I’ve had the privilege of being on not one but three of our NNR’s this week. Ok, one of those days was a day trip to the Isle of May…but, if you’ve never been, go, it’s fantastic! I’ll admit, I’ve been lazy and never gone before…we’re rather spoiled for seabirds in the north-east… and I’d just never got round to it. So, although it’s getting late in the year for the puffins, we had a trip over and a tour of the island. I’d recommend it- a great boat trip out of Anstruther with a knowledgeable crew, fascinating social history and, of course, wonderful wildlife.
Back at Dinnet, it has been starting to feel like autumn. Oh, we’ve had some wonderful days- the temperature has mostly been above 20 degrees daytime- but the mornings have just felt…well, autumn-y. The mist was hanging in the valley several days this week and often too until 9 or 10 am to clear.
The dew is soaking the cobwebs in the mornings too.
The toads are liking the damp mornings. We’re starting to see lots of tiny “toadlets” going around. These will have been tadpoles (toadpoles?) earlier in the year but have now grown up to the point they can leave the water. You can see how tiny this one is by my size 5’s next to it!
And the adders are getting slower at getting up in the mornings as well. We’re starting to see more of them again- five on Tuesday- all looking freshly shed. They are probably well-fed snakes indulging in a bit of late season basking….any hungry adders won’t be hanging about, they’ll be on the hunt!
They’d better watch out for the buzzards. There are several young buzzards flying over the reserve just now, “keeee-ow-ing” in a very wheezy tone of voice. But it won’t be long until they learn to hunt for themselves and an adder can make a decent, if rather risky, meal for a buzzard.
It won’t be long now until we won’t see any redstarts until next year…they’ll be joining the swallows in heading for Africa very soon. They are one of my favourite birds…so might as well enjoy them ’til then!
Another bird that will be heading south soon is this young cuckoo. The adults will all have headed away in July but their young…who never see their parents and are raised by non- migratory meadow pipits….will follow them in the next few weeks. It’s one of the miracles of nature, that these birds can migrate several thousand miles on instinct alone. Having said that, the meadow pipit “parent” of this cuckoo will be better off when its “offspring” leaves. These small birds run themselves ragged trying to keep up with the huge and voracious appetites of the cuckoo chick…but the parenting instinct is so strong, they just have to feed it, even if it should be obvious that it’s not a meadow pipit!
The Scotch argus butterflies are taking advantage of the late-season flowers. One of their favourites is the devil’s bit scabious. Look out for these on the purple flowers if you do visit the reserve.
….and, if you do visit, and fancy a bit of sunbathing, you won’t be the only one! This robin had a bath in rainwater caught on top of the trailer tarpaulin, then had a good sunbathe to dry out!