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WELCOME TO THE SPEYSIDE WILDLIFE BLOG

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

 

Summer Showdown at the Hide

The Wildlife Hide has had a busy season this year with the nights now drawing in and Autumn coming to an end. We have had visitors from all over the world experiencing the activity at our hide and enjoying the wonders of nature in comfort. Looking back at my first full season at the hide has shown just how exciting that first sighting of a kit or cub can be and how the wildlife can certainly keep you entertained. Why do you need a TV when you can watch it live in HD?! Pine Ma

September in the Cairngorms

Although Summer is at an end, some days have had warmth in the air with a mix of light showers and sunny spells. Autumn colours began to appear as well as some impressive looking fungi in the woodlands nearby. Fly Agaric in the woodland The Autumn preparations have begun for our hibernating animals and for the Badgers and Pine Martens at the Wildlife hide. This year’s wild fruit crops such as blaeberry, cherry and rowan berries have been in abundance making it the perfect die

All Grown-up!

The days are drawing in here in the heart of Speyside and change is clearly afoot. The bright purple on the surrounding hills is ageing to a subtler hue, birches are dappled with yellow and fruit adorns the Juniper, Rowan and Sloe.  Fungi of every shape and colour line the roadsides and woodland tracks, reminding us of their presence and key role in our eco-systems. Preferring darkness, Badgers, with their poor eyesight, are nocturnal. Pine Marten are crepuscular – tending to

What do Badgers look like?

Here in the Highlands of Scotland we are blessed with an abundance of rich wildlife, sometimes literally on our doorstep! While Badgers may be found across the world, given their resilience and ability to adapt, they are nonetheless enjoyed and celebrated here, and a sighting is always memorable. Scotland’s Badgers are the most protected in the UK. What do Badgers look like and how large are they? The Badger is Britain’s largest omnivore. It is powerfully built, with a small

A Scottish Summer Continues

As England experienced a heat wave, here in the Cairngorms we welcomed a breeze to our warm air and rain drops to our dry gardens and woodlands. With the high fire risk still in place, since the beginning of May, it reminds us that rain is still a vital part of our British Summer no matter how frustrating it is when days plans must change. With overcast skies in the evenings, the animals are tempted out just that little bit earlier. Female Pine Marten (Kate Mennie) As unpredi

Nights that barely see complete darkness…

As nights that barely see complete darkness, very slowly begin to take on an earlier hue of dusky grey and July edges further away from the joy that is mid-summer, it is interesting to notice the behaviour of animals visiting the hide. In many ways you might expect that their routines remain the same, that they would be expected at around the same time each evening and appear in similar groupings. However, this week this has not been the case at all, reminding us that wildlif

What is a Pine Marten?

Here in the beautiful Scottish Highlands we are blessed to have in our midst some of the most beautiful and endangered species in the UK. Indeed, the Cairngorms National Park is home to no less than 25% of the UK’s endangered species and is a fantastic place to visit for those who love nature. One species that is often mentioned by visitors is the Pine Marten, a charismatic but elusive character, living high in the tree tops and preferring the soft light of dawn and dusk to g

June in the Cairngorms

It has been the “fourth hottest June ever experienced in Scotland. (BBC NEWS)” with temperate of thirty-two degrees on the last week on June and extremely dry ground. Living in Scotland, we are not used to such long periods of warm weather and keeping topped up with sun cream while out bird watching has been tricky. Some animals struggling, have been searching for shade and waiting for the long evenings to cool down. Roe and Fawn (KM) Half way through the month, midsummer or

Pine Marten Fun

Pine Martens aren’t always predictable as to when and where they might be seen. On occasions away from the hide I have seen them as I walked my dog during the day. The Pine Marten was so focused on my dog up the track it didn’t notice I was stood right underneath taking a photo. An evening walk recently was joined by a female who was running along the road, unfazed by a human’s presence. Although not nocturnal, Pine Martens at the hide are seen more often during late dusk or

The Red Squirrel

Red Squirrel (Judith Nott) The Red Squirrel – possibly one of the most iconic species of the Highlands of Scotland – is much loved by visitors and locals alike here in the Cairngorm National Park. In the heart of the Cairngorms, we are fortunate enough to meet these charismatic little creatures on our daily walks or see them scamper from tree to tree as we pass by. They appear on our window sills to steal hazelnuts and swing nonchalantly upside down from our bird feeders. Som

Scotland or the Mediterranean?

For over a month now the weather has been dry and sunny with last week recording the hottest temperatures of thirty-two degrees. With temperatures cooling down slowly in the evening, our dusk animals have manged to stay clear of most of the heat. The Wildlife Hide has resembled a sauna as guests have been watching for the wildlife. Roe Deer Buck (Kate Mennie) The cooler evenings have given further great views of the Roe and Red Deer as they graze on the dry grass behind the h

Midsummer Fun at the Hide

The Summer Solstice, or Midsummer is when the sun is at its highest point in the sky of the year and known as the longest day. Here in the Cairngorms it never really got completely dark with sunset being at eleven twenty-two. Roe Deer hiding the fawn (Kate Mennie) The wildlife also made the most of these light evenings coming in earlier at dusk to feed from around the hide. The deer have been particularly active, with both Roe and red coming in close to the hide. This Roe cam

Summer Nights at the Hide

With the lighter evenings, every night at the hide is different as to what and when things will make an appearance. The Badgers are tending to come out at different times, giving us views of the regulars and ‘early risers’ of the sett. They are feeding well, with regular views of the Badger cub as it grows and becomes bigger by the day. Badger cub (Kate Mennie) With the exciting footage of the Pine Marten Kit on our night time camera, the anticipation grew to see how long its

May in the Cairngorms

Summer has finally arrived in the Cairngorms after what has been a long and cold Winter/Spring. With temperate of around twenty five degrees for the most of May, and the dry weather causing areas to have high or extreme fire risk visitors are urged not to light fires. Swift in flight (RSPB) Birding has been great the past month, with all our migratory birds arriving to the area with the noise of the Swifts being the most recognisable. As they arrived from their long journey f

Late Nights and Kit Delight

An interesting time all round at the wildlife hide the past couple of weeks. With very light, warm evenings and darkness falling around midnight the animals too have been coming in later, making us play a waiting game. Hungry Badger (Kate Mennie) With the ‘regular’ Badgers making an appearance, our Badger cub has also been in most evenings becoming more independent and coming close into the viewing areas. She is also growing and for only being around three months old, certain

Speyside 24/7 2018 Trip Report

“What a great week we had, full of surprises. After spending one evening visiting our Evening Mammal Hide, where we saw Badgers and two beautiful Pine Marten, we visited another hide to try and spot European Beaver. We always keep this a surprise for our guests until the very last minute – only one guessed where we were going and we were treated to one Beaver swimming across the loch, escorted by two Great-crested Grebes who definitely wanted to see him off their territory! W

Light, Cameras, Action!

The sun has been shining this May, giving us plenty of chances to explore the Cairngorms and what it has to offer. With sunshine and dry conditions also comes a high risk of wildfire, with campers and visitors being urged not to a have campfires. Great Spotted Woodpecker With blue skies and high temperate in the evenings, and the meeting time for the Wildlife Hide moving later, the nights are certainly but lighter where it will soon not get dark at all a the longest day appro

Love is in the Air….

Whether you were inclined to be glued to the TV this past weekend or whether you had a pressing engagement to empty your septic tank it would have been difficult to miss the media hype telling us that “love is all around us” or asking “can you feel the love?” Indeed the answer to that question for anyone visiting our Evening Mammal hide this week would have to be a resounding “I do!” for there has been no shortage of ‘amour’ on our Evening Mammal Watch. The week began with Ba

Who’s Watching..?

The temperate is finally getting warmer, the weather has brightened up for the Mayday weekend and the Wildlife Hide is getting busier. Nosey Badger (Kate Mennie) The Hide had its regular visitors last week with good views of both animals most nights. As it was just getting dark an outline of a bird was spotted flying over the hide. At first, we thought it was a gull, but on closer inspection noticed it was a soaring Osprey! The Badgers ran circles round the hide, making it di

I Spy…At The Hide

The last week of April, the birds are singing, and wildlife is becoming more active. As you walk through open woodland you begin to see the changing colour of the trees as they turn from a dull purple to bright green. Inquisitive Female Badger (Kate Mennie) The wildlife at the hide have been continuing to be more active with regular viewings of both Badger and Pine marten. On Monday, our guests noticed that one of our male Badgers had been in a bit of a fight, with scars to p