It’s that time of year again – when the arrival of spring migrants lifts everyone’s spirits. This week, I saw and heard my first Blackcap in the Perthshire Wildlife garden – singing at the same time as a Willow warbler! Both of these tiny birds have flown thousands of miles from their wintering grounds to the south.
And on a trip to Aberfeldy yesterday, I heard a twittering that sounded like Swallow song. Starlings can sometimes imitate other bird song, so I was excited to see that it really was a pair of Swallows flitting overhead!
On driving south via Glen Cochill towards Dunkeld, I saw Black grouse, Curlew, Meadow pipits and Stonechat – so a great day’s birding!
Hopefully it’s only two weeks till our first swifts arrive – they are usually here between the 5th and 7th of May. Their excited screaming calls, as they fly at top speed around the buildings where they nest, is one of the quintessential sounds of summer.
Keep your eyes open for new arrivals and let us know what you spot on social media – we are @PerthshireWildlife on Facebook and @PerthshireWild on Twitter. Daniele
It’s the 3rd of January and we have already spotted our first snowdrop in bloom in the Perthshire Wildlife HQ garden. It has been a very mild winter so far (mostly) and as well as early snowdrops, the daffodil leaves are a few inches tall (no flowers yet though). We saw both Gorse and Red campion in flower in NE Fife on New Year’s Day.
We wish you a very happy new year and hope to see you on one of our wildlife experiences this year. We offer a range of walks, tours and safaris (see the events page) and also offer bespoke tours and walks. Just get in touch with Daniele to have a chat about where you would like to go or what wildlife you’d like to see and we will arrange it for you. With over 20 years experience of working as a Ranger & Wildlife Guide and having led hundreds of wildlife walks and events, you’ll be in the best possible hands.
We look forward to speaking to you soon! Tel 07984 975095 or e-mail email@example.com
We are currently working on the Community Sustainable Drainage System (SUDS) Ponds Project, which is run through the Tayside Biodiversity Partnership and with funding from Angus Environmental Trust. This involves working with landowners and volunteers to improve ponds for wildlife, especially amphibians. It also includes a workshop to make wildlife-ladders to enable wildlife which fall into roadside gullypots, escape up the ladder and avoid a horrible death from drowning or starvation.
I first discovered the hazard to wildlife from gullypots when I worked as a Ranger with a local authority, and consequently ran a three-year project to investigate the scale of the problem. The results showed that gullypots present a huge problem to wildlife, especially small mammals and amphibians, with thousands of animals getting trapped and dying in gullypots every year. We then trialled wildlife kerbs, to see if this special design would enable the animals to bypass the danger zone of the gullypot and consequently escape off the road via a dropped kerb.
There is a video of the project, which involved the local school and Tayside Contracts gullypot cleaners here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7j-jQ9hYh3Q&feature=youtu.be
The wildlife kerbs seem to be working well but wildlife still falls into gullypots where there aren’t kerbs on the road and we needed to develop another method to solve this problem. Ravon in the Netherlands had also been trying to find a solution to the problem for a few years and had been trialling a ladder design. Trevor Rose from Friends of Angus Herpetofauna took this design and further developed it to make the amphibian ladder! These are bits of metal joined together to fit the gullypot exactly, and covered with a material that wildlife can grip on to and consequently climb up to escape from the drain (see picture below). We are running the amphibian-ladder making workshop in Murthly on November the 3rd and everyone is welcome to join us (under 16s must be accompanied by an adult). Our perfect pond management days will take place on 29th Sep, 13th Oct & 18th Nov and again, everyone is welcome. Ponds need regular management to prevent vegetation filling the pond – ideally there should be 50% open water in a pond and amphibians need open water in which to spawn. Please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like more information and to book your place. Daniele
Thanks to Angus Environmental Trust for funding & Tayside Contracts for their assistance in opening up blocked gullypots!
Amphibian ladder, photo by Catherine Lloyd.
Well, we haven’t been keeping up with doing regular blogs as hoped but we have been very busy with beaver tours, school visits, guided walks and carrying out research into wildlife and buildings…… Last night we had a fabulous Beaver Canoe Safari on the River Tay very close to Perth City Centre, with lots of wildlife sightings, beautiful birdsong and wonderful weather.
We even got quite close to at least two beavers, which can be seen in these films:
Our lovely clients said that even if we hadn’t seen any beavers it would have been a wonderful experience. It’s certainly a very peaceful and calming way to take part in wildlife watching. We hope you’ll join us to experience Perthshire’s amazing wildlife soon! Please contact Daniele on email@example.com to arrange something.
Beaver Canoe Safari on the River Tay
With the ‘Beast from the East’ bringing very cold temperatures and lots of snow, our wildlife will be finding it very difficult to find enough food to eat just to stay alive. Did you know a Blue tit can lose 5% of its body weight overnight as it uses the fat it has built up during the day to keep it warm during the cold night?
We can do a lot to help our wildlife at these times – of course feeding the birds a variety of different food will make a huge difference, as most of their usual food is hidden underneath deep snow. But nest boxes can also be lifesavers. They can provide a safe and secure space where lots of birds can huddle together so they don’t lose so much heat.
We have a whole host of wildlife feeding in Perthshire Wildlife HQ garden just now, with a few additions to the usual. These include Fieldfares, Redpolls, Bramblings, a wild rat, 2 cheeky rabbits (eating more hen food than the hens), a Song thrush, a parliament of rooks (lots of rooks), as well as the usual robins, blackbirds, siskins, chaffinches, tree and house sparrows, dunnocks, blue, great & coal tits, starlings, jackdaws, woodpigeons and collared doves.
The wider the variety of food you offer, the wider the variety of wildlife you will attract.
Fingers crossed for a thaw soon as the cost of bird food soon mounts up!