Team work is a huge part of Taylor Wildlife. Without working together we could not function, which makes team work a vital aspect of our undertakings. When working in remote locations, sometimes in challenging weather conditions, knowing that supportive and knowledgeable colleagues are close by to provide advice and support is a great comfort to out Field Assistants. But what would happen when we asked the field teams to swap their rucksacks for aprons? Could they adapt to this scary new environment? Keep reading to find out...
It's June, the midway point of the survey season. For returning staff and new recruits alike, "BBQ FEAST" will be marked prominently in diaries. Our field teams are dispersed across Scotland - Angus, Moray, Perthshire, Inverness-shire and Argyll & Bute - so it's not often that the different teams have a chance to socialise and swap stories from the hill. For this reason, the mid-season gathering is a rewarding occasion.
Striding across the Highlands, binoculars dangling from your neck, camera strap slung over a shoulder, notebook and pencil at the ready, there is always a hope that a natural spectacle will unfold before youro eyes. Days will pass with many of the usual sightings (which are still noteworthy) but then unexpectedly a whopper of an encounter will pay out for you. Mesmorised, you forget that you have binoculars, a camera, and a video setting on your phone - you are just caught in the moment. The moment needs to be shared, and our June get together provides just that opportunity. So, we can swap stories of the amazing golden eagle territorial display we witnessed, or the breeding redwing singing from the woodland edge. It is also an opportunity to pass on knowledge, when we can discuss the spectrum of different curlew alarm calls, or what time of year Scotch argus butterflies are on the wing at different sites. More importantly, the BBQ provides a perfect opportunity to be thoroughly entertained by swapping eventful and (often) embarrasing tales from the hill (these usually involve falling in bogs).
For people used to walking substantial distances on a daily basis, we expect our Field Assistants to have big appetites. Several kilograms of food was provided, the challenge was what to make with it... Culinary creativity is something I am well known for in the team, and I have been told I make bold choices in the kitchen, so it was only natural that I take on the responsibility for creating an appealing spread of food for all to enjoy. The entire team was roped in to help make these meals a reality, and after a small delay (sweet potatos always take longer to cook than you think!) I think we can say cooking at Angus HQ was an unmitigated success. Good work, class of 2018!
Take a look at some of the delicious results.
I'm looking forward to next year's BBQ already!