The year has started with many of my regular winter visitors returning. Lesser Redpolls, Blackcaps, Long-tailed Tits and even a Bullfinch have appeared in the garden. The Bullfinches usually arrive later on in the year so I was pleased to see this one. In previous years I have had a few Fieldfare come in to feast on the apples and stay around but I have had very few apples on the tree in Autumn so only one Fieldfare appeared and did not stay long. I occasionally have a Treecreeper come into garden during the year and one appeared for the first time at the end of January. it was lovely to get a visit from a Great Spotted Woodpecker feeding on the peanuts during these winter months.
The Eider ducks come into the harbour at Burghead during the winter months usually in large numbers. There was still not a great deal of snow around and I saw on one sunny day nine Grey-legged Partridges in a field near the coast. They are so well camouflaged in the surroundings of the field that it was only when some moved that i noticed them. They are quite attractive birds when you see them up close. At Hopeman there were a group of Sanderling and Ringed Plovers together on the beach.
One surprise was seeing a Grey Heron sitting on top of a neighbour’s roof. It rested there for a while and I can only surmise that there was a pond in one of the gardens which had attracted it to the area.
At Loch of Blairs there were the usual Mute Swans and Little Grebes. As winter comes to an end and spring was arriving, for the first time, I saw a pair of Mandarin ducks on the loch. I have been back there since and have not seen them again so they must have been passing through.
The first bird I saw which heralded the beginning of Spring was a Wheatear at the coast. It is also the start of my moth trapping year and the first one of interest was this Yellow Horned.