Here, there, everywhere

Hello! Apologies for the lack of posts on the Loch Leven blog, fortunately Jeremy did one whilst I was away. “Where have you been?” I hear you ask, so I’ll tell you…

On Sunday the 5th I headed up north on my way to Creag Meagaidh NNR, which was covered in a brilliant guest blog post by Jo. Whilst I was up there we did a lot of fence removal in order to create an uninterrupted landscape from lochside to mountaintop, and did some non-native tree removal to allow the native upland birch forest to re-establish itself.

We also took part in some of the deer-management practice and fed all the animals each morning. But, whilst doing all of this I couldn’t help but spot some of the wildlife that lives on the reserve and enjoy the spectacular surrounding scenery.

I actually took a little detour on the way up to check out some other NNRs, and stopped off at Glenmore and Craigellachie. Glenmore is an amazing place with its remnant Caledonian Forest supporting some really special species. This pine forest is what would have covered a lot of highland Scotland before man cut it all down.

Craigellachie is also an ancient forest but it is a birch forest. Whilst it perhaps doesn’t look all that full of life at this time of year I can assure you it is brimming with life in Spring and Summer, which aren’t too far away… Plus Craigellachie is right behind Aviemore and makes a perfect place to stop off for a wee walk whilst on a journey further north.

But, why haven’t I blogged earlier this week? I left Creag Meagaidh on Saturday so I’ve had plenty of time. Well, I’ve actually been away at another NNR for the past couple of days. This time it was Tentsmuir NNR, where I was assisting with the planting of a new reedbed. It was a mucky job but we got it done in just a day! It probably helped that there was 10 of us all digging holes and tearing apart the tubers of the reeds for them to be planted across the two areas that we were in.

The reason for planting this reedbed is for it to function in the same way as the reedbed that we have at Carsehall. Ours was planted to act as a filter for run-off from the surrounding agricultural land, which may contain higher levels of nutrients than we want in the water of Loch Leven. Hopefully in a few years I’ll be able to visit again and the reedbed I helped plant will be as well developed as ours, and the water quality of Morton Lochs will be perfect!

Speaking of Carsehall, Jeremy’s been out all week with the Softrak cutting back the thick rushes that are almost choking Carsehall Bog. The cutting and removal of all of this dense vegetation should allow other, less vigorous plants to get a foothold without being shaded out by the rushes. Plants such as the splendid Lesser Butterfly-orchid which you’ll hopefully be able to see from the path when it starts flowering in May-July.

(STOP PRESS: Just seen this on the Scottish Natural Heritage Facebook page, very apt)

We’re also hoping that some of this lot decide it’s now a suitable place for them to breed and raise their young…

p1090768

No, not the Golden Plovers. The Lapwings will hopefully spot Carsehall Bog with its abundant insects that enjoy the damp conditions and the sheltered spots where they can hide their nests from predators.

Elsewhere around the loch, there are a few signs of Spring being around the corner. I heard my first singing Skylark of the year on Tuesday, there are a few flowers brightening up the sheltered corners of the reserve, I saw a couple of Kestrels that appeared to have paired up, and the weather hasn’t been all that bad (except today, it’s very foggy today).

I’m keeping busy next week but sticking to my own reserve so I can keep you up to date with everything that’s going on around the reserve for the whole week. We’ve got some hedgelaying, an outing with the volunteers and the usual smorgasbord of tasks around the reserve. Until then, cheers for reading!

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