The Wildlife of Winter
As the winter months are quickly passing us by, Spring will be upon us before we know it. This means it won’t be long before all vegetation starts to grow and fill out. As beautiful as that sounds, it does also mean that lots of our wildlife can once again hide from plain sight. If you’re a budding wildlife enthusiast or just keen on seeing the Scottish wildlife in its natural habitat, now is a good time to visit the Highlands to catch the winter wildlife in action. Here are a few animals you really need to tick off your list…
Part of the weasel family, the Pine Marten is dark brown with a creamy white bib around the neck, they can grow up to 70cm in length and found mainly in woodlands, conifer plantations, and rocky hillsides. The Pine Marten is known for being elusive and in the winter months you will have a better chance at catching a glance as they dart around without the foliage on the ground and in the trees to disguise them. The Pine Marten is a protected species in the UK.
Compared to the Grey Squirrel, the Red Squirrel is smaller and daintier with bigger, fluffier ears. Red Squirrels used to be the common UK squirrel, but Grey Squirrels now dominate most of the country. Common places to spot Red Squirrels are woodland, especially conifers. Tell-tale signs are scratch marks on tree bark, and chewed pine cones. Red Squirrels are now only seen in a few areas, particularly the Scottish Highlands.
Famed for its camouflage, the Mountain Hare’s coat in summer is grey-brown with a light tinge of blue. But, in the winter months they almost completely change to white with only their ear tips staying black, this is to help them blend into the snow. The Hare’s coat doesn’t change back until Spring meaning that once the snow has melted the Hares are still white. Because of this, this makes them quite a spectacle. The Mountain Hare is native to the Scottish Highlands.
Come and stay with us at the Lovat and we can advise you on local walks, national parks, and great locations from personal experience. Once you’ve spotted some wildlife, come and write it down in our wildlife journal at reception so others can see. We can’t wait for you to experience some of the wonderful Scottish Highlands wildlife.
The Lovat Loch Ness, the perfect place to…Find wildlife.