SPECIES TO LOOK OUT FOR

BBC Wildlife Magazine - - Wild November -

Moun­tain hare

Su­per­fi­cially sim­i­lar to the brown hare, but more com­pact and with shorter ears, the moun­tain hare will ex­change its grey­brown sum­mer coat for a win­ter-white pelage. In re­cent years num­bers have de­clined dra­mat­i­cally and the pop­u­la­tion is now less than one per cent of their ini­tial lev­els. They are most ac­tive at dawn and dusk.

Ptarmi­gan

Marginally smaller than its moor­land cousin the red grouse, the ptarmi­gan rad­i­cally changes its sum­mer plumage – pre­domi­nently grey, brown and black bar­ring – to a star­tling white, with a splash of black, in win­ter (pic­tured right). Rarely drop­ping be­low 1,000m, the ptarmi­gan is the mon­tane megas­tar ev­ery­body wants to see.

Snow bunt­ing

Los­ing its glo­ri­ous pied breed­ing plumage, this stocky bunt­ing turns sandy and rusty brown in au­tumn. Now is the time they form flocks, and can be sur­pris­ingly trust­ing while search­ing for scraps of food not buried un­der snow.

Golden ea­gle

The for­tunes of this ma­jes­tic and pow­er­ful bird are im­prov­ing. With more than 500 pairs now breed­ing in Scot­land, ‘goldies’ can be spot­ted soar­ing above any­where from rugged moun­tains to re­mote is­lands.

Raven

Our largest crow is eas­ily iden­ti­fied by its mas­sive bill, ‘fin­gered’ wings, wedge-shaped tail and im­pres­sive voice. It is now a com­mon fea­ture across much of western Bri­tain, due pri­mar­ily to less per­se­cu­tion. A raven pro­claim­ing ter­ri­to­rial rights in its an­ces­tral home is a great sight.

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