The Joys of Meadow Walking and an Important Announcement

The upper wildflower meadow in the old Kinord fields is simply teeming with 6 spot Burnet moths right now. The abundant birds food trefoil has provided the perfect stage for its hungry caterpillars to thrive and the glossy black and red adults have a bounty of tufted vetch and common knapweed to feed on.

According to Homer the Elysian Fields were a beautiful meadow in the Underworld where the favoured of Zeus enjoyed perfect happiness.

I believe I was there yesterday. You may think of us as a woodland reserve with two glorious lochs at our heart but right now the reserve is carpeted in flower rich grassland. Meeting up with the Cairngorms National Park to map the extent of our aspen woodland took us up into the higher fields of Old Kinord and revealed a stunning visual spectacle – a field full of colourful flowers, filled with fluttering petals. So we indulged in a spot of meadow walking. There is something uniquely joyful about watching waves of wind sculpt the long grasses while Skylark soar overhead.

Skylark
A throng of oxeye daisy and knapweed and lady’s bedstraw
Often growing in swathes along a roadside or field margin, the oxeye daisy is just as at home in traditional hay meadows. The large, cheerful, white, daisy-like flowers are easy to identify. The petal-plucking game, ‘He loves me; he loves me not’, is thought to have started with the oxeye daisy.

Ladybirds are instantly recognisable, but could you recognise their larvae. Nestled within the daisy head is the larvae of a 7 spot lady bird. Ladybirds are nature’s pest controllers. Many ladybirds eat aphids such as blackfly and greenfly but their larvae are also keen predators, with some eating up to 100 aphids a day.

Every step through the waist high sward is accompanied by the chirruping of grasshopper and the billowing of small heath, common blue and Dark Green Fritillary butterflies.

The common green grasshopper can be found in damp, unimproved pastures and meadows throughout summer. Males can be seen displaying to females by rubbing their legs against their wings to create a ‘song’ – in this case, it is a long, loud, ‘churring’ noise. After mating, the eggs are laid in the soil ready to hatch the following spring.
The warm brown hue of the grassy meadow on the north shore of Loch Kinord will soon be replaced by the vibrant rich yellow of ragwort.
Musk mallow peppers this grassland. Though not normally a massive fan of pink in wildflowers there is something about the showiness of the mallow family that really wins me over. It lives up to its name, producing a delicate, musky smell that increases indoors.
Mating small heath butterfly
Common blue butterfly. I have seen more common blues here this year than ever before.
Male Dark Green Fritillary butterflies basking in the sun
A rather tatty Northern Brown Argus butterfly perched and ready to mate. This tiny member of the blue butterfly family have surrealy pretty faces.
One of three discovered colonies of Northern Brown Argus Butterfly

Bee beetles wrestling flirtatiously on the Dog rose of the field margins

Around the visitor center we have had a procession of cute fledgling birds with a cohort of 3 young blackbirds.

These 3 sibling blackbirds appear to be rather in cahoots

Now onto the Important announcement.

New Kinord is a small informal car park outside the National Nature Reserve which is only accessible by way of a private track.  Dinnet & Kinord Estate have tolerated vehicle access by the public along this track for a number of years but increasing levels of use have made that untenable.

They have therefore taken the decision to close the track to vehicles, other than for residents or other permitted users.  This will take place on Friday the 29/07/2022.

We were consulted on the change and understand the reasons why the estate have taken this decision.

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