For a short period between the recent onslaught of deluges it actually stopped raining, skies cleared and the overnight temperature dropped to a low of -4.2 °C. Freezing temperatures and soaking wet ground usually means lots of frost by sunrise. And so it proved to be, at least on moorland tops as the valleys had filled with very thick fog. Avoiding the light-sapping fog I set out to see what my local red grouse were up to.
Males were very actively ‘strutting their stuff’, calling continuously and scuffling occasionally in defence of favoured territory, but were very nervous about being watched, understandably so. It’s the middle of the grouse shooting season and I’m not sure if they can tell the difference between a camera and a shotgun. Getting close was nigh on impossible.
There is still some colour to be seen in the heather, even though everything takes on pastel shades when wrapped in frost. Greens leaves are slowly breaking down and giving way to brown, woody stalks. For a short while, as we progress further into winter, the brown stalks will sometimes take on distinctive orange streaks and magenta tints that can be surprisingly bold in favourable light. At the moment though, they are only just starting to develop and on a bright frosty morning a hint of pink is the best that I can hope for.
By mid-morning a thickening cloud layer was already creeping steadily across the sky and this very welcome respite was clearly coming to an end. Just after sunset the deluge resumed in earnest.