Monday, 27 December 2010

A snowy Christmas day

Yesterday - christmas day we went for a lovely walk to a nearby loch called Fairy Glen. There was a lot of snow of course but we wanted to see how many trees had been cleared from around the loch. It was a glorious day and the sky was that deep deep cerulean blue that you only get on a very cold day at this time of year. We took some coffee with us and stopped at the cabin on the loch that belongs to a friend. It was all locked up of course but what a great place to have. The loch was formed to provide water for Coleburn distillery many moons ago. Nowadays Coleburn is closed and the loch is a peaceful haven.

Of course the loch was frozen over and there were lots of animal tracks about in the snow. We have been up there lots of times and seen deer and rabbits and red squirrels so there is a lot of wildlife about. People often walk their dogs up there too so doggy footprints are everywhere. When we got near the loch, we found a bit that wasn't frozen over near the edge and there were a lot of tracks on the shoreline along with a pile of gunge that looked like slimy vomit. On closer inspection it had fishy scales and body parts in it so it was the remains of somethings lunch!

Five toes - our guess is an otter

We know that there are otters near us because we sadly found one on the verge at the bottom of our driveway last year. It had been hit by a car. It had never occurred to us that Fairy Glen would be a great place for them to live but it's obvious when you think about it. There is a burn running in at one end and out at the other. There are plenty of fish about and it is extremely quiet (except when they are cutting trees down). I took some pictures of the tracks and at first I thought that they were doggy footprints but when I enhanced the contrast I saw that they had five toes and dogs have only four. They could possibly be badger tracks but given the location and the fishy remains I am inclined to believe that they are otter tracks. If the weather holds out I may take another trip up there and go well equipped for an otter spotting expedition.

We spotted some more weird things on the way back. The snow was falling off the tree branches and rolling down the steep bank towards the track. As it rolled, it gathered more snow in a beautiful natural spiral snowball. The weather conditions must have been just right and these little snow spirals were everywhere. Some were four or five inches across but most were much smaller. They left delicate tracks on the slope where they had rolled - extraordinary!

A beautiful natural snowy spiral
Nature can create much more beautiful structures than man can't it?

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