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By Taylor Wildlife, Jul 30 2018 11:00PM

That depends... on how you like to prepare for habitat plots.

Habitat plots are typically carried out at a minimum of 60 random locations on the two most dominant habitats of a site. The idea is to get a snapshot of the grazing pressure on the site, and to discover any trends that may indicate and increase or decrease in habitat quality. Each plot requires surveyors to examine a 2 m x 2 m quadrat which is then split into 50 cm2 subsections. The result is something like this:

The question is, how do you cart around 20+ metres of string without getting in a tangled mess?

By Taylor Wildlife, Jul 23 2018 11:00PM

The Caledonian pine forest was named after Caledonia, taken from the Romans. Caledonia means 'wooded heights' - which is in-keeping with the location of said forests in and around the Cairngorms and Highlands of Scotland. The trees themselves consist principally of Scots pine Pinus sylvestris, with willow Salix sp., Aspen Populus tremula and birch Betula sp.

Not the usual woodland view, but an inspiration to look up!
Not the usual woodland view, but an inspiration to look up!

By Taylor Wildlife, Jul 16 2018 12:00PM

Most people will be familiar with the Common cuckoo, the bird with the unmistakeable song that lays its eggs in the nests of other bird species who then raise the cuckoo chick although it were their own.

Common cuckoo being fed by it's much smaller reed warbler 'parent' (1)
Common cuckoo being fed by it's much smaller reed warbler 'parent' (1)

Less well known is the fact that there are bees with a similar habit to that of the cuckoo.

By Taylor Wildlife, Jul 13 2018 01:57PM

Lying back in a patch of heather warmed by the sun, lunch box cradled in my lap and a cool drink in hand (actually, tepid bottle of water might be a more accurate description), a days work in the highlands is a total job. Yes, no fooling, Scotland can be warm, dry still and midge free!

Nestled in heather, I can start to imagine what it would feel like to be a wee chick in a nest, waiting in anticipation of a mouth full of grub. Strolling through the hills i'm frequently noticing bird activity which would suggest a nest containing eggs or growing chicks is nearby. Excitement and reverence always rises within when this happens. Often, I walk on by not wanting to cause unnecessary bother, but occasionally I come across nests precisely on my transect. Without fail, these encounters are spectacular.

By Taylor Wildlife, Jul 9 2018 01:00PM

Imagine living up in the clouds, in a windswept environment, with little to hide behind other than rock and scree. That's the home of the Scottish specialty, ptarmigan (Lagopus muta), a bird which has recently eluded me on previous visits to the highlands. Many people take the easy option when it comes to ticking this species off their bird list, taking a ski lift in the Cairngorms to watch ptarmigan whilst tucking into a bacon sandwich and a hot mug of coffee - or you could get up close and personal with them in a wild and picturesque landscape.