Thursday, 26 February 2015

Winter wanderings

I'm sure that to many birders it is starting to feel like a very long winter. This is certainly the case in the Scottish Highlands with frequent bouts of gales interspersed with rain, hail, sleet and snow. The sun has rarely been seen and the short daylight hours provide scant opportunity to get in the field. Trying to photograph birds has been very frustrating with generally dreadful light levels. Despite the challenging conditions I have managed to scrape together a year list of 116 and also got to see a few decent birds including a couple of white-winged gulls, two tundra bean geese, a handful of snow buntings, a water pipit, a jacksnipe and a small flock of scaup- all pretty tame in a wider British context but very welcome birds in this part of the world at this time of the year. This morning at Ardmair I saw a couple of displaying ringed plovers and there was a mini fall of 4 pied wagtails and a meadow pipit- signs that birds are returning for the as yet very distant spring! 

Bean geese (tundra) at Ardmair
Iceland gull (Achnahaird)
distant Scaup at Alturlie point
wintery scene on Slioch overlooking loch Maree