It was time to do a winter mountain last week. There was good snow cover and the forecast was dry and bright, so we set off for high ground. The car park was already busy with skiers when we arrived, so we donned our crampons and started heading up. The snow was very patchy, deep in some bits, but generally OK for walking on if steep in places. We avoided the skiers, but saw very little wildlife on the way up, just a pair of Red Grouse fly by. Up at the cairn it was very windy, but a wee flock of Snow Buntings flew through as we sheltered for lunch. Exploring on the ridge we eventually found a Ptarmigan, a lovely white male, then found the Mountain Hares. There were about 20 in all, feeding on the exposed heather shoots. They were a wonderful sight.
Fairly quiet here with typical winter - perhaps rather more wind than usual. Hoping to get up a hill if wind and weather ameliorates before month ends.
Hides doing OK once we got the Duck Tape into place.
Three Dippers on the stream today - two with no rings and one with two. This one was fairly confiding even when the farm machinery went close by. Definitely a good sign as it needs to be pretty tolerant of disturbance with the aquatic dogs that it will have to face in the coming months. This feeding strategy fascinated me - the water formed a cone around the probing bill.
Eric & Lesley McCabe