Goldeneyes and black squirrels

It was sunny this morning in Aberdeenshire and so I headed over to Fyvie castle and had a walk around the lake there. Brenda and I had visited here at New Year, and it was nice to see it again. There were good numbers of small passerines, and I watched a treecreeper for several minutes, though getting a photo of it was tricky!


There were mostly mallards on the lake, which was partially iced over, but there were a handful of tufted duck, a solitary little grebe, and a pair of goldeneye.

little grebe
A pair of goldeneye, female on the left
When you’ve got an itch you just have to scratch!

A grey heron was prowling the edges of the lake and a buzzard could be heard overhead along with numbers of jackdaws and a single song thrush singing its repeated phrases from the top of a tree.

grey heron taking off

Brenda writes: “The lovely think about nature watching is that you can do the same walk on consecutive days and see different things. This morning I had a brief encounter with our magpie, who was pottering around in the courtyard between the buildings. Then later in the day during a bit of free time I had another walk around the garden and got a good view of one of the black squirrels that are resident here. They are not a different species apparently but a ‘melanistic’ version of grey squirrel.

I looked it up and researchers at Anglia Ruskin University think that they are the result of interbreeding between grey squirrels and American fox squirrels. The one I was watching today was very handsome. Then, noticing a small movement among the tangle of branches bordering the path I managed to get my binoculars on a most beautiful sight, a long-tailed tit doing running repairs on its nest, constructed from moss and lichen. Once the leaves are on the trees it will be completely invisible and hopefully safe.”

No new species for March 15th:

Birds = 143
Moths = 9
Wildflowers = 24