Brief December 2015 Update
Published: 31st December 2015
A quick seasonal update in case you thought we were hibernating at Glenloy Wildlife. After finally getting the new website launched we have been chasing up and down the country doing the usual family and friends things at this time of the year. Fortunately we have managed to avoid the worst of the flooding and gales, both at Glenloy Lodge and elsewhere. The main drawback we have seen at home is that the bird feeders have been getting saturated with water very quickly, but if that’s the worst we get we will be very grateful. Once change that returning visitors might notice is that we have bitten the bullet and cut back some of the rhododendrons surrounding the Lodge, so our display may not be quite as impressive in 2016, but should soon sort itself out again.
The wildlife in the vicinity has not been completely ignored! One of the most notable features of the last month has been a jay, which has been busy visiting the bird feeders. Although it is rather shy, we have managed some good sightings, and it is welcome to take the peanuts it seems to particularly enjoy. We also tend to have good sightings of treecreepers about the garden and further afield at this time of year – always good to see. The sparrowhawks are making regular feeding forays, and unusually, we have noticed the male darting around the bird table at the back of the house as well as the feeding station at the front. If it is unlucky it might come face to face with one of the pine martens, who also like to visit the table for scraps. We have been eking out the turkey carcass for them, so they have had a merry Christmas!
We had a good view of an adult sea eagle half way up the glen road as we were delivering cards. We have not seen one here recently so will have to keep an eye out as we move into the period when eagles perform their courtship displays. We also watched a pair of sea eagles above Glen Righ a couple of days ago, with a further single later on the same walk. These are probably the birds we have been seeing, along with youngsters, around Sallachan Point this year. It is good to see them doing well in the area. At the start of the walk we watched 5 or 6 squirrels busily scoffing at the feeders by the Inchree car park. Now quite dark in their thick winter coats, there was no evidence here to support the old myth that squirrels hibernate in winter.
We also found time to have a winter walk out at the coast. Plenty of great northern divers on the sea in all the usual places, along with large numbers of mergansers. There were also lots of common seals on the rocks. Flocks of pipits were also evident in the coastal grassland along with a couple of stonechat, and the odd cronking raven. Nice to feel that all is as it should be.
Last night we saw a barn owl at Erracht just before turning into Glen Loy. Hopefully the winter will continue mild enough for them to prosper – they are very susceptible to long cold spells. The bird of the month, however, was a kingfisher, seen briefly on Christmas Day along the Caledonian Canal, close to home. This is the first we have seen there this year, and always a good omen. I’d like to think that this will be indicative of good things to come in 2016. Happy New Year!