Friday saw me heading out in reasonably fair conditions to deal with a few things and catch up with a few birds along the way. There was a stiff breeze blowing so the jaunts out of the car were a bit of a lightning strike to get what I wanted before heading back to shelter. First off were the white Mountain Hares. As I left the car a Peregrine cruised past me and just kept going - a good one to pick up. I was never going to get close to the Hares on foot so I took the scope and had to stand in the teeth of the wind and attempt photos through the big lens - as you can see the result wasn't too bad. I had three white Mountain Hares in total - fantastic!
I had a look around for the Greenland White-fronted Geese that spend the winter here but it looks like they have moved on. They left in the hard weather over Christmas and haven't returned...yet - I'll keep looking. A Skylark singing was a real treat to hear while I was out in the field along with the Curlews and Oystercatchers calling - you could almost imagine it's Spring! When I arrived back at the shop I was told I'd missed a lightning strike on the telegraph pole just outside - it nearly fried the electrics. I always miss the exciting events! I could see a couple of White-tailed Eagles sitting on the ridge across the loch so I headed out for a closer look. They left before I got close enough but I did get cracking views of a male Hen Harrier hunting and spooking a Woodcock. A Common Buzzard gave me a close view at one point too.
There are certain places where you will come across a lot of shells on the road side, some of which could be blown there by the wind, but quite a few must be the result of the Hooded Crows trying to break them open by dropping them on a hard surface. It's always good entertainment watching this behaviour.
Saturday the weather came in quite poor with a driving Easterly pelting the snow and hail at you if you ventured out. We found out that the previous days lightning strike had knocked out our home phone line so I had to travel to the shop to report the fault. As I drove along the road a pair of Oystercatchers were feeding at the side of the road and one of the birds lifted in front of the car and smashed off the windscreen. I was fairly gutted to have taken out one of a pair but these things happen. It's not a sad end to the tale though as when I was driving back home both of the birds were happily feeding on the road side again - result!!