Looking back into 2018…

Deep snow

Last year we had it. We had a proper winter. The biggest I have experienced since I came to the UK 14 years ago. Why am I writing about the Beast from the East only now? Well, the past 12 months have been very busy. I worked full time in HR and opening the computer on return home was the last thing I could think of. At the weekends, on the other hand, I preferred to spend time outdoors and also had to catch up with everything else I was not able to do during the week. Now, I have some time to myself. I am currently on annual leave, waiting for the arrival of my baby due to come on the 10 March. See you soon baby!

So, looking back just before the Beast from the East hit us, we went on a trip up north. We stayed in Tomintoul, visited Newtonmore and on the way back visited Loch Garten. The ancient Caledonian pine forest stretches along the loch. The day was absolutely gorgeous. It felt like spring. Here is a picture.

Loch Garten ancient pine forest

A week later, I felt like I was on a different planet. In fact, I did not think that I would ever experience a proper winter in Scotland. Living where we live, in the countryside, I felt blessed. I was able to work from home and enjoy the snow. Having grown up in Poland, I am used to proper winters. And luckily, I can bake bread. There was a couple of days when going to the shops was out of the question. The wildlife was not having the best time though. Once the roads were manageable (in a 4 wheeled drive) we took a drive and spotted a barn owl searching for food at midday. Normally, you only see them at night time. It was extremely busy on the feeders in our garden. Goldfinches came back, there was a flock of long-tailed tits. There was a bullfinch. Blue tits, cold tits, great tits, chaffinches and sparrows, they were all there. Even the blackbirds who don’t normally go near the feeders were eating peanuts.

Here is a photo showing birds on the feeders

And here is a short video where it looks like it will never stop snowing!

The goldfinch came back

The goldfinch was back on the feeder. It was alone again and spent there quite a lot of time. Eventually, the woodpecker came and threw him off the feeder. So it patiently waited on the tree but then went back on to the feeder. Little blue tits were trying to get some nuts, but he kept pushing them off and flapping its wings. It must have been really hungry. And the same happened again. A woodpecker, this time a different one made it get off the feeder. It left. I wonder if it will be be back?

The blue moon and a goldfinch

The unusual blue moon, the second full moon in a month happened yesterday but it was too cloudy to be able to see it. However, this morning the moon was still very big and this is what it looked like where I live:

Moon over a field
With this unusual moon, came a very strong wind. And there was a little cute guest on a bird feeder, a goldfinch. Unfortunately, I did not manage to take a picture of it, but if you don’t know what a goldfinch looks like, there is one on Wikipedia. Goldfinch is a truly beautiful bird, with a red beak and face and yellow- black wings. I really need a camera trap to be able to capture all the amazing birds we get on the feeder. Unusually, it visited us by itself. Every other time goldfinches came as a group of at least four. It stayed on the feeder munching nuts for a long time. This made me think that it must have been very hungry. I wandered, why? Why was it so hungry and why did it come by itself… It is gone now. Hopefully, it is all right. Maybe it just got confused by the second blue moon this month.