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By Taylor Wildlife, May 30 2019 02:00PM


It's May. Rucksack packed? Check! Midge repellent? Check!


The time has come to start a new adventure in the wild glens of Scotland.


The landscape is breathtaking, and at times brutal. Getting to grips with survey techniques and navigation training with the guidance of experienced team leaders, everything starts to fall into place.


Walking out to your first survey area, a sense of excitement, determination and anticipation fills you with each step. You can get these surveys done!!


You've arrived at your start point (you hope!). Plotting your GPS coordinates; notebook and maps at the ready, you wonder what you will see today.


Manoevering through upland habitats proves a challenge; tussocks, heather and sphagnum moss bogs can be, in all honesty, a pain. But without them, there wouldn't be the fantastic array of species for you to find.


The first time you see or hear something new to you, or even something familiar that you love in such a beautiful place (for me seeing buzzards soaring high above, calling wistfully) is inspiring.


A couple of weeks in and (Scottish weather permitting) several surveys under your belt, the landscape seems more familiar and you will feel confident navigating through the vast moorland (although you will always be childishly happy when your survey route happens to take you along a path).


Gaining experience as you go along, you quickly learn the best (and worst!) places to put your feet when out on difficult ground. Your fitness levels quickly improve and your knowledge of the species and ecology around you increases. Undoubtedly, you will also discover muscles you didn't know you had, as well as a genuine and heartfelt appreciation for blister plasters!


Falling over is, i'm afraid, inevitable, and in hindsight can be comedy gold! At least there's no chance of you appearing on an episode of 'You've been framed', after all only a couple of bemused grouse and perhaps an observant eagle spotted you - but did you spot them? Quick! Where's my pencil?!"




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

By Taylor Wildlife, Apr 24 2017 05:00PM

This week has certainly been an insight into the changeable weather conditions which Scotland can produce. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday there was a chorus of “let it snow, let it snow, let it snooooow” and then on Thursday and Friday the hills came alive with “the sun has got his hat hip hip hip hurray!”. There was a Short-eared owl sighting and glimpses Merlin and Hen Harrier.

Snowed Off Field Assistants
Snowed Off Field Assistants