Written by: Stewart Borland
Published: 1st July 2022
June was one for the books. There was lots of coming and going from the Reserve this month with visitors and even a crafty escape artist… Read on to learn more!
As our long-term readers will know we have more wildcats around the Reserve than just our girl Hope. We also have a handful of wildcats that have been released into the Reserve over the years and have chosen to stay close (who can blame them?!).
Well over the last couple of weeks one of our ‘free to roam’ cats has been showing up on the night SpyCam footage with a problem with one of its eyes. It appears otherwise healthy and well-fed but after much debate, we decided to try and trap it and have it checked by our vets. Catching the cat went well and so we released it into the incubation cube (a small enclosure we use for new arrivals). We left it looking quite relaxed while we went to fetch some food and water, but by the time we returned, there it was sat looking out of a little hole it had made in the roof! There was nothing we could do except watch them squeeze through and stroll off into the forest with (I swear) a smile on its face.
We will keep an eye out for the wee Houdini to see how they are doing but I think the cat made their point clear that they wished to be left free to roam!
The next stage of clearing the Sitka Spruce is well underway. After felling our first lot of non-native Sitka trees we are now building fencing around the perimeter of the 8-acre area. This fence is there to keep the deer away from the new young trees that will be planted. These will be made up of a variety of different types of tree but unlike their predecessors, they will all be native to Scotland and not planted as close together to promote biodiversity throughout the forest.
However, before we get to planting the trees we willl be recruiting our favourite ground clearers – Iona and Skye the Pigs who we will move into the area for a month or two. We will then plant a selection of wildflowers, which im sure will be much appreciated by the birds and bees on the Reserve.
MORE ABOUT OUR CONSERVATION WORK
We are excited to announce that we are now official sponsors of Forth Hedgehog Hospital – a wonderful charity who take in sick and injured wild hedgehogs. They were also responsible for sending us our most recent spikey arrivals – Mr Bump and Puffin. We can’t wait to hear more about all the wee hogs they are able to help and rehabilitate.
Our lochans are continuing to be a hotspot of activity. On our last investigation, we spotted a great selection of dragon and damsel flies and beautiful butterflies.
If there was any doubt as to whether the red fox cubs were feeling at home or not, the SpyCams can answer a resounding YES! Our brother and sister duo are doing well and looking like they will be ready for a soft release at the end of July, so we will be enjoying all the fox videos we can while we have them with us.
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