Muir of Dinnet NNR – Holiday Fun

It must be summer- that’s the schools broken up for the next seven (seven!!!!) weeks and the Fun Day has happened. We weren’t blessed with particularly good weather ….but we were still really, really busy! I must admit I was surprised how many people came out on a day of occasionally tipping rain- but it did seem a good time was had by all. And, as always, thanks to all who came along and helped out on the day- we couldn’t do it without you!

We were really busy in spite of the rain

The biodiversity stall, run by our old friend and colleague Ewen

Making oil lamps

Making bird boxes. No fingers were harmed in the making of this box.

Decision time in the tea tent – chocolate truffles or cupcakes?

Some of the Fun Day team, all looking rather soggy

At least we were under cover in the tents. But, of course, the downside of getting your tents wet is that you have to dry them before you can pack them away….otherwise they go horribly foosty and start growing nasty-smelling things. So Monday found us strewing wet canvas over anything that didn’t move- and eyeing the sky, daring it to rain again.

The aftermath of the fun day- trying to get tents dry!

We caught this glorious garden tiger moth in the moth trap for the Fun Day, for part of the biodiversity display. If you think he looks impressive and want to find out more about moths, our next event is all about the Marvellous Moths you find here. It’s on the 20th of July, 10-12.30. Give me a call at the visitor centre on 013398 81667 if you’d like to book on. And it’s free!

Garden tiger moth

As well as moths, there are quite a few butterflies in evidence just now. The commonest are the brown ringlets, so-called for the rings surrounding the spots on their underwing.

Ringlet butterfly

But the small heaths are also out in force too. If you see a small orange butterfly in a grassy place just now, there’s a good chance it’s a small heath.

Small heath butterfly

Out on the reserve, there are still quite a few young birds appearing. Some of these will be second, or even third broods and some will just be late starters. This mistle thrush is newly fledged – you can still see fluffy down on it – and will be a second-brood bird.

Begging for food

Whereas these goldeneye will just be late starters. We saw our first baby goldeneye over a month ago but there were two relatively new broods on the loch this week. One brood of four we startled out of the bushes at the side of the loch and the babies took off, almost running on the surface of the water. When they’re that tiny, there’s no weight to them, so when they paddle-cum-sprint across the loch, they aquaplane in the cutest fashion.

Aquaplaning baby goldeneye

Goldeneye ducklings

These swans have been hatched for a while but have been keeping well out of the way somewhere. I hadn’t seen a swan at all on Davan the last few times I’d been down, but this family of four must have been hiding in the reeds.

Mute swan family

The baby grebe is getting bigger and its parents have finally decided that it’s time for it to be swimming about, rather than hitching a ride on their backs.

Stripy face!

All this raising babies is hard work. This male redstart is no longer the dapper, immaculate bird he was in early May. He’s looking rather worn by now!

A rather worn-looking male redstart

Also looking a bit worn is this water lily. They’ve been out for a while and gradually get beaten-up by the wind and waves on the lochs. So, if you want to see them while they’re still  looking good, better come and visit us sooner rather than later!

Water lily




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