Rain and Shine

So, have you got wet this week? We have- repeatedly- and sometimes more than once in the same day. We’re still getting heavy, thundery showers here, with damp clear mornings. Hate to say it, but the mornings almost feel autumn-y, cool and still with all the grasses and spiders’ webs soaked in dew or rain.

Dew-covered grass

Dew-covered grass

A sure sign of autumn has been the curlew, passing high overhead on their way south. We’ve heard several this week- it’s the start of the autumn migration.

Curlew

Curlew

But, in other respects, we’re in the heart of midsummer. The heather is just starting to come into bloom, with the bell heather coming out first.

Bell heather

Bell heather

The small pearl bordered butterflies are taking full advantage of this new nectar source.

Small pearl- bordered fritillary feeding on bell heather

Small pearl- bordered fritillary feeding on bell heather

The woods have gone very quiet now. We’re in the middle of the mid-summer lull, where all the birds stop singing and concentrate on fledging youngsters or moulting feathers. Apart from a particularly persistent chiffchaff, there hasn’t been much singing in the woods this week.

A chiffchaff

Chiff, chaff, chiff, chaff, chaff, chaff, chiff…..a  non-stop chiffchaff

We’ve not had a great deal of time to look out for the wildlife this week, what with being in the middle of preparation for our Fun Day – there’s an oxymoron when you’re up to your eyes in prep! It’s this Friday, 8th July, 12-4pm if you want to come along. But we have seen and heard several ospreys fishing over the lochs. Ospreys have an odd call- its a penetrating but surprisingly small sound to come from such a big bird, and sounds like it should be coming from something much smaller, like a wader or passerine. They also have a very distinctive profile, with a sharply-bent wing joint to help hover in search of fish.

Feet dangling, head down

Feet dangling, head down

Always looking down into the water

Always looking down into the water

Osprey hovering

Osprey hovering

Osprey hovering

Osprey hovering

Osprey hovering

Osprey hovering

We’ve also seen our first adder in ages this week, spotting a very shy male in the grass.

Adder basking on a rock

Adder basking on a rock

But, as we said, most of this week has been take up with prep for the Fun Day. Here are some pics from last year’s Fun Day….maybe they’ll inspire you to come and see us and try your hand at bird box making…or have your face painted…or make something fun in the craft stalls….or listen to local tales from the storyteller…or win at antler hoopla….the list goes on!

Many of our younger visitors (and a few of our older ones!) had a go at assembling a wooden pencil holder during the fun day.

Many of our younger visitors (and a few of our older ones!) had a go at assembling a wooden pencil holder during the fun day.

Hands-on specimens at the fun day (not a live owl!)

Hands-on specimens at the fun day (not a live owl!)

Fun day craft stall

Our craft stall was very popular this year with lots of colourful creations leaving with our visitors.

 

 

 

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