Has winter arrived?

There is a distinctly wintery feeling in the air at Loch of the Lowes today. The weather system associated with “Storm Abigail” which hit the west and north of Scotland overnight is certainly making its presence felt.

Temperatures have dropped by about 10 degrees compared to yesterday and a mixture of heavy rain, sleet and snow has been falling intermittently throughout the morning. There is even a light dusting of white on the hills to the north and east of the loch.

Snow on the hills ©Jonathan Pinnick/Scottish Wildlife Trust
Snow on the hills ©Jonathan Pinnick/Scottish Wildlife Trust

The feeding station has been a frenzy of activity, with birds and red squirrels frantically feeding away to keep their energy levels topped up sufficiently to maintain body temperature.

Feeding station ©Jonathan Pinnick/Scottish Wildlife Trust
Feeding station ©Jonathan Pinnick/Scottish Wildlife Trust

We’ve had up to four red squirrels visiting our nut box feeders…

Red Squirrel feeding ©Doris McLean/Scottish Wildlife Trust

And a wide variety of birdlife, including up to ten Coal Tits, three Great Spotted Woodpeckers, half a dozen Siskin and one of our quintessential winter visitors, the Brambling…

Brambling ©Doris McLean/Scottish Wildlife Trust
Brambling ©Doris McLean/Scottish Wildlife Trust

Bramblings are part of finch family, breeding in Scandinavia and Western Siberia. In winter they form large flocks, often in association with their similar looking cousin the Chaffinch. Numbers visiting the UK vary from year-to-year depending on food availability in other parts of Europe.

A male Sparrowhawk also made a brief appearance, but was too quick for us to photograph.

Out on the loch there have been large groups of Goldeneye and Tufted Duck as well as smaller numbers of Wigeon.

Winter loch ©Jonathan Pinnick/Scottish Wildlife Trust
Winter loch ©Jonathan Pinnick/Scottish Wildlife Trust

Why not pop down this weekend and see what you can spot? We’re open Saturday and Sunday from 10:30am-4pm.

Jonathan

Preface

There is a distinctly wintery feeling in the air at Loch of the Lowes today. The weather system associated with “Storm Abigail” which hit the west and north of Scotland overnight …

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