Update From The Reserve – September 2020
Written by: Stewart Borland
Published: 30th September 2020
As summer waves us goodbye, we are ready to welcome Autumn! Crisper mornings, shorter days, gorgeous colours, calmer wildlife, pumpkin spice and everything nice. For many plants, insects, birds and mammals, it’s time to slow down, fly south and prepare for winter. In the Reserve, we have only just started to witness the first real Autumnal effects, as our wildlife is happily spoilt by our continuous care and protection. Continue reading to find out more!
Mother Cat Behaviour
Whilst it can be unnerving for us humans to see mother cats carrying their kittens around by the neck with their teeth, it is actually a very common mother cat behaviour during the first few weeks of the kittens’ lives. They instinctively do it to throw off any potential predators, to search for a cleaner nest for the babies, and to find a suitable and safer place for them to grow.
With Hope, instincts have clearly kicked right in! She has proven herself as a wonderful new mum, and she has kept the 3 kittens on the move. Currently, we have no idea where the latest secret den is, though with 8 SpyCams hidden in the enclosure, we are sure to capture them again soon! In the meantime, enjoy this wonderful footage of the kittens on one of their first journeys on their own four paws, rather than being carried by mum.
He’s (Not) A Keeper!
Despite all the wet weather, it was time for another hive check. Lockdown has been amazing for the wildlife, but unfortunately, our smallest hive seems to have been robbed by wasps and other bees and it looks like they have died of starvation. But, seven out of eight hives are still thriving and they are boasting brilliant honey stores.
The ladies are now busy-bees preparing for winter, and that means that drones should be kicked out soon. Drones are male honey bees whose primary focus is to mate with the queen (hooray for genetic diversity) but they don’t really contribute much more to the hive. When foraging becomes scarce, they are nothing but another mouth to feed. So those that don’t die by mating are ruthlessly kicked out of the hive, and end up dying from hypothermia or starvation. Yikes!
Missing the Gathering
As we are finding some normality returning with our regular guided tours, we couldn’t help but reminisce on the past Gatherings. The Gathering is our annual event here in Glencoe, where Lairds, Lords and Ladies get to meet each other, visit their plot, and learn more about our conservation projects. It was unfortunately cancelled this year, but we are already looking forward to next year’s event! There are only a handful of tickets left, so if you want to join us, make sure you secure yours now.
Still a Four Star Visitor Attraction
We are so proud to be graded as a Four Star Visitor Attraction by VisitScotland AND as the most popular Nature Reserve in Scotland by TripAdvisor. We are big fans of quality assurance, as can be seen in the image above with our self-catering inspector, Cagney, checking out the onsite animal accommodation! We want to assure you all the necessary precautions are in place for your health and safety on our tours (masks, sanitizing gel, and temperature checks), but if for whatever reason you still can’t make it, PLEASE make sure you inform the team in advance.
Clip of the Month: Who’s the Cutest?
While some of us think the Roe Deer is the cutest, a lot of us are still big fans of the majestic Red Deer. One thing’s certain: if we are talking calves, then they are equally as cute! Lucky you, this month’s footage has all three.