Well the pre and post Christmas and early New Year sojourn at Kirkhill was now at an end and the time had arrived to travel southwards and home. The journey up had been mixed with snow across the Drumochter Pass and northwards, but with milder periods then developing interspersed with some pretty windy interludes!! The forecast now appeared to be changing.
The very edge of Kirkhill village borders on farmland which itself then resides adjacent to the Beauly Firth. Various woodlands are in evidence so its a nice mixed bag of habitats. The weather had been relatively good, contrasted against what this area can actually receive in winter, but this certainly didn't deter birds from visiting garden feeders. In fact, a wider variety of species was actually seen in a garden setting than without!!
Regular walks out with the dogs encountered both Grey lag and Pink-footed Geese and Whooper Swans could be heard trumpeting from down near the Firth. As ever titmice were in evidence ( Great, Blue, Coal, Long-tailed ) as were finches and buntings ( Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Brambling, Bullfinch, Siskin, Yellowhammer ) with numbers of House and Tree Sparrows as well. A Great spotted Woodpecker dominated the feeders at times and the expected ground feeders were present ( Blackbird, Robin, Dunnock, Wren ). However no Starlings were seen in over two weeks ! Tawny Owl was encountered on a couple of occasions too. Together with corvids, gulls, Common Buzzard and the odd Woodpigeon and Pheasant quite a variety was recorded between periods of more earnest birding. Doubtless things will alter as the intensity of the winter takes a more firm grip on things overall but, overall , I was pleased with what had occurred to form the "bedrock" of a Year List for 2017