Spring Update

It’s been another interesting and busy couple of weeks. First up…

ILUC17

The 30th and 31st of March saw the sixth annual Integrated Land Use Conference take place at Carrbridge. This years theme was ‘Balancing the Benefits of Woodland Expansion’. An interesting couple of days, though I felt there was a very heavy forestry focus – I know this seems obvious given the theme, but I was quite glad for the input of Dr. Roxane Andersen (Environmental Research Institute, UHI), Dr. Dick Birnie (The Heather Trust), and Keiran Buckley (Irish Grey Partridge Conservation Trust), to add some element of balance.

I as also a little concerned that deer and wildlife management were barely on the radar during the two days, despite being a vital consideration in woodland expansion and management. Perhaps this will be discussed at next years conference…?

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Taking peat samples with Dr. Andersen

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The Deer Bit

April 1st saw the start of the roebuck season, so I’ve been having a wee wander around the estate to see how the boys are looking. All our bucks are still in velvet at the moment, though I’m seeing and hearing that bucks in the south are already clean. Meanwhile the stags are back to hanging around in their bachelor groups again, and we’re beginning to see them start to cast their antlers.

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I spent a hour or more watching this pair. They really are the loveliest little deer.

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Nature Observations

Seen some interesting bits and bobs on my wanders; a little bit of warm weather and everything is really starting to get moving. Spiders, lizards, and toads are cropping up everywhere…prompting some imaginative driving on country roads at night, dodging toads. I’m seeing lots of frogspawn out and about, though we’re a little behind other folks further south who already have tadpoles!

It won’t be long before the ticks come out in force – I don’t think anyone’s looking forward to that. On the plus side, it’s always interesting to see the different lichens and that appear too – such as the Dog Lichen (Peltigera spp.) pictured above, and I’m looking forward to a bit of warmer weather to get back out swimming again.

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