Blowing a Hoolie – Muir of Dinnet NNR

Well, the title says it all. It’s been a windy week and right now, I’m almost wondering what the silence is. Ah, yes, that’ll be the lack of howling gale roaring round your ears, for a change. Almost inevitably, we had a few trees down in the wind but most had the courtesy to fall away from the path. Those that didn’t – well, that’s why we’ve got a chainsaw and Mr Tirfy Wirfy the Winch (look, if the British Antarctic Survey can have a submersible called Boaty McBoatface, we can have winch called Mr Tirfy Wirfy, all right?). And thanks to Daryl, too for, helping get these cleared up.

Attaching the winch

Tree work -this way!

I was quite glad we weren’t putting up the goldeneye boxes in the worst of the gale…and that Daryl and Simon are both a foot taller than me for getting these into the trees. let’s hope that something – goldeneye or other birds like owls or stock doves – come and nest in them.

Putting up goldeneye boxes

It’s generally been a mild winter – not every day, more of that later – but that may well mean that spring comes early. Some of the trees, like hazels, already have catkins open, but it’s striking how different these are on different parts of the reserve. Compare and contrast these hazel catkins from a cool shady spot and a lovely sheltered sunny area.

Hazel catkins -not open yet.

The hazel catkins open in the sunnier spots

However, when the wind drops and the skies clear, we are getting some hard frosts. It is January, after all! Plants like ivy, that can provide cover and food through the winter are really important for wildlife.  If you look closely at it, you’ll notice the young leaves are three-lobed, while the mature, ‘adult’ leaves are, well, leaf-shaped.

Young ivy leaves

Ivy buds

Ivy on fallen tree – lots of hidey-holes for insects

The birds are super-hungry in the cold. The peanut feeder had been the subject of a tit feeding frenzy most days, with blue, coal, great and long-tailed tits all being seen on the feeder at once.

At least 8 tits on the feeder

Coal tits

We’ll leave you this week with some frosty pictures from around Loch Davan. Appropriate, given this is the Year of Coasts and Waters….as well as being fantastic places for wildlife, wetlands can be absolutely beautiful too.

 

 

Rainbow reflections on frosty heather

Frost crystals

Frost crystals in close up

frost crystals in close-up

All the twigs in the splash zone are iced

Ice at edge of loch

frosty Davan

Frosty twigs

Frost rushes

Frosty Davan

Whooper swans and ducks standing on the ice

 

 

 

 

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