Muir of Dinnet NNR – Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot

What a week it’s been. Sunny and warm, and a lot of the birds are feeding youngsters just now. We started the week by spotting these young lapwing in the fields. Like all wader chicks, they are active from hatching, and have quite a turn of speed on those long legs.

Lapwing chick

lapwing chick and adult

We also saw this female song thrush with a huge worm, doubtless being taken back to the nest for her brood.

Song thrush with worm

We had a lot of rain overnight on Monday. Boy, did it rain, and the trees were needing it too. Tuesday morning was perfect, with a pale blue sky and the world looking washed clean. Then, of course, I switched on the news and it wasn’t perfect any more.  It seemed a lot of people wanted to go for a walk that day, to get some fresh air…people seem to need something calm and beautiful to clean their minds of the madness that sometimes infects our world.

The smell of the hot pinewood is wonderful

The song thrush isn’t the only one with youngsters. The goldeneye have ducklings as of this week, and they are awfully cute. Yes, I admit, as a naturalist, cute shouldn’t matter…but they are, aren’t they?

Goldeneye with ducklings

They nearly got dive-bombed from above. The ospreys have been fishing and we were lucky enough to see this one hunting. He’s not interested in the goldeneye, but in any fish below them! He missed twice before grabbing a good-sized pike and heading off.


Osprey, diving feet down




…and away

Catch of the day

We have also spent a bit of time setting up a trail camera to try and capture some of our more elusive wildlife. We’ve had some success over the years, with camera “captures” ranging from capercaillie and red squirrel, to woodpigeon and great Dane (it had escaped from it’s owner).  We’re after small mammals this time and are trying, ambitiously, to capture water shrew. We know they’re here- we’ve found dead ones- but have never seen a live one. Watch this space to find out how we get on…

Setting up a trail camera

While walking back from setting up the camera, our luck was on the lottery-winning scale. A woodcock got up from under our feet- and seemed to be carrying something! It didn’t fly very far before it landed, still in view, and shuffled and flapped around, before taking off again. Now, I’ve never seen a woodcock act like that- every time, ever, I’ve startled one into the air, they take off and weave away through the trees.  But there is an old story, that woodcock carry their chicks away between their legs when startled…and I think we were lucky enough to see it! I’m glad there were two of us there, or it might have been put down as having too much sun!

Woodcock behaving strangely- we think it was carrying chicks

Needless to say, the camera wasn’t out in time, but we did catch the bird flapping, then found another bird sat still in the grass. They have the most wonderful camouflage – you can be yards away and just not see them. Their habits are still poorly- known…they are cryptic, nocturnal and secretive ….but isn’t it wonderful to have such a “mystery” bird around?


Woodcock in close -up

And finally- we’ve decided to take in the whiteboard pens. Just for the weekend….just in case!

We’re taking the “What About” board pens in til after the cup final tomorrow….



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