Taylor

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By Taylor Wildlife, May 29 2017 02:00PM

It was a long time I have to say, but now that we are in June, spring has finally sprung in Scotland! The trees are in leaf, birds have downy young and red deer hings have their speckled calves. The warm, hazy feeling was short-lived this week, and by Thursday bird surveys were called off because of strong winds and rain. Never letting the weather our urge to birdwatch, a day trip to the SWT's Montrose Basin Reserve was planned. Spoonbill, eider duck, little egret, marsh harrier, osprey, red-breasted merganser, and my personal highlight, tree sparrows were all spotted. I must add that sweet hot drinks, slices of cheesecake, iced gingerbread and fish & chips may have also influenced the day's satisfaction level!

Spring is finally here!
Spring is finally here!

By Taylor Wildlife, May 22 2017 11:00AM

Before this week's entrey goes any further, I must tell you that I have a slight confession to make. I mentioned that waking each morning to our resident cuckoo was a "delight". This feeling, however, is now starting to wear ever so slightly! The bird's repetitive two note outbursts are not so idyllic at four o'clock in the morning, every morning.


With three out of the four rounds of Brown & Shepherd bird surveys complete, and the days now advancing into June, upland butterfly training began this week. Green-veined whites, orange-tipes, red admirals, dark-green fritillaries and green hairstreaks have all been spotted. Spottins a butterfly on the wing is one thing, but actually catching one in a net for close identification is another altogether! Forget delicately swooshing a net from side to side without a care in the world - a game plan and endurance are needed. Never, ever underestimate the speed and agility of a butterfly! But if it all fails miserably, it's always amusing to sit back and watch the other surveyors rapidly pursuing the winged athletes, tripping and tumbling in the boot-catching heather as they go.

By Taylor Wildlife, May 15 2017 05:32PM

They came out of nowhere it seemed. Speed, agility and parental instinct, all coming together to act to ensue territorial victory. Hugging the rugged cliff top fringes, the mist and ominous sky created a scene which could have, and might add, should have been broadcasted on the television in a natural history documentary. Poor weather prevented formal surveys on Monday, but we were in for a birding treat nonetheless. Appearing through the grey cover, an adult White-tailed Eagle came into view. The master of the sky was not alone, it was being pursued by a pair of protective Peregrine Falcons. The pair plummeted, twisted and pushed the mighty bird of the mountains up into the dense unknown, making every moment of watching tantalising. A day off from bird watching…never! And why would you when one has the chance to witness marvels such as this every day.


Well, I thought that Monday’s encounter was special, but Thursday brought another first. They were only specks in the distance at first, gradually advancing across the surface of the loch. Rising from the surface, the morning raise of the sun revealed the birds’ identity. Osprey. There was a stampede from the kitchen as I rushed in and exclaimed my sighting. Working, no this is one terrific holiday.

What a view to finish the day!
What a view to finish the day!
A hunting osprey
A hunting osprey

By Taylor Wildlife, May 8 2017 05:30PM

As the birds revered for stamina arrive, so too has our own. After three weeks of challenging surveying, our legs, feet and minds are strong; walking further, faster and for me anyway, straighter! Living and working in the Scottish Highlands is just magic. Waking to the sound of a calling cuckoo, drumming snipe and shouts of “ quick, quick, there’s a red squirrel in the garden!”, is definitely not being taken for granted.

By Taylor Wildlife, May 1 2017 05:34PM

A nomadic existence has two sides. One, being able to revel in the beauty of nature. Two, the slow but definite emergence of blisters. No one has managed to escape the puffy sore feeling which goes hand-in-hand when the bane of hill walking makes their appearance on the heels and tips of your toes, gradually expanding in all dimensions. For most, visiting the Isle of Mull in the Inner Hebrides was something new to experience. Being able to venture right into the very heart of the island to conduct surveys, granted us all spectacular views of both Golden and White-tailed Eagles. Simply stunning.

From the very heart of Mull
From the very heart of Mull
The mighty Field Assistants returning from the Isle of Mull
The mighty Field Assistants returning from the Isle of Mull
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