Highlands & Islands

Freeze frames: Wildlife photos shot by avalanche forecasters

Avalanche forecasters have been capturing images of wildlife high in Scotland's snow-covered mountains this winter.

The Sportscotland Avalanche Information Service (SAIS) is entering the final weeks of its latest season.

SAIS forecasters rate the risks of snow slides in six areas - Glencoe, Lochaber, Creag Meagaidh, Northern Cairngorms, Southern Cairngorms and Torridon.

The teams also regularly blog on winter conditions and upload photographs of avalanche risks, such as cornices and unstable snow packs.

This year various upland wildlife has also been popping up in front of the forecasters' cameras.

Image copyright SAIS glencoe

A raven spotted in Glencoe. The large crows are found in upland areas of Scotland, England and Wales.

Image copyright SAIS Northern Cairngorms

A mountain hare amid falling snow in the Northern Cairngorms. Smaller than brown hares, they change colour from dappled shades of brown to white in winter.

Image copyright SAIS South Cairngorms

These mountain hares were photographed in the Southern Cairngorms.

Image copyright SAIS Northern Cairngorms

Ptarmigan pictured on a windy day in the Northern Cairngorms.

Image copyright Sais northern cairngorms

Like mountain hares, ptarmigan change colour to better camouflage themselves against snow to avoid being seen by predators.

Image copyright SAIS Northern Cairngorms

In the UK, the only place to see ptarmigan is on the highest mountains of Scotland. The RSPB estimates that Scotland has between 2,000 and 15,000 breeding pairs.

Image copyright SAIS Southern Cairngorms

The avalanche forecasters' four-legged friends have also been getting in on the act. This pair were pictured on a break during a trek into the Southern Cairngorms.

Image copyright Sais northern cairngorms

An Alsatian takes in the view in the Northern Cairngorms.

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