Islay Report - A Touch of Frost and Snow

Welcome to this weeks nature and wildlife report nr 47 by Jeremy Hastings, Islay's five star wilderness guide.

It certainly has been a varied week in all accounts. The wetness led to wind and then cold and eventually VERY cold. Last night, Saturday, it was well below freezing. Snow has been laying, not only on the high ground but low and in sheltered places too. This has meant that birds have come down to look for food and such as Yellowhammers that are normally in the hill heather can been seen at Pheasant feeders and, of course, with numerous wee birds follow the hunters: Kestrel, Merlin and Sparrowhawk. Birding is good yet hard work unless one has sunglasses!

this white ness
brings joy and hardness too
the light cuts
through it's
soft mantle and
leaves the eye
a flock of Barnacles drop onto a
hoary openess
for a feed
and combat the cold.
there is no wind
but such a sight takes one's
breath away. Continue reading.....And so we go on - Golden Eagle against a snow background, absolutely spectacular and majestic. We watch and watch. The cold eats through our soles. Luckily the kelly kettle takes aflame and soon we have a cup of warming chocolate and my guests, a wee dram too - at this time of year it has to be Ardbeg or maybe Laphraoig. In no time the Eagle drops off and soars high above this winter scene. Our souls are warmed by such a wonderful view. Waxwings in a garden in Bruichladdich and Whoopers and Long Tailed duck from the ICCI - a real treat!

Outside Debbies on a still and winter blue loch Indaal we watch red throated and Great Northern Divers. A flock of velvet pale bellied brent geese arrive gracing us with their smooth movements and gentle calling. Chough give us a shout and we look up to them both showing off over the roofs of now empty holiday cottages. It is winter - the very end of November and the time of the cold and clear skies and long crystal nights is up on us. To finish a long cold walk at Ardnave allowed us more swans and a good flock of Twite and three hen Snow Buntings. As I write though the rain falls and the snow will have gone by morning, a delightful reminder of the midwinter now on its way elsewhere. Happy birding, till next week!

Geese in the snow

Other relevant Islay Wildlife and Birding Information Resources:
- Jeremy's News Blog
- Previous Islay nature reports By Jeremy Hastings
- Islay Seasonwatch by Teresa Morris
- Islay Birds blog by Ian Brook
- Islay Birder blog by John Armitage

Tag: birding winter november snow dark weather

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