Friday, 4 January 2008

Snow Buntings and nature rules on Cairngorm

Another day of wild weather here in Cairngorm! Yesterday we turned back and today we got in a bit further and had a close shave from the scarp slope above the Mess of Pottage coming crashing down from above. The SAIS avalanche f0recast was 3 plus which indicates spontanious release and as is normally the case, exactly right! As one drives up the ski-road and walks into the corrie all the signs are incredibly obvious and amplified by the avalanche forecast, today's close shave was a timley reminder that no matter how experienced one thinks one is, the mountain does not really pay much attention to the fool-hardy endeavours of silly mountaineers - nature rules!
On a happier note the snow buntings seem content in the wild weather. This artic specialist is resident all year round in the Cairngorm National Park. They are around 15-18 cms long and the breeding male is unmistakable with it's white plumage, black back and yellow bill with a black tip. Sometimes it's plumage can be a ginger colour. Plectrophenax nivalis has feathers adapted to help deal with harsh environments.

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