Out and about in the afternoon saw Islay's landscapes at their best with snow on "the tops", serving as a backdrop to a cold tranquil setting elsewhere. Seemingly birds appear to be holding their own , but I guess a lot have moved out elswhere ( only to find conditions not that improved, if not worse! ). These conditions are redolent of times in the past when winter weather used to regularly decimate some bird species ( Wren, Long-tailed Tit and Goldcrest ), particularly if freezing fog occurred and the trees and bushes were coated in ice. Their populations used to plummet after a bad winter ( remember 1963 ) only to yo-yo back later.
Herons too were often victims, which we were reminded of as we watched a single bird languidly cross a fozen landscape towards Loch Indaal in the manner of an avian metronome, doubtless leaving behind favourite , now frozen, inland feeding areas for the open sea loch.
Given it's New Year I suppose a "times they are a changing" entry doesn't go amiss. Not that long ago a welcome sighting from a winter visit to Norfolk would have been one , or more, Little Egrets. Previous to that a sighting anywhere would have been a "red letter day" and demanding of a description to the local Bird Recorder. Such has been the successful incursion into the UK that ,now, they are breeding to the south and present in places like Argyll and Dumfries and Galloway in winter, a far cry from their Mediterranean haunts of yesteryear.