A mixed day with a journey around the Rinns. Other than the sea lochs open water areas are now frozen over with a further light covering of snow. Whereas a week ago pathetic little gatherings of Teal and Mallard could be seen sitting out the conditions on the lochs' frozen surfaces such areas now seem to be largely abandoned.
Applicable yesterday in Scotland, a shooting ban was announced by the Scottish Government Environment Minister, Roseanna Cunningham, which ostensibly applies for 14 days, but which is reviewed after a seven day period. The mechanism is based on advice received from Scottish Natural Heritage, with the Government then bringing in a ban under Section 2 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, all this usually happening after a seven day period of voluntary restraint advocated by the non-governmental shooting organizations. The "device" first came into being in 1983 and it's now thirteen years since it was last used, a good indicator of how severe our current weather conditions are. It seems likely that a similar ban will be applied in England and Wales too.
Equally important is the question of disturbance, as geese , ducks and waders doing " aerial circuits" over a wintering site are using up vital levels of energy reserves, which could then literally be the difference between survival or succumbing to what are now beginning to be very low temperatures indeed. In this context birdwatchers , dog walkers, joggers, all can try and avoid obvious concentrations of birds just attempting to sit out the conditions!