What a busy week! We’ve hardly had chance to look at the wildlife this week, what with hung-up trees, grass needing cut, contracts needing let and quarterly reporting needing done. Unfortunately, although it may look like it, it’s not all sunny days and watching wildlife….but you don’t have to go far at Dinnet to see something! The devil’s bit scabious flowers are starting to go over and the bees are frantically topping up on nectar before the flowers fade or we get frosts to kill them off.
Mind you, it doesn’t look like we’re at any risk of frosts any time soon. It’s been incredibly hot and humid this week. Unpleasantly humid for us – according to the weather station, the lowest the humidity fell to last week was 67 % and it was generally above 80%. That may not be a lot of fun if you’re cutting grass or wearing chainsaw gear – awfully sweaty work – but the toads have been loving it. There are tiny toadlets all over the reserve just now – I even had to evict one for the office!
The young great crested grebes are getting bigger all the time. They seem to be feeding themselves more or less all the time now- this is the first week we haven’t seen an adult feeding a fish to one of the youngsters. One of them begged for food from the adult but was ignored, so started diving and looking for food itself . I bet a lot of parents feel like that… “look, you’re perfectly capable just doing it yourself, so just get on with it!”
The grebes aren’t the only youngsters on the lochs to be getting big. Two of this year’s cygnets were feeding just beside the grebes.
And we spotted – just- another two of this year’s young animals down at Bogingore. These two roe deer fawns were quite well grown but were beautifully camouflaged in the long, yellowing grass. Do you remember those books you used to get, where, if you stared at an abstract image long enough, you’d see pictures? (I could never see them and suspected they were just making it up). It was a bit like that- is that shadow in the grass a deer – or isn’t it?
The adders have been hard to spot this week as well -they’ve been lurking in the deep grass.
We had a day away from the reserve on Wednesday, getting together with the rest of our Tayside and Grampian colleagues at Glen Clova. It’s a rare chance to have us all in one place and catch up with what’s happening in other areas, and well done to the organisers- we know that getting us in one place is like herding cats! We also brought cake –lots of it, and very nice it was too, thank you to the bakers- as it was the last such meeting for one of us. Ewen, who has been with NCC and then SNH for 40 years, retires soon and will be sadly missed. But I’m hoping to persuade him to do the odd article for the blog, so watch this space….
Oh course, the downside of a group meeting is that someone’s bound to have a camera to catch you doing something incriminating. In this case, it was my turn. “Daryl, there’s a huge mozzie on your neck!”
Snap! And here’s a picture of me looking like I’m slapping my colleague round the head!
Finally, we’ve got a photo-fest to finish off this week’s blog. Mary, one of our volunteers, who you may have seen on the blog rescuing frogspawn, or helping clear up fly tipping, was given a glider trip last Christmas, Well, she finally took advantage of it this week from the Deeside Gliding Club at Aboyne. That’s just down the road from us and the gliders are a constant presence over the reserve on fine days. They have a surprisingly huge range – they can easily reach the north of Scotland and have an altitude record of 38,000 feet (yes, thirty eight THOUSAND feet). Mary was staying a bit closer to the ground and requested she could have a soar over the reserve – so here are her photos from the air!