February in the Cairngorms

Winter has finally taken hold in the Cairngorms National Park this February, bringing us snow to the mountains and surrounding areas. Waking up to snow stuck to tree branches and even moments of sunshine to show off our landscape. In between the snow however, we have seen water levels, especially in the River Spey very high, with neighbouring fields turning to flood plains. Hopefully the snow will stick to the mountains and wildlife such as the Ptarmigan and Snow Bunting will benefit from it.

Snowy path (Kate M)
Skylark (Colin Scott)

We are starting to see and hear the early signs of Spring, but I am sure the snow will return over the next month or two. The sound of Wood Pigeon ‘coo cooing’ in the gardens, Woodpeckers drumming against hollow trees and other garden birds singing for partners attention. In the past week, the echo of Mistle Thrush singing over fields has been a welcome sound and a recent visit to the coast saw a dozen Skylark displaying. The RSPB have audio of most species found here, click this link to see how many you can hear on your next walk outside.

Oystercatcher (Colin Scott)

The flowers are only just beginning to grow, with snowdrops now out in full bloom, but only the buds of daffodils and crocus beginning to show. The nearby Insh Marshes is one of the first places to look for returning species that winter on our coasts. The recent floods have started to subside and flocks of Lapwing and Oystercatcher are beginning to gather on the edges of the marsh.

Blue skies between the storms (Kate M)

As we head into March, I can’t help to think of the season ahead. The mornings and evenings are getting much lighter and the clocks will change at the end of the month. There are so many wildlife experiences to look forward to this year. If you would like to see what Speyside Wildlife has in store for the year ahead, follow us on social media or check out our website.