The weather was decidedly un-Speyside like for Hogmanay with temps mainly in the 7 - 11 degrees bracket with no snow at all on the high tops. I have had colder days in June than this. We came hme yesterday and as we left the sun was shining and, at last, there was a -5 degree frost.
I'm not sure what has happened to Speyside, but it seems to have turned into a theme park since our last visit ( when the temperature was -17 degrees a whole 28 degrees colder than this time!). We could scarcely go out without being ran over by a family on mountain bikes. And what is it with people who go into the most quiet areas of our counrtyside to behave like a bus trip of Millwall supporters? At one spot near Glen Feshie and extended family ran amok with kids and dads screaming like X Factor rejects, the sound of which reverberated for miles. No wonder there are no capercaillies any more...
I did manage to see a few Crested Tits and Red Squirrels but that was about it really.
So back home yesterday arriving back at 2.30pm to my first patch bird of 2019, and a good one too, a Buzzard sitting at the top of a tall tree right on the patch edge as we arrived by car.
I'm not at work now until Monday so I gave the Howick patch a short sharp thrashing this morning in an attempt to catch up with, the award winning, Mr Gale of Banstead . I had intended to get out for a couple of hours this afternoon too but the Northumberland Hunt was rampaging around the area like a family in the Cairngorms. Funny isnt it, 30 dogs, half a dozen horses and a quad bike flushing hares and sheep alike, blatantly flouting the law, but we get snidey comments when we walk our dog in a rough field free of livestock? I was suitably boiling.
However, this mornings 3 hours turned out very well. I visited the Rumbling Kern on the coast, the pond field and village wood, all within 1km of our door step seeing some decent birds. These included only my 2nd patch Red necked Grebe after one in 2010, both Ringed and Grey Plover, with the ringed being especially tricky on our all rocky coastline and 30+ Crossbills which are always nice to get, ending the days count on a respectable 61 species.
With a few days to go and a decent weather forecast, I should clear up most wintering species before gainful employment calls me back...