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Trip to the Kingussie area in Cairngorm National Park

FireFire Posts: 17,116
edited May 2022 in The potting shed
I have just got back from a two week trip. Part was a week long study visit to investigate rewilding in the area. On either side of the course, I stayed near the village of Kingussie, on the west side of the national park, near the joining of the Gynack and Spey rivers.

I will put more reflections on Scottish rewilding projects on another thread. However, there are matured projects now coming into their own in the Cairngorms, and it was very heartening to see regrowth of native woodland  and the abundance of life that has come along with it.

Springwatch was based in the area for one year and that enticed me up to explore. I have spent time at Knepp rewilded land in Sussex, also introduced to me by Chris Packham on Springwatch. So - thanks Chris. Both are wonderful places to delve into.

Please forgive some of the repeat pictures I have put up on other threads.

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There is are a huge population of brown hares in the Cairngorms - similar to the abundance of rabbits in southern England, it seems. They are much larger than rabbits, with a more upright stance and a tendancy to walk rather than hop. They are notable for being on the mammals that can become pregnant while still carrying young - so essentially having two sets of fetuses. They bare young throughout the year, and benefit greatly from regenerative farming techniques that leaves wide field margins, hedgerows and woodland areas.

(Sorry if this thread melts your computer - I know lots of peope won't be able to open it).



  • FireFire Posts: 17,116
    Swallows and swifts arrived back while we were there. Our local bird guide said he saw his first on May 8th.

    Swift (I think)

     - - -

    swallow - note the difference in tail shape

  • Balgay.HillBalgay.Hill Posts: 938
    The Cairngorms were my second home for many years. I really miss being able to wander over the hills.
    Sunny Dundee
  • Bee witchedBee witched Posts: 1,172
    Lovely post @Fire.

    I get hares on a fairly frequent basis in my garden here.
    They really like eating dandelion flowers ..... who'da thought!

    Bee x
    Gardener and beekeeper in beautiful Scottish Borders  

    A single bee creates just one twelfth of a teaspoon of honey in her lifetime
  • FireFire Posts: 17,116
    edited May 2022
    They valley was filled with male chaffinches singing loudly, sometimes eight or more at the same time. Here you can here another male singing back - perhaps they are both defending their territories. I found it notable that our itchy little fella sometimes doesn't wait until the other has stopped, before interupting. He almost throws his head back in his effort and stretches on his tip toes.

    It's a tricky thing to preen and sing at the same time.

    Every tree seemed to be covered in a wild assortment of lichens. It made me wonder about the old saw of lichens only growing on decaying trees. There they seemed to grow more like epiphytes - on trees young and old, high and low. Some of the cleanest air in the UK.

  • Valley GardenerValley Gardener Posts: 2,726
    Beautiful pics @Fire You obviously really enjoyed it. We lived in Perthshire for a few years and the wildlife is astounding. Our road near Scone Pa!ace,used to club together for winter hay for the deer,that used to wander up and down the road. For safety the hay was left in a cul de sac that lead to the woods. The winters were icy,but I loved living there.
    The whole truth is an instrument that can only be played by an expert.
  • FireFire Posts: 17,116
    edited May 2022

    - - -
    Seven badgers siblings from the same set were seen that evening.

    I did see a red squirrel's bum, but didn't manage to get a picture. They are much shyier than greys. Apparently they come down to feeders in the winter but take themselves off into deep forest more often in the spring and summer.
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