Its December everyone! Is it to early to do a bit of a round-up post?? 2018 has been a pretty good year for spotting wildlife I’ve never seen before. I glimpsed my first Gannets plunging into the ocean for fish off Skye, my first Stonechats darting between fence posts and gorse bushes in Ravenglass and my first Great Crested Grebes fishing in the lagoon at Hodbarrow Nature Reserve. I witnessed my first Eider Ducks bobbing along an aquamarine blue sea in the Outer Hebrides and watched for the first time, wild otters swimming and playing in a sheltered cove there.
And this year I have tried to identify and record every flower, mammal, bird, butterfly and moth I have come across whilst out and about , in a Nature Diary. Doing this has definitely got me busy looking up everything in my often neglected wildlife guides. My diary has gotten quite full, though I know there are still so many plants and animals, that I haven’t had the pleasure of viewing in our beautiful British Isles.
Here are just a few photos of some of the wildlife I have managed to capture on camera this year. 🙂
Hope you enjoyed the photos.
What are your own favourite wildlife moments of 2018?
I can hardly believe that only last week, we were staying in a beautiful cottage in Scotland. A cottage in the grounds of a Castle no less. Two castles in fact ! Lochinch Castle in Dumfries and Galloway is home to the Count and Countess of Stair. The castle was built in the mid 19th Century some years after their original residence ‘ Castle Kennedy’ was burned to the ground. The ruins of Castle Kennedy can also be found on the Lochinch Estate and the Castle Kennedy Gardens are open to the public. Seventy Five acres of sculptured gardens and woodland to wander in. In November we more or less had it all to ourselves!
Our home for the week was the cosy single story Icehouse Cottage situated close to the original remains of a Victorian Icehouse. With it’s pretty furnishings, toasty wood burner and idyllic location, we couldn’t have wanted for more. Hugo was especially happy led in front of the fire after long walks around the grounds. 🙂
On our very first walk we came across three deer just wandering through the forest. 🙂 In fact every walk, thereafter, we would spot roe deer, red squirrels , woodpecker, pheasants, buzzards and other wildlife amongst the canopy of the trees. They became such common sights that it wasn’t even a surprise when we spied deer along the treeline of the woodland behind the back of the cottage. I’m sure if we had erected a trampoline, the John lewis advert would have come to life there and then!
There are two Lochs on the Lochinch estate poetically named The Black Loch and The White Loch. Both hold lots of wildlife and the White Loch is a site of Special Scientific Interest due to its winter waterfowl and rare invertebrate fauna and flora. I’m not quite sure why my dog has two tails in the above photograph….
I think my favourite part of the Castle Kennedy Gardens is The Walled Garden, which somehow reminded me of a Secret Garden. Autumnal colours were out in force and flowering shrubs still bloomed. So beautiful.
We loved our time in South west Scotland and Lochinch Cottages ( there are two more in the castle grounds) provided an ideal base to explore Dumfries & Galloway. And a Winter Break there? Well why not! Being out of the tourist season means you can (almost) imagine your lording over your own estate. 🙂