Monthly highlights to look for by TOM BAILEY – Trail’s four-season photographer
In late September/early October you begin to hear the most bizarre sound in the mountains – it will inevitably arouse your curiosity. The red deer rut is dramatic. Stags move into the areas where the hinds live. They roar and clash antlers with rival males, thick-necked and in the prime of condition. This is the time to see red deer and Scotland is the stronghold of the largest of our deer species.
One of the highlights of my year is the arrival of redwings. They migrate at night, escaping harsh winters in the north. These berry-eating thrushes favour clear starlit nights to make their journeys. Stand outside on such a night in October, particularly in Scotland and you’ll hear a thin, ‘seep-ip’ call, invisible in the darkness of the night sky – these are redwings. More than once, I have had close encounters with these birds high in the Scottish mountains.
ROWAN (MOUNTAIN ASH)
Spot orange or red berries hung heavily on a medium-to-small sized tree in a mountain environment and you’ll undoubtedly be looking at the rowan. A pale grey bark with horizontal striations marks out this tree of great superstition. In Scotland, it’s considered bad luck to cut back any rowan growing close to the home. Spring sees the trees heavy with white blossom and the October fruits mirror this profusion. Redwings love the berries. A tree to be respected, because you never know...