Update from the Reserve – May 2018
Written by: Stewart Borland
This month, we have some thrilling news to share with you! It has been an exciting time at the reserve, and like any good adventure, it has been packed with a wild dose of romance, adventure, and comradeship – from orchestrated escapes to our most successful Gathering ever.
Love Is In The Air: Canada Geese Goslings
Last month, we told you about the return of the Canada Geese – eight Canada goose chicks were raised on the reserve last year, and a pair returned to nest in the same spot this year. We are delighted to announce that we are now the proud home of six precious goslings!
The wee ones seem to be doing pretty well, as well as the proud parents, and have already provided many heartwarming moments and pictures. We have set up a SpyCam opposite the nest, but unfortunately, we have not been able to get a clear frame of the goslings. However, Stewart ventured out and decided to record some footage himself – don’t worry, he kept his distance and made sure the geese were not distressed – for your viewing pleasure only, click here to see Stewart’s best efforts to get the little ones in action.
The Ronnies Escape
If you have been following us for a while, you are likely to be familiar with the Ronnies – the pair of mischievous saddleback pigs that help us clear, restore and prepare our land. In their latest adventure, the pair audaciously orchestrated a plan to escape their fenced area and you would not believe how smart it is!
The cheeky pair managed to break through the electric fencing by pushing their hut over the top of the poles – the only thing that stopped them, luckily, was a tree – which kept the Ronnies from pushing their home any further. Once reinforcements were in place, we caught them snoozing away – looks like well-planned mass escapes can be tiring!
The Return of the Bracken
When they are not orchestrating mass escapes, the Ronnies have successfully cleared a fair share of land from bracken, a type of native fern that has gotten out of control across large areas of Scotland. That was the main reason the boys were introduced in the reserve: as an organic way of controlling bracken without burning it or using chemicals.
It seems, however, that when treating the land that the Ronnies first cleared, we have found the bracken is back despite the Ronnies’ fantastic efforts. Running the land and making the appropriate decisions can be difficult, especially when your heart lies on conservation. The team is working hard looking for a solution and, as always, we will share with you our decision when we have one.
Welcoming a New Species
Last month, we asked you if you could guess what species we were getting ready to welcome on the reserve – and a lot of you got it right. The 50 cages, nesting boxes and the pond will be used by… Voles. A vole is a small rodent that has seen nearly 90% of their population disappear in the UK. We are currently finishing the preparations and once they have moved in, we can all give them a warm welcome!
Back to Nature
In the last Reserve Update, we teased you about the possibility to spend an evening on the reserve, on a modest space in the midst of nature – with no internet, no electricity or even running water. We are happy to announce that this will be a possibility very soon. Our Shepherd Hut is practically built and you will be able to try it out for yourself next month, in June. Come back next month for more information!
Meeting the Neighbours
From May 8th to May 10th, we hosted our 6th annual Gathering, in which Lords, Lairds and Ladies from all over the world came together to learn more about our project, and visit the reserve. The 2018 Gathering has undoubtedly been our most successful event – yet! The 2019 Gathering is already being planned and tickets are on sale now. Last year, the tickets to the 2018 Gathering sold out around November and December; if you want to guarantee a spot on next year’s Gathering and get to know your neighbours, get your tickets soon!
What will Summertime Bring Us?
Next month marks the beginning of Summer, even if it doesn’t feel like it. We are excited to see what the Summertime will bring us here at the reserve and how it will impact our flora and fauna – which we will happily share with you, on next month’s reserve update. See you next month!