Muir of Dinnet NNR- Moths and Mallards

It’s been another fairly mixed week on the reserve and I’ll be glad when this blasted humidity breaks- very warm and sticky all week. Still, that’s great weather for the moths and they have been out in force when a trap has been set. Last week’s count was 45 species and over 200 individual moths…in one night, in one trap.

Gold spot moth

Spectacle moth

The bell heather is out and almost going over- but the ling heather is almost out to replace it. We can expect purple hill for the next few weeks.

Bell heather in close-up

Late summer is also the time the bluebells come out. I grew up calling these “bluebells” or “Scottish bluebells” but an alternative name is harebell. It may even occasionally be called “witch’s bells”, possibly because of the belief that witches could turn into hares – or vice versa.

Bluebells

Bluebell flowers

The harebells aren’t the only thing coming out. Fungi are popping up everywhere in the warm, humid weather. The red and white fly agarics are the classic fairytale mushroom…but it wouldn’t be a case of “happily ever after” for the flies. The mushrooms were soaked in saucers of milk to poison flies.

Fly agaric

In spite of it still being July – just- signs of autumn are creeping in everywhere. The numbers of ducks, especially mallards, are starting to go up on the lochs. They mallards all look pretty sorry for themselves right now,  what with being in “eclipse”- their dull, dowdy non-breeding plumage. Compare these spring males with how they look just now.

Male mallards in breeding plumage

In eclipse

And, this week, we’ve seen the very first signs of the trees turning. A few trees in drier places are just starting to yellow slightly at the tips. Unlike this rowan, which has one branch already showing spectacular autumn reds- even if the rest of the tree is green, with not-yet-ripe berries.

Some tree leaves on the tips of branches are just starting to turn autumnal- especially if the tree is in a dry place and drought-stressed

The rest of the tree is still green, with as-yet unripe rowans.

Willow’s also been out with the camera trap again. This time, she set it up on a fallen tree over a burn. These are often good spots, because wildlife doesn’t like to get its feet wet either….it may be a fallen tree to us, but to them it’s a bridge.  And there’s been quite a bit of success! Even if you come and see us, you’d do well to spot all of the things on the camera…but give it a go!

Mallard duck

Dipper

blackbird

Mystery beast after dark…badger? Looks the right shape.

Young water rail. These birds are rarely seen but often heard. If you ever hear a squeal that sounds like a pig being killed in a reedbed, it’ll be a water rail.

Song thrush

Wood pigeon

The prize shot- pine marten! The first one we’ve ever captured on camera here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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