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WELCOME TO THE SPEYSIDE WILDLIFE BLOG

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

 

Precarious Pine Martens

At the Speyside Wildlife Hide, we have been enjoying the glorious summer evenings, a welcome respite from the harsh cold of winter. The mammals that have been coming to visit us in the evening have been arriving very relaxed in the late summer sun. They do not appear to be in a frantic rush to consume the bait put out for them, but rather are quite happy to take their time to forage around the area. The Badgers will often stop for some time to work out some peanut butter tha

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

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

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

Badgers becoming active at the Wildlife Hide

Is spring in the air at the evening wildlife hide? We are coming to the end of the February and the animal’s behaviour begins to change. Since the last blog we had the coldest night, with temperatures in the area down to -19 degrees Celsius. Not surprisingly, the animals were quiet as they stayed warm in their homes and finding any food was hard with the ground being frozen solid. There has been a sudden thaw though and there are a few signs of spring. Ice on the hide window

For the Love of Otters

There is one mammal in Scotland that mainly people hope to catch a glimpse of diving or lounging on seaweed, the Otter. Here at Speyside Wildlife, we love to explore our rivers and coastlines for these unique mammals as they are always great to watch. If you follow our Facebook page you will have seen a recent video from our frozen marshes. Otter on frozen marsh (Kate M) What is an Otter? There are thirteen different species of Otters around the world, but the UK is home to 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

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

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

Acrobatics at the Wildlife Hide

The nights are dark, the snow has been in the air and the wildlife has been active in the evening watch hide. With fewer visitors, the cameras have been catching much of the activity as well as our weekly live streams from the hide on Facebook. Two Pine martens (Sue Parker) The female Pine Marten that we have been following from previous blogs has continued to be seen at the hide, sometimes enjoying a hen’s egg as a treat. On our night cameras, however, we have picked up a se