January in the Cairngorms
A new year of wildlife, bird lists and wildlife moments to remember has begun. January is a month to take time in the winter hours to explore locally, recharge and look towards the new opportunities for the year ahead. Whether it’s exploring your own patch, venturing to parts of the UK or here in the Cairngorms, this is what we have seen this month.
January is often a quieter month of wildlife, and the weather often gets in the way. We have had experienced cold nights, but generally it has been mild with winter storms bringing wind. This Woodcock was a nice surprise one morning from the kitchen window as it woke up from its night roost. One evening whilst at the evening wildlife hide, I even heard a woodcock calling over the woods, which early for their roading season. Sally has been out a few times locally guiding, with sightings of Golden Eagle, Mountain Hare, Crested Tit and coastal highlights like Eider.
Enjoying the wildlife from home, the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch was a great excuse to observe the garden birds that came in. It is a real joy to see any birds visiting the garden, and with colder weather it is a good idea to provide food and fresh water to help them through these months. The highlights from my garden have been the charms of Goldfinch that visit daily. Their vibrant colours and cheeky behaviour keeping me entertained and eating through a lot of food. The most popular bird in my garden is the Chaffinch and it has been nice to see a winter Brambling joining them. These winter visitors from Scandinavia take advantage of our woodlands that offer fresh nuts and seeds, similar food to the Chaffinch, so can be found grouping with flocks of Chaffinch, often in gardens or local woods.
We have been experiencing some gorgeous sunsets on evening walks before the wildlife hide. Clear skies between winter storms have lit up landscapes with colours of orange and pink and the full moon guiding the route home. As night falls, the wildlife hide continues to be busy with the Badgers and some fantastic Pine Marten sightings. As said in our hide update, the mammals are venturing out more than usual in January as the temperatures are mild, and they enjoy foraging.
We can offer so much if you are planning a visit to the Cairngorms, Scotland or want a wildlife holiday further afield, check our website for details and follow our social media channels for regular updates. What will February bring for our wildlife and days out in the field?