12th March 2018

The bird feeder has become overrun. It’s too much. The great and blue tits have pushed out all of the other birds and now they are fighting one another for food and the aggression is awful. There is not meant to be such a concentration of birds in such a small area and it makes me a little sad. I am going to wind it all down slowly, to coincide with the snow melting. It’s just another lesson in how we think that we are doing some good for animals but in reality we are just upsetting the natural balance of things.

The crag martins are back. I looked out this morning and saw one or two diving past the window and all of a sudden there seemed to be hundreds in the air, swooping and wheeling. Such a beautiful bird; sandy brown and dark grey, broader than swallows, they always appear at this time and then again for a few days in the autumn, I assume they are moving on up to higher cliffs in order to breed and nest. This is the furthest North their range allows them to go, and they come here just to breed, they are not resident.

I went out for an extended walk this afternoon on the pretext of searching for pine marten tracks and scat. I drew the tracks beforehand so that I would recognise them should I come across any:

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I went up into the forest and the snow was just in its worst state; slippery and claggy, the soil and leaf hummus was deep and wet, I slipped again and again, so the search did not last very long. No pine marten tracks, although I did see a lovely trunk that had been completely attacked by black woodpeckers:

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And lots of red deer activity:

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The snow has lots of yellow patches at the moment, which is the result of the pollen from alder trees dropping down onto the ground. It often gets very dark under the trees (and for some reason the dog loves to roll in it):

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Alder catkins in abundance:

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