Sunday (19th ) dawned somewhat quietly with a landscape covered in 3/4 inches of snow. Little was in evidence, called, or flew until mid -morning when various parties of Pink-footed Geese passed overhead, doubtless scouting around for "open" feeding areas. Gradually the snow disappeared throughout the day as temperatures increased, but most birds seemed to have their heads down!
Monday (20th ) was always destined to be "returning home day" so after fond farewells to daughters and dogs I set off southwards, having chosen to go down the A9 and then cut across to Fort William at Newtonmore. Leaving at 0800 hours meant I could grab a couple of hours walk around a favourite stretch of Caledonian Pinewood north of Aviemore , before proceeding further. Whilst only a mere covering of frozen snow remained the temperatures were arctic! Aviemore, I discovered later , had been the coldest spot in the UK on the 19th (-10 C ) and certainly no real amelioration was in progress. However, I had a good tramp around but, of Crested Tit and Scottish Crossbill ( the intended quarry! ), there was no sign. Conceding defeat I pressed on seeing a few Wigeon, Teal and Goldeneye on a roadside loch, but little else . Mid morning saw it beginning to rain as I passed westwards, which continued unabated , along with accompanying mist, for the remainder of the journey until I finally got home around 2100 hours. A couple of days to forget in many respects!