Update from the Reserve – June 2019
Written by: Stewart Borland
Published: 26th June 2019
As Sir Billy Connolly said, “there are two seasons in Scotland: June and winter”. But in true Scottish weather fashion, throughout this month, we have actually experienced four seasons in one day. Fortunately, the weather has not discouraged Lords and Ladies from visiting their plots, and we have been busy as bees showing them around the Reserve. This month, we have also made good progress in some of our wildlife protection programs – continue reading to find out more!
Scottish Wildcats Update
As the release of our Scottish Wildcats is imminent, our main priority is to minimise the stress around the traps, since getting accustomed to them will ensure a more relaxed trap and release. To do so, we often leave the traps wired open in the enclosures and, occasionally, food will be placed inside. We have captured some fantastic footage on our Spycams in the original Rehabilitation Centre where you can witness one of the Scottish Wildcats getting a treat from inside the trap – watch the clip here!
By the end of this month, genetic testing should be done, putting us one step closer to their release – hence the traps. The cats will be caught, sedated, photographed, a blood sample will be taken, and they’ll get a full health check. After the genetic results are known, if they are pure enough they will be released into a safe area, and if they are below the government target then they will be neutered, but still released back into the wild.
Water Voles Captive Breed & Release Program
Phase two of our water voles captive breed and release program is underway! We already have about 50 cages, nesting boxes and a pond fully ready to welcome the small rodents, and now we are working on the outbuildings – a Quarantine Area, and a Processing Shed.
The water vole, or “water rat” as it is often mistakenly known, was once one of our most familiar riverside mammals. Sadly, their population has dropped 90% in the last 10 years, making them one of our most threatened native mammals. Hopefully, our breed and release program will help restore the water voles population to a healthy and sustainable number.
New Bug Hotels
Habitat boxes are multiplying across the Reserve – thanks to your support – and having finished another batch of bug hotels, there are now 18 of them spread throughout the Reserve. Above you can see a wonderful shot of the first guests on the new bug hotels – a pair of Longhorn Beetles! Increasing the habitats for insects is vital for the food chain and strengthens the conservation efforts of the land. Get involved by sponsoring your own wildlife box today!
Tickets for Glencoe Gathering 2020
Do you want to visit the Reserve and meet the neighbours but you’ve missed this year’s Gathering? Don’t worry – the tickets for the Gathering 2020 are already live and on sale! The ticket covers accommodation, activities, entertainment, and all meals, including a Scottish banquet. The Gathering is our annual celebration of all things Scottish, and it is a wonderful chance for us to meet you and for you to meet each other. Don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity – we’ll see you next year!
Clip of the Month: Great Spotted Woodpecker
This month’s clip shows a stunning Great Spotted Woodpecker having a wee look at one of our bird boxes. We have recently written a blog post on some of Scotland’s most interesting and iconic species, including this one. Read on if you want to learn more about Scottish birds of prey, garden birds, and more!