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WELCOME TO THE SPEYSIDE WILDLIFE BLOG

Including our Evening Mammal Hide reports, seasonal updates and holiday trip reports.

 

April in the Cairngorms

April showers of the white kind carpeted the Cairngorm National Park this April. We had all four seasons in one month and our wildlife had to cope with the ever-changing weather as we head into breeding season. Calm and sunny days (with a chill in the air) followed by wind and snow made this diverse landscape look different every day. Caught out in a snow storm Red Squirrel carrying nesting materials to the drey Just when our birds and mammals think it is Spring, the snow fel

March in the Cairngorms

Although many of you have not had the chance to visit the area for obvious reasons, we hope these blogs keep you up to date and excited about your next visit to the area. March has been an unseasonably mild month with blue skies for days, plenty of signs of spring appearing and birds singing from treetops in the Speyside area. Even staying close to home, walks to local lochans and through our varied woodlands, wildlife has been active and stopping me in my tracks to admire an

Spring Signs at the Wildlife Hide

The wildlife around our wildlife hide has spring in their steps and activity levels are beginning to increase. As the last of the birds like Song Thrush and Robin sing their evening song the Tawny Owls have been heard from nearby woods, getting ready for the breeding season ahead. Time for dinner! After the previous blog, the Badgers have been showing signs of breeding as the whole clan venture out in search of food. The females tend to arrive first for an early bite before t

Garden Wildlife and the Big Garden Birdwatch

With the cold weather, we have been experiencing and snow on the ground our wildlife often uses our garden for refuge. Providing food, shelter, and water for them can help to get them through the winter months. As mentioned in a previous blog, tailoring the right food to the bird that visits your garden can attract more. Finches such as Goldfinch love nyjer seeds, sunflower hearts are less messy and a great alternative to mixed seeds and peanuts are readily available and grea

Footprints in the Snow

There is nothing quite like waking up to a blanket of snow that has fallen overnight. The dull browns of the winter countryside are now shining and bright white. Watching wildlife in the winter can be harder with short daylight hours, birds calling less and weather not always on our side. However, wildlife is still around although we can’t always see it. Unless you see them in mud or sand, animal footprints can be hard to find but exciting to know what animals are in your gar

July in the Cairngorms

With travel restrictions relaxed here in Scotland, we have been able to explore the Cairngorms in July. Being the height of summer, the countryside and wildlife that is here is thriving and there has been lots to discover and explore in the area. The green scenery has been shown off in the dappled sunshine and rain showers have boosted the growth of wildflowers. Round-leaved Sundew Sundew plant with flower above As the bog cotton, mentioned in the previous blog disappears, th

Feeding Young at the Wildlife Hide

As June comes to an end, we update on the activity at the wildlife hide over the past couple of weeks. With the longest day falling last week, it has given a great opportunity for seeing the wildlife in daylight whilst watching the sun go down, creating some impressive sunsets over the distant hills. Tawny Owlet On an early evening stroll nearby to the hide, this young Tawny Owl was screeching in the dense forest and was not startled by the presence of a human, managing a cou

Badger Cubs at the Wildlife Hide

With the warmer weather and light nights, we look at the activity at the wildlife hide over the past couple of weeks. It’s not always just about the mammals seen round the hide, as previously mentioned there has been lot of bird activity as breeding continues. Swallow With the first week being very mild and sunny, the evenings were alive with fresh midges and flies around the abundance of trees surrounding the area. This meant that passerines such as Swifts, House Martins and

April in the Cairngorms

April has been unseasonably warm and dry as I am sure a lot of us appreciate as we spend more time at home or outside. This does mean that in the Cairngorms there have been some interesting wildlife sightings by our guides as we notice the wildlife on our doorsteps with the mild southern winds drawing in summer migrants. Cuckoo (Simon Eaves) As we spend time home we are noticing, more than ever, the wildlife on our doorsteps. The dawn chorus of birds has been starting before

Bhutan – Part Two

Bhutan is split into 19 districts, each of which is administered from a Dzong, or fortified monastery. These are hugely important structures, most of which date back to the 17th Century and as well as being important structures they are also very beautiful. They have commanding positions in the landscape and we were very lucky to visit perhaps the most beautiful of them all, Punakha Dzong. This sits at the confluence of two rivers, the Father and the Mother. From crossing

Bhutan- Land of the Thunder Dragon – Part One

When I was a small boy, growing up in the Borders, my father and I shared a passion for geography, maps in particular. We had in the house an enormous Reader’s Digest Atlas, green and gold and to me it was a door to endless adventures. We used to pour over this together exploring landscapes in far off lands, following mighty rivers, looking at place-names and it was on one of these explorations that I “discovered” Bhutan. I remember asking my father what he knew about Bhut

Bird of the Month – Song Thrush

As part of daily bird song live videos on our Facebook page, we also introduce you to garden bird species that you can hopefully look for in your own gardens. Each month we will share a garden bird with you on our blog. Some interesting facts, ways to identify them and of course their song. The first of these is the Song Thrush. The Song Thrush is a prominent bird in many of our gardens all year but especially Spring. For me, it’s a real sign that spring has arrived. They wil

Attracting Wildlife and Involving Children

Each month, we will be giving you simple ideas of how to attract and help the wildlife in your garden or wild spaces. We hope that these ideas will get children involved, but of course are suitable for all ages. With spring officially here and birds in full song, we will be focusing this month of how we can help them as they begin breeding. These simple ideas can be done with things lying around in your sheds or homes. Female Greenfinch enjoying sunflower hearts You may notic

March in the Cairngorms

March has been a month of firsts. First spring arrival, first flowers appearing, first day of spring. It has been mild most of the month and the birds are getting into their dawn choruses as we head into breeding season. The clocks have jumped an hour forward, seeing the start of the lighter longer days. Though we start April not being able to explore and enjoy the outdoors as much as we may like, there are still things we can be looking out for. Frog Spawn Common Frog Common

Taking Time to Experience Wildlife

Whether you are at home or out on your daily walk, wildlife experiences can happen anytime and can often brighten up your day. It may just simply be watching the birds visiting your feeders or unexpected wildlife encounters that put a smile on your face. Here are simple ways that you can take time in your day to see and hear the wildlife that surround us all. Red Squirrel joining for a seat The weather can be unpredictable in Britain, so any chance that you can get outside wi

Nature on your Doorstep

As the weather is beginning to change and the spring equinox is upon us, days begin to get longer, and we are noticing changes everywhere. It is great to get out and explore different places, but sometimes just noticing what is on our doorstep can help us feel connected to nature. I want to share with you what I am noticing in my ‘local patch’ and ways that you can do the same in yours. Goldfinch outside kitchen window (Kate M) No matter what your own view is outside your kit

Surprise Sighting and Snowy Tracks – Wildlife Hide

The Cairngorms is getting colder and at the wildlife hide the first of the snow arrived last week. The change in weather also means a shift in the activity levels of all mammals. They have stocked up on their food supplies for the cold weather, meaning they can spend the coldest evenings tucked up in their dens or setts. Pine Marten tracks in the snow (Kate M) The morning after a night of snow, it is a great time to get yourself out for a morning walk and look for signs of an

British Columbia 2019 with Roy Atkins and Julian Sykes

Pod of Orcas (Julian Sykes) We set out into Johnstone Straight with high hopes that we might see Orca. The captain seemed pretty confident, but fog was making us slightly nervous. Fifteen minutes later, there they were!! Not just one or two but lots of them, as two families had come together to socialise and were all jumbled together. The huge dorsal fins of the males towered over the rest and they even came under the boat – but even more wonderful we lowered a hydrophone int

Yorkshire in Summer with Sally Nowell

Yellowhammer (Chris Piper) This was our first venture into Yorkshire in the summer and it did not disappoint! Our trip was packed with great Reserves, stunning scenery, hidden valleys and quiet country roads, friendly people and welcoming hotels, but best of all it was stacked with some of nature’s real delights……. Male Marsh Harrier (Chris Piper) Marbled White on Common Spotted Orchid (Chris Piper) A major highlight was without any doubt the stunning Bempton Cliffs. At this

Best of Yorkshire’s Wildlife

How many people know just what incredible wildlife there is in Yorkshire? More to the point, how have the folk of Yorkshire kept it under their hats for so long! Well, not for much longer, those in the know are already aware just what a special place East and North Yorkshire is for wildlife watching. But now wildlife tourism is really beginning to take off. Sally recently visited her native county and here are a just a couple of reasons why Speyside Wildlife is now going ther