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Update from the Reserve – November 2018

Written by: Stewart Borland
Published: 27th November 2018, last updated: 5th October 2021

As temperatures fall, wildlife on the Reserve are busy seeking shelter and food, giving us some amazing SpyCam moments. In this month’s Reserve Update: we welcome the four new Hedgehog Sanctuary residents; we bring you an intriguing theft case; we share some community news and offers, and we give you an update on the cheeky Scottish Wildcats.

Welcome the First Residents to the Hedgehog Sanctuary!

Stewart holding a hedgehog
We have finally welcomed four hedgehogs to our Hedgehog Sanctuary! The new residents have arrived from a rescue centre in Irvine and are now under our care until they have reached the correct weight to go back to the wild. A lot of our followers will remember that the Hedgehog Sanctuary is meant to be a forever home for injured hedgehogs not suitable for release, but we are also determined to help out our little spiky friends that can (and should!) go back into the wild.

That’s precisely the case of our first arrivals – once they have a healthy weight, they will be released back to the wild. Our SpyCam has caught a couple of the residents looking for their cat food treat – see the video for a glimpse of their nighttime adventures.


The Food Thief Case

Pine Marten Caught on SpyCam
All around the Nature Reserve, you can find multiple bird feeders which we regularly stock with fat balls, peanuts, as well as other seeds and foods appropriate for birds. Fat balls, in particular, are a great energy boost and are loved by tits, sparrows, chaffinches, and even the larger jays, thus being one of our favourite foods for winter bird feeding.

Throughout the month, I started to notice that the fat ball feeders were emptying at a much quicker rate than normal. I started the investigation by setting up a small SpyCam across one of the feeders – and that’s when the culprit was caught on camera. A cheeky and skilful pine marten was caught twisting the ball feeder off the tree and stealing the food intended for the birds! Case closed. If you want to know more about these little rascals, we have a whole blog post dedicated to them; read all about pine martens here!


Hands-On Learning At The Reserve

Student Kinlochleven High School
At Highland Titles, we pride ourselves on our close collaboration and involvement with local communities and schools. One of our ongoing projects is to help Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs) students to achieve their certificates by allowing them to work on their rural and countryside skills at the Nature Reserve. This month, we can thank the hardworking students from Kinlochleven High School for the path drainage, rhododendron control, tree planting, path repair and more – all working towards an SQA Certificate in Rural Skills.


Exclusive Christmas Bundle

Highland Titles Gifts
During the month of December, Highland Titles are teaming up with Little Landowners to offer an exclusive adult and child plot bundle for just £40 – that’s a saving of £20 on the RRP. Little Landowners is a natural and educational, eco-gift for children. This bundle is the perfect Christmas Gift for a parent and child, an auntie and cousin, or even a grandparent and grandchild. It is the ideal offer to help you cross two people off your Christmas list at once.

One More Winter with the Wildcats

Scottish Wildcats
As Wildcat Haven’s Dr Paul O’Donoghue has said, “it’s been both a delight and a rare privilege to watch these rare kittens turn into cats” and I couldn’t agree more. We have seen the pair of Scottish Wildcat kittens learn how to hunt, how to clean, and most recently, how to live apart. The ultimate goal has always been to release the Scottish Wildcats into the wild, but we are not ready to let them go just yet! In the wild, they would be leaving their mum by about now, but from the best available advice, we plan to keep them over the winter to ensure that when they do go back to the wild, they are as ready as they can possibly be.

The Wildcats only feed on the best food – rabbits, pheasants, mice, rats and chicks – and they are eating us out of house and home! They will also need radio collars, which alone cost approximately £1k. This means that keeping them over the winter will cost us a small fortune – one that we’ll happily spend for their sake, however, any help is greatly appreciated. The best way you can help is by adopting one of the Scottish wildcats, supporting their day-to-day care and future release.


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Written by: Stewart Borland

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