Monday, February 27, 2012

Primroses in Winter

Although Spring does not really begin until the month of March we noticed a few clumps of wild primroses flowering near the house at the side of the forest track. These plants are usually in their full glory during the month of April when they cover the roadside verges and forest floors. The weather has been unseasonably mild lately and today the temperature is 12C although there is a chill wind blowing up The Great Glen. Spring has sprung early.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Planet suite

As we looked up at the evening sky last night watching the setting sun disappear behind the mountain we were amazed by the brightness of two lights in the western sky, one much brighter than the other. Doing some research we discovered that they were in fact the planets of Venus and Jupiter, Venus being the brighter and bigger of the two. There was also a crescent moon on display. All these will be visible over this weekend on Saturday and Sunday (Feb. 25 and 26) weather permitting of course.
The planet Mercury may also be visible too, low on the horizon, beneath Venus depending on your sky conditions, but disappears quickly after sunset.
The planets will be closest on March 15th when they will only be 3 degrees apart....or six widths of the moon to you and me.
For more detailed information on this weekends planet show click here.
You may have noticed that the above photo is not the crescent moon but I thought I'd get in the celestial mood.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

What a Winter weekend we had.

Saturday blew in with a blizzard. It was very snowy and very windy and it did not stop all day and night. Extremely cold during the night with temps of minus 6C. Woke up this morning to a lovely bright white outlook with temps just on the zero mark. Everywhere was covered with the white stuff and the sky was blue with the odd wisp of passing cloud. Went to Foyers for a newspaper and then stopped at Aspenwood to feed the wildlife. First we had to clear a thick layer of snow from the platform fence before putting down sunflower seeds and peanuts to please the chattering hoards of birds in the nearby trees. The beach was also covered and there were quite a few people walking along the path with very excited dogs. At the moment the snow is beginning to melt and milder weather is forecast soon so our guests arriving next week could bring their shorts along with a few jumpers...just in case. Sit back and enjoy the slideshow.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Sparrowhawk.

All the frantic fluttering of bird life at the feeders attract the predatory Sparrowhawk. He is quite amazing to watch and usually zooms around in hot pursuit of a particular bird that he has his beady eye on. Yesterday though he  actually zoomed down and landed in the grassy area near to the window and we could see the marvellous blueish colours of his feathers at close range. He was cocking his head, looking intently downwards and listening to sounds in the undergrowth. He then bounced along and sat on the logs for a while still looking and listening to whatever was in the bushes...we thought maybe a mouse or vole. He then flew to the bird bath and rested on it but still acutely aware of everything around him and not even bothering that his tail was in the water. After a while he hopped down into the shrubbery behind our garden ornaments and emerged with a very dead Dunnet - also known as a hedge sparrow as they hop about in the hedgerows. Lunch was scooped up and taken away to the nest as even Sparrowhawks have to eat.







Friday, February 10, 2012

Bird life....big and small.

This week we have experienced quite mild,dry weather and the temperature today is a pleasant 9C. This is a different story to the last two winters when we had really bad snow and treacherous ice that lasted for nearly four months. The bad weather is now in England and it is really strange to watch the news and weather forecasts and realise that we are frost free for once. The snow has nearly gone from the mountains opposite although there is plenty to be seen at higher levels and the birds appear to be chasing each other in their early courtship games. We do not need to put so much food out for them as there are alot of insects visibly flying about but birds of all sizes still come to visit.....from the noisy gang of small long tailed tits to the much larger pheasant sisters.

Monday, February 06, 2012

A tale of two tails.

 
So far we have had a mild winter compared to other parts of the UK. Today the sun shone all day and even the cats ventured outside to sit in the bright sunshine and survey their territory. It was about 6C during the day but it will drop to below freezing tonight. The forecast for the week ahead is for temperatures to increase slightly each day. The hours of daylight are also increasing and we feel that Spring is not too far away. 



Thursday, February 02, 2012

Deer on a frosty morning.

A very cold day yesterday followed by a freezing clear night full of stars. This morning there was a sharp frost everywhere so we were not surprised to see deer on the front bank munching at the crisp grass. The temperature stayed about minus 3 all day and it is forecast for minus 8 tonight so it must be extremely chilly up higher on the hills which is why the deer drift down to lower levels.
We hope Larry the wee lamb is snug in his barn with mum.