Spring up in the Strathspey has been more of a slump. But as we edge towards Summer we are getting there! Trees are becoming green, birds have been arriving, plants are beginning to grow and the midgies are….well, on a more positive note the Goldeneye have been busy around Loch Alvie.
Goldeneye are a very distinct diving duck that nests in holes in trees (yup it’s a strange one). Around Loch Alvie there are 14 nest boxes set up for these creatures which are being monitored by The Highland Council, Countryside Rangers. Over the past month these boxes have been hoatching with birds and eggs. The total egg count to date is 148 eggs with 6 boxes housing incubating female Goldeneye. Wowza, that’s a good haul! Hopefully I will be able to update you in my next post with some lovely good news stories of Goldeneye chicks.
Alongside this I have been here, there and everywhere with events. From pretending to be a dragon and scaring children with fire extinguishers to dressing up as a bird watching Gruffalo, where I was almost foiled because I was wearing the same walking boots as he was (children are just too observant).
SNH Creag Meagaidh, with the help of local artist in residence Alasdair McMorrine, ran art workshops with local primary schools. Alasdair taught the pupils of Gergask and Spean Bridge Primary the steps and skills involved in print making. The children created fabulous images of iconic and powerful animals found throughout Scotland, with Stags and Eagles being a favourite amongst the youngsters. As well as printing the children were taken on a guided walk of Creag Meagaidh NNR where they identified a range of birds, plants and trees found on site. Luckily the weather for both days was spectacular and the children thoroughly enjoyed both aspects of the day.
The local primary school of Gergask have been getting nature lessons once a week with countryside ranger Duncan MacDonald. The schools nature projects started by looking at the water cycle and pond life which then developed into learning about animal migration journeys and will be finishing up with the whole school venturing out to visit RSPB Loch Garten to view and learn all about Ospreys.
Laggan Forest Trust invited Neil Foote from Backcountry Survival to Strathmashie Forest, where he ran two survival skills courses within the forest. Neil has a fountain of knowledge when it comes to fires, shelters, food for free and general useful tips for staying outdoors. The children learned about all the useful trees, plants and foods that could be found within the forest. They then built shelters and created fires with only sparks from a fire steel to get them going.
That’s a lot of news and stories for now, I didn’t realise quite so much had been happening and that I had so much to say until I started typing…