Lifting Lockdown – Muir of Dinnet NNR

So, that’s the first full week back at work post-lockdown done, and it’s been a busy one. With having an outdoor site with, oooh, lots of miles of paths that haven’t been maintained  since March, we have one helluva lot of strimming to do. We’re on it, but it will probably be towards the end of next week until we get caught up with it…until then, sorry about the long, probably wet grass!

Bracken strimmed down

We’re also running as fast as we can to get the public toilets reopened too. With requiring enhanced cleaning regimes, we are having to seek out contractors who can clean daily, but we are hoping to reopen these soon. Ditto the visitor centre, though we have had to remove some of the fun stuff in the short -term…until it’s safe for people to touch again.

If you gotta go -bury it!

We’re also spending a fair bit of time patrolling and talking to people. As we all know, Muir of Dinnet is a beautiful place and lots of people want to come here…and even more this year because we can’t go anywhere else yet. But, unfortunately, as we have seen in headlines all over the UK, there are those who’s selfish attitudes spoil places for everyone, be it through irresponsible camping, fires, litter or human waste. We’re doing our best to keep on top of these but we aren’t the police  and can’t ‘make’ someone do (or not do) something…much to our frustration as well.

Funny how it’s much heavier to carry out empty, than in when it’s full, isn’t it?

Our least favourite creature on the reserve is the ‘litterbug’. Sadly, unlike midgies, you’re not allowed to swat them.

Litter found in the loch and buried in the bracken

But it has been wonderful to get out and about (even if it is cutting grass!) to see some of our wildlife. High summer is often one of our quieter times for wildlife…young birds are keeping their heads down and many adult birds are in moult. It takes up a lot of energy, growing new feathers, so they keep quiet just now.

The ducks are moulting out of all their finery now.

Moulting geese produce a LOT of feathers!

Roe deer have young- fawns- too. They are nigh-on impossible to see in the long grass and I always could myself lucky so see one. They rut in July, too, and both males and females sport a russet-red coat at this time of year.

Roe with fawn

No adders yet…the long grass makes them very difficult to see even if they are there….but  this lizard was sunning itself on the wall one day.

Adult lizard basking

And the lilies round the loch still look lovely, too.

White water lily

One of the reasons the grass is growing so much it that it’s been warm and wet. Very wet, especially on Wednesday, when we had a couple of hours of apocalyptic rain in the afternoon – the sort that drenches you even as you dash between the sheds.

Digging ‘grips’ beside the path …in the rain

We’ll be out and about on-site this weekend (though hopefully not in the rain). Like many other sites this year, we are being supported in our work by the Cairngorms National Park seasonal rangers. Nicola, Vicky, Lianne and Polly are active across Deeside and will be keen to welcome visitors to sites, helping them have a safe and enjoyable visit and sharing information with them about how to follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, especially leaving no trace. If you seem them or us out and about, please say hi…we’re always glad to talk to the nice visitors (who leave no trace) rather than just the ones who do!

Cairngorms National Park rangers

Cairngorms National Park rangers

 

 

 

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