This week's theme of appalling weather and associated lack of birds continued with this ramble from Croy, past Holme Rose, along the River Nairn and back adjacent to Kilravock Castle. The more sensible folk had seen the forecast and decided to give it a miss but for the four folk and dog whose sanity had taken a leave of absence we met in a blustery and icy car park at 0930 and unsurprisingly wanted to get moving as soon as possible just to keep warm!
With heads down we battled into the oncoming gale for the first kilometre or so but on dropping down towards the river we were pleased to find it a little more sheltered. We stopped only to admire a pair of Goldcrests busy flitting about, a fly over Crossbill and to scan a flock of Herring Gulls. Along the river a Treecreeper put in a brief appearance working up some adjacent trees. Amazingly not a single Dipper could be found although the high water levels had probably something to do with this with many of the rocks now submerged. We did however stop to admire a huge badger set which was intersected at one stage by the path.
Just as we approached Holme Bridge two ducks flew off the river ahead of us and away downstream never to be seen again despite the subsequent search. It may have been a brief view for us all but it was enough to confirm them as a pair of Mandarins. Also here a small flock of Redwings were enjoyed clinging on tightly in the tree tops.
On the way back the rain began to intensify and we all picked up the pace in order to rush back to some shelter and dry off. Despite the atrocious weather and lack of birds a good time was had by all and as is often the case it was the good company which was the highlight of the day.