the varnish fumes making us happy.

Early season jobs

Speaking of being happy – this may make you smile. It’s our “…and finally” article – you know the sort, the kind they bung on at the end of the news to try and convince you that it’s not all depressing. It usually involves pets, like skateboarding spaniels or a cat that meows the national anthem. Well, our is a clearly computer-generated addressing error…and no, the office isn’t all that bad!

Flushed with success….?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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