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WELCOME TO THE SPEYSIDE WILDLIFE BLOG

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

 

Curious Cub

It has been a beautiful and peaceful time at the Speyside Wildlife Mammal Hide and a joy to watch the Badgers continue to nosy their way around the area looking for food in the summer evening light. The clan have relaxed into the more forgiving summer months with both the food availability and the temperatures increasing. They appear to be very happy to feed in close proximity to one another and methodically move throughout the foraging space silently swinging their heads fro

New Beginnings

A week of beautiful weather has had everyone in the Cairngorms breathing a sigh of relief after a particularly tricky cold and wet start to the summer period. As the summer migrants begin to settle down into nesting activities, and many of our resident species already in the process of raising and feeding their new fledglings, frantic feeding activity can be witnessed at the hide. Much to the amusement of guests, after the bait has been placed out for the Badgers and Pine Mar

New Arrival

We have had an exciting new arrival at the Speyside Wildlife Hide this month. A female Pine Marten with a perfectly placed brown spot in the center of her bib made an appearance very early one evening. She arrived so early into the Hide that there were still members of the Badger clan moving around and foraging beneath her.  As she climbed into the area and made her way across the pole she very cautiously observed the Badgers foraging below her and we were able to get a clear

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

Sociable Sightings

Early Spring is a particularly busy time for the Badgers social life and an array of different social behaviors have emerged. The Badgers at the hide have become especially animated and interactive during the past week exhibiting a whole host of different behaviors such as; scent marking, grooming, chasing, and grunting. The female sows, recently emerged from the birthing period in February, have become especially enticing to the boars and this has heightened the intensity an

A Busy Hide as the Nights Lighten

This week has brought back the colder weather, delivering us ‘lambing snow’ and the Badgers have been making prompt appearances at the hide, arriving just before the sun has set, with the females typically arriving first for a quick feed. With lighter nights arriving it is easier to observe the subtle differences between the Badger’s coat coloration; the colours can vary from a darker grey to a slight orange/ brown hue. One of the male cubs from last year has begun to assert

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

Guided Wildlife Day Trips in the Cairngorms National Park

Many people visit the Cairngorms National Park for its beauty and a chance to see some of the unique wildlife that can be found here. Speyside Wildlife, based on the northern side of the Cairngorms, covering the area of Strathspey and Badenoch with highland glens and coastal wildlife watching not too far away. If you are coming on holiday looking for a unique chance to spend a day exploring the area and look for wildlife, a day guiding experience with one of our experienced w

Secret Lives of Badgers – Hide Update

As we come to the end of March, spring is in the air, the evenings are getting much lighter and the wildlife continue to get more active at our wildlife hide. We still are not able to open to visitors yet but hope that you are still enjoying our update blogs and live videos on Facebook on Monday evenings. Most evenings we are seeing most of the clan of Badgers as they make their way from the sett to begin their night of foraging for food. Stopping off at the hide for a snack

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

February in the Cairngorms

February in the Cairngorms has been a month of extreme lows and highs. We have had lows of -19c on the northern side of the National Park, with record temperatures of -23c in Braemar. A week later the thaw of snow began, causing the rivers to burst their banks and temperature rose to 10c. Insh Marshes has lived up to its name, with frozen lochans in the previous blog turning into a loch, bringing in the returning waders like Lapwing and Oystercatcher. Insh Marshes after the t

Snow Continues at the Wildlife Hide

As snow still falls here in the Cairngorms, we cannot help but think about spring days when we can hopefully welcome you back to the wildlife hide. Although wildlife is quiet, changes are happening in their behaviour and lives as they prepare their homes for new family members in the spring. Underground, Badgers will be preparing their sett chambers soon with new bedding and female Pine Martens will be looking for natal dens. Daylight hours have been notably increased over th

January in the Cairngorms

Temperatures in the Cairngorms this month have barely got above zero degrees Celsius, looking set to remain through February. Along with temperatures, the snow has turned our landscape into a winter wonderland as winter really takes hold in the Cairngorms National Park. With thermals on, exploring our local patch has been breath-taking but very cold. (Top) Otter tracks on the frozen loch and in he snow (bottom) Badger prints and Pheasant wing marks Most wildlife has been keep

New Year at the Wildlife Hide

Happy new year from everyone at Speyside Wildlife and of course the wildlife here in the Cairngorms National Park! Thank you to all the support from opening our new wildlife hide next year, we hope to welcome you all to the hide this year. The wildlife hasn’t stopped over the festive period and we are going to look at the activity over the past few weeks here at the evening wildlife hide. Pine Marten prints in fresh snow Badger prints in the snow We have been in a winter wond

Hibernation

Hibernation is generally described as a long deep sleep, where animals will slow their metabolism and activity to sleep through the winter months and survive the cold weather. Overwintering or dormancy is a similar phrase, meaning that the animals will wake up for food during the milder times before spring, and we’ll explore that in this blog. The hedgehog is the most known mammal in the UK to hibernate. As their food source is greatly reduced during the cold winter months, t

December in the Cairngorms

December days are short, so it is good to make the most of the daylight hours and fresh air to go wildlife watching. Although we have been staying to closer to home, watching birds in the garden, short walks close to home have been beneficial to get out of the house. We had some calm weather with frost and snowfall to end the year, making for some gorgeous scenes and interesting things to look out for in December. Coast Waders (Lapwing, Oystercatchers, Curlew) Before current

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

Close Encounters at the Wildlife Hide

We have been starting the hide earlier now that we are in the darkest month. With the first low-level snow, the wildlife sightings are less but there are still plenty of things to listen and look out for during these evenings. Young Tawny Owl from the Summer Past visitors to the hide may have heard or even been lucky to see a Tawny Owl. They are rare to see in light in the winter, apart from flying across the road in front of your car headlights. Their recognisable ‘’hoo hoo’

Mountain Hare – Importance of Camouflage

There are many birds and mammals that attract people to the Highlands and the Cairngorms National Park at all times of the year. In the winter, many of our moorland animals will move down from the high hilltops for food and shelter from the winter winds higher up the mountains. Some mammals have a clever adaptation to blend into the wintery hillsides like the Ptarmigan and Mountain Hare. Summer Mountain Hare in heather (Kate M) The Mountain Hare (lepus timidus) is a favourite

November in the Cairngorms

It has been a month of early sunsets, woodland walks and time at home this November in the Cairngorms as winter creeps up on us. It has however been surprisingly mild with only a couple of frosty mornings and snow on the high tops. The last of the autumn leaves have clung onto the birch trees and with the low winter sun, there have been lovely colours of burnt orange across our landscapes. Insh Marshes at sunset (Kate M) Anagach walk with Red Squirrel (Kate M) A walk in early