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WELCOME TO THE SPEYSIDE WILDLIFE BLOG

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

 

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

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

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

February in the Cairngorms

Winter has finally taken hold in the Cairngorms National Park this February, bringing us snow to the mountains and surrounding areas. Waking up to snow stuck to tree branches and even moments of sunshine to show off our landscape. In between the snow however, we have seen water levels, especially in the River Spey very high, with neighbouring fields turning to flood plains. Hopefully the snow will stick to the mountains and wildlife such as the Ptarmigan and Snow Bunting will

Diary of a Wildlife Hide – 2019

To conclude this year’s Wildlife Watching Hide, let’s look back at 2019. If you have been following our weekly blogs, you will know all of the antics that have happened over this year and how the wildlife never fail to surprise us. Our old wildlife hide (Kate M) As we entered the busy season in early May, and breeding season for the wildlife, here at Speyside Wildlife we were shocked of the news that our evening hide had burned down overnight. Thankfully nobody or animals wer

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

An Old Friend at the Wildlife Hide

The winter season has begun, with the clocks going back and dark evening ahead. Our evening wildlife hide continues to have visitors and the wildlife is still looking for food. The first of the low-lying snow also arrived this week. Male and female Pine Marten (Kate M) The large male and young female Pine Marten are still being seen at the hide, often waiting on the roof of the hide until it is safe from Badgers. One evening the Pine Marten pair were heard on the roof tiles s

Leaping Pine Martens at the Wildlife Hide

The evening wildlife hide has been very busy with animals, including the usual Wood Mice, Bats and Owls flying by. Summer is coming to an end and nights getting darker, the mammals are continuing to be entertaining with regular sightings. Female Pine Marten leaping from the shed roof to the feeding table (Kate M) As previously mentioned, the Pine Martens have been finding other ways of coming in for food when the Badgers are in. Jumping from the roof a few nights last week, g

Action at the Wildlife Hide

Spring has fully sprung, with nights getting much lighter and milder, wildlife being active and plenty of action at our Wildlife Hide. Badger Watching (K Mennie) Fiiight! When the Badgers visit the hide, guests admire their cuteness, attractive looks and comical way they ‘hoover’ up the peanuts. The European Badger aren’t known for being vicious, especially towards humans, but males at this time of year can get a bit protective over territory and even food! First, they latch

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

August in the Cairngorms

With the summer coming to an end, the wild heather was at its peak and blooming a vibrant lilac purple that filled the ground throughout the moors and pine tree forests. The “Ling” heather that flowers here in August has many uses as a plant, whether it’s for decorative purposes for wedding bouquets, medicinal or in brewing. The most known use is as Scottish Heather Honey. With a decline in bees, the highlands certainly help the population of the bees that collect the pollen

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

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