Tuesday 6 March 2018

Swans & Snow on the River Spey

For the last five days the clouds have been low, hiding the hills. From the grey blanket light snow has fallen constantly. Today the temperature crept a touch above freezing and lying snow began to slowly melt while the falling snow grew thicker. The damp air and brisk wind made it feel colder than when it had been sub-zero and dry and crisp, that wet cold that seems to penetrate any clothing.

The River Spey was a silvery band under the dark sky. Out on the water I could see birds - cormorants, mallard, and four whooper swans, a family floating together on the water.

This was a spur-of-the-moment stroll - I was in Grantown-on-Spey to pick up a box of bird seed left at the local garage by a courier who couldn't get up our snowy track - and I only had my 16-50 zoom lens with me. This isn't that sharp so crops aren't always that good - especially when the air is full of snow and not that sharp either! The above picture is cropped from the one below. Maybe I should always bring my 55-210 zoom lens. Maybe I will now.

Crossing the bridge to reach the garage I thought the Spey looked rather fine in the snow so I'd stopped to take a closer look. Spotting the dark shapes of cormorants perched on rocks in the water and the swans in the distance I decided to go a little further. The narrow riverside path was very slippery with a mix of melting snow and mud and a couple of times I had to take care not to end up in the river. Seeing the swans was wonderful and really made the decision to have a look at the river  a good one. I was only there for half an hour. Sometimes that's enough for nature to work its magic.


  1. You're right chris, sometimes it just takes a brief encounter as it were to remind you of all the other life going on around us; I walk beside a busy road to one of my workplaces,but on the other side of the road there's a dry stone wall hiding (from car window height) a wooded brook, often on my half hour journey I get to see ducks & drakes,moorhens,wagtails,sometimes dippers,the odd lurking heron or two and memorably and only once a kingfisher; none of which i'd see if I was in a car, and the thought of what I might see any day keeps me alert and hopeful! best wishes to you & yours from Mark & Helen xxx

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