Our Wild    Life

Nature photography by John Langley ARPS & Tracy Langley ARPS

Home About us Diary Galleries Artists Shop Exhibitions Contact

Scotland January 2017 :

Mountain Hares, Red Squirrels and … Water Rails ?

We had planned to spend two weeks in the Scottish Highlands looking for mountain hares. However, given the unpredictable nature of the British winter we added an extra week at the last minute in Dumfries & Galloway for a few subjects that were not snow-reliant.

When we arrived in the Highlands there was very little snow, just on the highest tops. During our stay there were a few days of light snow but the weather was extremely mild (10 - 12’) so the snow melted away very quickly. The mountain hares were left clinging to a few snowy patches or sticking out like sore thumbs.

On a very blustery day with snowy showers we found some shelter for a morning session at Neil McIntyre’s red squirrel site. The Caledonian pines offered some protection from the weather and a few squirrels braved the elements.

Although the weather was fairly mild, there were often high winds. This meant that we only had one day when it was half-fit to search for Ptarmigan.

When the snow had all melted from the hill tops we had another bout of squirrel mania, this time with Northshots.

A comfortable hide protected us from the elements and the squirrels kept us entertained all day with their cheeky antics.

For our extra week we broke our journey home at Dumfries & Galloway to spend a few days in Alan McFadyen’s hides at Scottish Nature Hides. As if we hadn’t had our fill of Red Squirrels, there were a couple of squirrels who visited the Sparrowhawk hide despite the pouring rain. Unfortunately the eponimous bird decided to keep its feathers dry that day.

At Alan’s kingfisher site there were plenty of visits from a female kingfisher.

Nearby we dodged the tides and lay suspended above a stream waiting for shy water rails. A pair of rails came out several times and it was lovely to be able to watch these elusive birds at very close range.

We’re due to return to the Highlands at the end of February, so will keep our fingers crossed for snow.

Top 2015 Mountain Hares