Happy New Year

Published: 6th January 2012

Happy New Year from Glenloy Wildlife! I am concious of not having written a blog recently, so thought I better at least remind people that we are still here in 'Sunny' Lochaber. December passed in a whirl of rain, snow, strong winds and trips up and down the country. The highlight was the tremendous gales of 8th December, which reached record speeds of 130 mph on Aonach Mor (visible from the Lodge but not on this occasion). We experienced our share of storm damage, with a tree falling on the roof and another across the fence onto next door's shed (matchwood) – fortunately nothing that cannot be fixed. Interestingly the trees that snapped both had multiple tops – presumably raher weaker than the larger more shapely granny sitkas that were ominously bending in the breeze just behind the house. Wildlife viewing opportunities were few and far between. Today's walk was typical. One and a half hours in increasingly penetrating drizzle and freshening winds, with only a couple of tits and a buzzard to show for our efforts. Birds really have more sense. Just before Christmas we actually enjoyed a couple of days where the sun shone briefly, and out they all came. On one morning we saw flocks of Crossbill and Siskin in the surviving conifers, treecreepers scuttling about the lichen and even a woodpecker that we haven't seen about in weeks.
I received a nice book on Hares in the Derbyshire Dales for Christmas, so was pleased to see one on the way back home near Moy last night. There seem to be fewer about than there were a while ago so it is always nice to come across them.
I have finally kept a New Year's resolution and cleaned the bird feeders and moved the feeding station. This is now much closer to cover (having earlier cut back the scrub encroaching on that part of the garden). This has hopefully swung the pendulum away from the benefit of the sparrowhawk once again, and will attract back the flocks of finches which seem to have deserted us (although tits are plentiful). A female sparrowhawk did whizz back across from the direction of the new station later in the day, but I like to think it hadn't got anything (at least not straight away). Cleaning feeers periodically is necessary to prevent a build up of pathogens, and similarly moving the station allows the ground to recover and also clean up (at least that's the theory). Feeders are still visible from the dining room so at least guests will be able to see what is going on.
We have also been trying out a new camera trap, although pouring rain has not been conducive to our efforts. All we have caught on film so far is our resident pine martens, but we will persevere, and when there is something interesting we will post it for everyone's amusement. Here's hoping!