Nature Notes from Skye
(and occasionally other places)

Wed 25 Feb 2004

Inverness again.  North wind, snow, driving through the interior everywhere was white, but when we reached Inverness it was clear of snow and the skies were blue.  Bitterly cold though.  Tried a few more bird pictures, very poor.

Corvus corone and Corvus cornix

Above: Hooded Crow and Carrion Crow in the same tree.  Inverness is in the buffer zone where the two kinds overlap.

Below: Female or first-winter Goldeneye (left) and male Red-breasted Merganser (right)

Bucephala clangula   Mergus serrator

Other birds seen: Grey Wagtail at the edge of the water just below the Ness Bridge.  Siskin feeding from Alder cones.  Two Treecreepers on one tree.  A few Moorhens, very shy, their chosen area is heavily frequented by people, dogs, and mallards, and they spend most of their time keeping out of the way of these, but will wander about on the path and adjacent parkland during a break in the human traffic.  Goosanders still present.  The drake Merganser above had a female with him but her pic turned out too impressionistic to use.  The Goldeneye was alone and only dived once in several minutes, in comparison with female Goosanders who spend more time under the water than on it.  Perhaps the Goldeneye just wasn't hungry; eventually it hauled out of the water onto a rock and sat there as the sun went down.

No early spring wild flowers in Inverness any more than in Skye.  Unless you count Chickweed.

Thu 26 Feb 2004

Skye, evening.  We've had snow showers on and off for the past 24 hours and there's now a thick covering on the ground, quite unusual, we only get it this thick about once per winter on average.

Sat 28 Feb 2004

Fourth consecutive day of snow.  Only had time to go out for a ten-minute stroll, down the Lisigarry path from Viewfield Rd towards the shore.  No sun, more snow-clouds moving in from the north.

Luzula sylvatica   Erythacus rubecula

The snow was about 13-16 cm deep on level ground.  On the left is a clump of Great Woodrush, which will soon be putting up its flowering shoots.  The Robin is on a Bramble branch among Raspberry canes (the paler, upright ones).  It was very approachable, obviously a resident.  The continental ones that winter here are much shyer.

This was the view from the end of the path.  At this point it began snowing again.

View across Portree Bay in snow


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