Beaver blog 2015

Yeah, I know that I was a bit remiss re 2014 but I had quite a few personal issues going on. However, hopefully this year I’ll be able to give you a blow-by-blow account of my beaver exploits. As this is a monthly thing, the start is at the top and any additions will be further down. So, I’ll begin with a wee resume of January through to March. The following months will hopefully be more in-depth though and I hope you enjoy my bletherings. As you will gather, I just love watching castor fiber (Eurasian Beaver) and really enjoy sharing my passion and viewing with others. I’ve been very fortunate in having more than 230 people accompany me to the river over the past couple of years, some quite famous and prestigious ones at that…….

Oops, not who I intended……………………………….

Julian Clary and I

Julian Clary and I

Not sure this is who I meant either, but he’ll do nicely….great guy.

 

January- March

For me, this was quite a quiet period compared to the previous 2-3 years. I only ventured to the river a few times, 90% of them in vain, but the other 10% made the other efforts well worth it. I say “effort”, but it’s more than that, it’s a labour of love, a passion! Anyway, on the few occasions that I did get a sighting, there were generally two animals, in the main two adults but occasionally an adult and a kit (last years kit, no sign of any yearlings), so we had at least one survivor from last years brood. Not altogether surprising if we had lost one as there had been some really serious floods yet again in January and the area around the lodge was at least 3m higher than normal. Flood banks were breached (NOT beaver related I must add), fences ripped out, fields totally obliterated and in some cases, areas totally swept away. Not great to witness, but our furry rodents just moved from their lodge into a nearby backwater and let the worst of it pass by in relative safety, quite ingenious and I suppose natural behaviour, but brilliant to know they were safe.

I had been asked to do a presentation for SWBG’s conference “The Necessary Beaver”, which to be honest I was a wee bit surprised about as there were better and more able speakers than me within the ranks of SWBG Trustees, namely Louise and Paul Ramsay, David Grant, Tim Fison and even my wee hobbit bud Rhona Forrester who has carried out a gargantuan task of wrapping trees in and around Bridge of Earn with the help of Tim, Victor Clements, the Ramsay’s and others. The conference was on the last Saturday (28th) and my presentation was about the economic benefits of beavers to our/my area and the school visits that SWBG had delivered. I must admit that I felt a wee bit overwhelmed in the company that I was in, professors, Lords and Ladies, learned ecologists, Bio-diversity guru’s, even tree experts (love you VC), Friends of the Earth, RSPB, SWT, RZSS delegates amongst others. A great thanks and mention to Jean Oudney and her cohorts for organising the event, totally professional, utterly brilliant and the speakers (bar me) were awesome. It really was a great day and my wee bit seemed to go ok but the highlight of it all must have been meeting a couple that I had taken on a tour last year, Terry and Andrea. They had been at the conference and after it finished, walked their dog. I met them as I was having a fly puff and Terry commented “Did you see the Nuthatch”? Well, talk about camera-mode kicking in, I roared to my lift Rhona, “stop the bloody car, grab the camera’s, there’s a f@@@@ing Nuthatch here”. Needless to say, the car was duly abandoned in the Hilton car park and 2 fruit cakes brandishing cameras (one in a kilt) were seen by all the departing conference guests, quality stuff! However, we did get a picture………………..

Nuthatch

Nuthatch

Not only that, we got a hare on the way back to Blair……

Brown Hare

Brown Hare

A good day all round to be truthful.

29th March

So, the following evening I delivered a tour to a family from Fettercairn, Anne, young Ross and Jim.

Anne, Jim, Ross and Bob

Anne, Ross, Jim and Bob

Though very chilly we had a great night, several sightings

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29-3 beaver2

Not great pics but the group appeared to really appreciate their evening.

30th March

I had arranged with one of the other speakers at the conference to take him to the river. Mark Elliot from Devon Wildlife Trust is a great guy and it was my pleasure to oblige. We were accompanied by Rhona and Wendy on a very wet and windy evening by the river. I took great pleasure in showing Mark the area that the beavers were inhabiting as it is a similar situation as to what he will have to deal with on the River Otter in Devon. I must admit, I should really have been in my bed as I was totally stuffed with the cold but duty called lol. We were very lucky in getting a few, though brief sightings which made the night worthwhile. Mark and I were also lucky in sighting a kingfisher or two as we were walking up and down the river, always great to see.

Martin, Bob and Mark

Martin, Bob and Mark

31st March  

No beavers tonight but did see this bad boy, he’s been fishing regular in the area for the last few weeks, always a bonus and a great end to the month.

Otter

Otter

 

APRIL

I’m really hoping that this April is as good as last year, I had a multitude of brilliant sightings of the beaver and various other wildlife, especially the otter. And it’s with the otter this month really kicked off.

1st April

I went back to the river hoping that I’d be treated to a similar scenario that the previous Sunday and Monday had thrown up, but alas no. There were movements at the burrow but the wind was a wee bit swirly and the animals seemed to be quite content to sit at the entrance for ages. Though I can see the burrow entrance from my vantage point, pictures are really hard to come by and not really worth it. There was an animal in the burrow to my right but it never showed, I think it was one of last years kits, but can’t be sure. The presence of an otter may be the reason they were a bit timid this evening but it was more than likely the wind.

2nd April

Much the same scenario unfortunately. However I did get a decent viewing of the otter that seemed very interested in the lodge. Mum beaver (I think) did show face though only briefly, too brief for a picture.

3rd April

I had a morning at Kinnordy with my youngest and her pal, and to be honest I was surprised that I got so many pics

Brown hare

Brown hare

Greylag

Greylag

Goosander

Goosander

Goldcrest

Goldcrest

Bullfinch

Bullfinch

 

Marsh Harrier

Marsh Harrier

Oystercatcher

Oystercatcher

Wigeon

Wigeon

Treecreeper

Treecreeper

Shoveler (f)

Shoveler (f)

Pheasant

Pheasant

We then went to Corsiehill (Kinnoul) at Perth and I was lucky to spot my favourite bird, the Peregrine

Peregrine

Peregrine

Peregrine

Peregrine

Peregrine

Peregrine

Totally loved it, next time………………..better pics

4th April

Back to the river and I had a few glimpses of a dipper pinging up and down the river, a goosander pair and a couple of nervy Mallards. However the main act did appear and I loved it.

Beaver (mum I think)

Beaver (mum I think)

Beaver

Beaver

 

Female Goosander

Female Goosander

The beaver really looked in great nick and if I’m not wrong, blooming. She looks a bit heftier in the beam end than I last saw her, so here’s hoping she is carrying a few youngsters.

5th April

I just love otters, playful mischievous buggers. The latter was to come to the fore tonight! Over the last 3 years I’ve witnessed the otters, particularly the dog being very interested in the beaver lodge. Tonight was no different, 1915 he appeared and he faffed about a fallen willow posing perfectly for the camera

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Then, he decided to swim right into the lodge!!!!! My heart was beating big-time waiting for a wee bit of confrontation but nay, it didn’t happen. However, things got a wee bit suspect when the otter swam across the river to the burrow just below me, splashed about in and around the burrow then headed upstream. He went straight for a burrow used by the beaver, entered it, came out and splashed about a bit, almost taunting anything that was in the burrow. He then went back to the lodge burrow, splashed about and was then chased away by a beaver. Now, I’m no expert but it just looked as if the otter was being a pain in the ass to the beavers and having a bit of fun. Regardless, great viewing.

6th April

A bit of a duller tbh. Even though I had a lovely walk up around Glasclune and Drumlochy area this morning (approx. 3 hrs), we saw very little. What we did see was good all the same….

Buzzard

Buzzard

Chiffchaff

Chiffchaff

Brown Hare

Brown Hare

Robin

Robin

Roe

Roe

We followed a fox scent all the way to Glasclune, quite intoxicating lol.

This had been a really beautiful day and an evening trip to the river beckoned. I arrived just before 7 hoping to see the otter again but no luck. In fact, the river was pretty quiet. On the plus side I sat and listened to the Chaffinches “trilling” away, the Long Tailed Tits “see-see-seeing”, Blackies kicking off at any movement and the kingfisher going up the river with his “chree”. I saw him a few times and every time was as special as the first. The lodge was as quiet as the previous evening with very little discernible movement, but one animal did make a very brief appearance. It was one of last years kits and it just popped up opposite me, had a wee keek at the bank opposite me and seemed to get spooked by a bag stuck on a tree and promptly disappeared. No further sign was seen of him/her but there were tell-tale ripples coming from the bank burrow and sure enough a chewed stick popped up in the water and floated down the river. I gave it a further 30 mins or so but they weren’t playing ball tonight so I just called it quits. As I was walking back, to add insult to injury I got a wee tail-splash from an adult, presumably dad as I was not far from his burrow. Even still, it was a lovely evening and the bird chorus made it all worthwhile.

7th April

I ventured to the river this morning on a dog walk. Beautiful morning yet again and I was really chuffed at seeing the now resident Chiffchaff. Beautiful wee warbler

Chiffchaff

Chiffchaff

Next thing that I spotted was this lovely Red Squirrel zipping about the trees

Red Squirrel

Red Squirrel

Red Squirrel

Red Squirrel

Red Squirrel

Red Squirrel

There were a pair of Jays having a right wee ding-dong with some Rooks but as soon as I got close enough for a picture, they all bailed out.

There was the usual fair of Blackbirds

Blackbird

Blackbird

and a varied amount of tits

Great Tit

Great Tit

and a pair of Wren’s

Wren

Wren

Wren

Wren

Wren

Wren

On the river was a pair of Dippers

Dipper

Dipper

Dipper

Dipper

a couple of gulls

Gull

Gulls

a wee fleet of Goosanders

Goosander (m)

Goosander (m)

and on the way home this lovely wee Dunnock

Dunnock

Dunnock

Dunnock

Dunnock

8th April

This was a very quiet night again, nothing much moving about initially. The otter was skulking about yet again, a fine trail of bubbles going from one burrow to the next, the occasional splash and a heads up, then disappearing yet again. I wasn’t there for long to be honest, 45 mins at the most between 1915 and 2000 hrs. This has generally been a good time for seeing the beavers getting going but this year has been a bit weird in that respect. However, I did get a short sighting of mum, typically turning away and heading in the opposite direction

08-04 beaver

Still good to see however. Hopefully I’ll get down tonight (9th) but after my 5 hour wander around the moor this morning, I’m not sure I can walk 😉

9th April

Well, I managed to pop down for 30 mins or so. The first thing I saw was a kingfisher whizzing up the river, then 2 mins later whizzing back down (probably a different bird, but who knows?). As I was walking down the river, I spotted a very visible feeding station, quite recent as well, on the opposite bank.

Beaver feeding station

Beaver feeding station

As you can see, there are a few well chewed sticks right on the banking. Mum did her usual tonight, a quick surface, nosey about then back into the lodge. I managed to get her this time though. Time of surfacing was 1945

09-04 beaver1 09-04 beaver2

10th April

It’s a bit unfair to add this update but popped down tonight for 20 mins. This was between 1940 and 2000, nothing sighted. In all fairness I wasn’t sitting, I was wandering down the river to the pool known as swirlies and walked back up to cementers, sat for 5 mins tops but nothing. Hopefully get a prolonged evening tomorrow.

11th April

My anticipated river visit didn’t materialise as I decided to go to Kinnordy instead. I was hoping to see the beavers there but unfortunately that didn’t happen, however I did see both Marsh Harriers and an Osprey. The beavers have made their presence well known and obvious. There are quite a few trees that have been nibbled….

11-04 chewed tree

and an attempt to renew the dam at the Loch’s outflow. Anyway, still a not to bad evening all things considered, 2 quality raptors spotted

Osprey

Osprey

Marsh Harrier

Marsh Harrier

12th April

I had spent the last day of my spring holidays stripping wallpaper!!!!!!! Happy days……….NOT! Anyway, I made a deal with the Ayatolah that I could have 30 mins or so by the river as a reward. Quality deal as I had no sooner arrived at the river around 1935 when  saw this Roe buck, antlers still in velvet.

Roe buck

Roe buck

I got to my usual sitting area about 5 mins later and a beaver popped out of the lodge at 1946………….

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it milled around for a wee bit having a really good sniff then headed back to the trees that front the lodge……….

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then duly disappeared into the lodge  burrow. At exactly the same time it disappeared (around 1950) I noticed ripples emanating from the burrow 10 yds from me on my side of the river. I went to investigate and just as I got there this one appeared at my feet

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Not only that but there were still ripples coming from the burrow, a third animal 🙂 woo hoo.

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So, 3 animals spotted and none of them dad. I think mum was the first to show, coming from the maternal burrow/lodge and the other two were last years kits. This, if I’m right, is great if both kits survived their first winter. Dad I’m sure, has moved up to his summer residence 100yds or so upstream and has been spotted, but he isn’t as active as he will be shortly. The main food source at this time of year (sweet Cecily) is just starting to sprout and dad can be seen nightly delivering swathes of newly harvested vegetation to the lodge burrow. Hopefully pics/vids of that to come in the next few weeks.

11th April

I’d received a call from a lad I’d met at the “Necessary Beaver” conference, Peter Livingstone from Kilwinning. He was visiting the area with his young family and wanted to see the beavers for himself so I duly obliged. It was a very windy night, and a wee bit nippy reminding us all that summer wasn’t quite here regardless of my recent sightings of swallows.

Swallow

Swallow

Anyway, Peter met Rhona and I with his family, Evie (9), Sorley (7), Oran (3) and his lovely wife Eileen (apologies for the spelling if I’m wrong).

Oran, Bob, Evie and Peter

Sorley, Bob, Evie and Peter

I must add at this point that even with the most bitterest of winds and a really long wait for an appearance from the beavers (well over an hour) the kids were brilliant and very patient.

We arrived at the river just before 7 and had a wee sit down in among the wild garlic. It’s pungent but sweet smell is starting to become very overpowering but I love it as it always reminds me of spring. The sweet Cecily is really taking off and is about 4-6 inches high now, so grazing by the beaver isn’t far away. We sat for a good while before being joined by Eileen and young Oran (he had been snoring it up in the car). What a wee belter of a laddy, full of fun but just like his siblings was very patient and quiet waiting for the beavers to show. And show they did around 2015, a good bit later than the norm. We had a couple of sightings of the 2 yearlings, one better  than the other but nothing much more than that. To be honest I was really feeling sorry for the kids as it was really cold, I even gave my gloves to the 2 eldest kids and they shared them between themselves, 2 hands per glove. I was really pleased that all the family managed to see the animals though, even if it was not as great an experience as I might have wished.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

15th April

I received a call from a lady this morning enquiring if I was able to give a tour this evening for her, her husband and their grandson. They were from a wee fishing village just south of Aberdeen but were visiting the area. Never one to say no, we met at 1830 and headed to the river. Nora and her husband Ian were lovely and their grandson Ryan was genuinely interested in wildlife and the beavers, though a typical teenager got a wee bit bored until we spotted an animal at 1945. A yearling yet again…..

15-04 b

…..but still great to see. After diving down, this animal went back into the lodge and sat at the burrow entrance for a wee bit before disappearing. Just after the disappearance, ripples appeared at the burrow to my right. I said to young Ryan to follow me and sure enough, no sooner had we got to just above the burrow, the beaver gently swam across the river to a big tree then dived down. Mum then appeared swimming up the river back towards the lodge, and it was commented that “she’s big”. She’s all that to be honest, and hopefully carrying a few weans.

Ian, Nora and young Ryan

Ian, Nora and young Ryan

We also spotted a few ducks and a pair of Grey Wagtails, one of which sat beautifully for me right at the lodge

Grey Wagtail

Grey Wagtail

18th April

The 18th of April may live long in my memory as possibly my best beavering moment to date. I seriously can’t convey the emotions that surged through my body this evening, and as the title of the post suggests, it was bitter sweet.

Due to the wind changing direction in the afternoon I decided to go to the Rattray side of the river. On the way down I spotted this bad boy trying to work out how to get into the fish farm.

Grey Heron

Grey Heron

I travelled down to the parking place feeling quite despondent having to go to the north side of the river, as the south side usually is the better viewing point but wind direction dictates where I sit so as not to spook the animals. However, on arriving at the north side I realised that my wee pal Rhona hadn’t arrived and was possibly on the other side of the river!!! I  decided to go see, knowing in my heart that I was possibly going to have a total wash out re sightings if I went to the south bank as the wind would just be blowing my scent right across the river right into the lodge area. However, after seeing my wee (and she is very wee) bud carrying her camera gear and bags back up the hill, I decided to just go with the flow and hope that the wind was gonna shift and we’d just chance our luck. So we went back to the river, Rhona apologising and saying let’s go to the other side etc, but to be truthful, neither of us could be bothered losing precious time by the river. So we settled at my normal spot right opposite the maternal lodge but I wasn’t happy, The sun was shining directly on us, the wind was coming over our right shoulders and was taking our scent slightly up river from the lodge. It wasn’t a risk I was happy to take so we moved a wee bit up river to a spot that didn’t offer as much viewing opportunities but hopefully didn’t alert the beavers to our presence. That is the main objective as far as I’m concerned, don’t freak nature out and nature will reward you. And how we were rewarded? Wow……………………………….

Mum appeared at 1949 looking totally resplendent…………………………..

Mum beaver

Mum beaver

she was really looking in great nick……………..

18-04 b2

She circled about for a minute or so, drifting with the current before deciding that all was ok and submerging and returning to the lodge.

18-04 b3 whoosh

To see these creatures at a relative close proximity is a privilege but to see them within a foot of you is a God given gift!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And that is exactly what we were blessed with, initially me then the both of us. As we were watching a few ripples in and around the lodge area we were treated with a viewing of a pair of adults socialising, pic ain’t great but it was special.

18-04 b4 2

As an afterthought, I’m now drawn to the conclusion that this may be maw and paw as opposed to yearlings. Both looked more adult than the other animals on show.

After these guys disappeared, everything went quiet for a while and Rhona and I ended up talking about how many special moments we had seen by the river, most of them shared. Unknown to either of us, the best was yet to come. When the 2 animals opposite us disappeared, 10 mins later there were ripples just below us and I had a wee sneaky peek. Now, me being the fantastic photographer that I am not, saw a youngster below us. It was laying low, only the head showing and I thought I’d get a great pic. However I’d left my lens extended and couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t focus on the wee beastie. It was gorgeous, cute as pie and I missed the perfect shot!!!!!!!!!!!! NOT for the first time this evening unfortunately.

As night was setting we decided to call it over for the evening and headed back up the river. As we approached the burrow where dad has his summer residence we spotted ripples and sure enough there was a beaver. Stupidly I said “there’s the daddy” only to realise it was a wee beaver, one of last years kits. We tracked it up the river getting a few pics, but the light wasn’t great………..

18-04 b5

but we did get a decent enough pic.

As we followed the kit up, it stopped at a feeding station and was very evident on the banking. Getting photo’s was a different thing though as the light was against us and we couldn’t really focus on the animal. In reality there wasn’t a decent shot. Our presence obviously upset the wee guy and he went back into the water. Initially we thought we’d missed our chance but it went up the river, we stayed our ground, and the little beggar came right back. What was to follow was pure magic. After leaving the river, it sat on the banking for a minute or so then unbelievably started walking towards us. N either of us could get a pic but more to the point, neither of us could take it in that this wild animal was now browsing on wild garlic no more than a foot from us!!!!!!!!!!!! I could literally have put my hand out and touched its nose, our hearts were pounding but that fact that the animal was so close, and it WAS very close, we couldn’t get pics and it totally gutted me. Having any wild animal in such an intimate interaction is a heart-warming moment that will for ever be cherished. After feeding away it seemed to sense us, gave a very guttural grunt and started back towards the river. That’s it I thought, but no, he kept grazing for at least 5 mins

18-04 b6

18-04 b7

before slipping back into the river

18-04 b8

I honestly can’t convey my emotions regarding this evening, but having the yearling within touching range is/was and will always be something very, very special. Just a wee bit miffed I didn’t have the wee camera tonight, though I would have had to put it on macro settings due to the proximity lol. Great night and that’s the end of not only my tale but also of the beavers tail

 

19th – 24th April

Apologies for the brief update for a week but I was only on the river on the 19th, 20th, 22nd and 24th. There were a good few sightings on each night and it is obvious now that the beavers are really getting stuck into vegetation now as opposed to bark. The 18th was a brilliant example with last years kit, it was really loving the wild garlic. It won’t be long now before we see the animals grazing on sweet cicily, wild garlic etc. Until then, here a few pics of the week

19-04 b 20-04 b 22-04 24-04 b

Chewed Birch by a local loch

Chewed Birch by a local loch

I have had a wee wander around a few locations, the last pic being of a Birch tree being dismantled at a local loch. I thought about staying and waiting for the beavers to come out but as the weather was turning for the worse I thought I’d head home. However, even though it was hosing it down I popped to the river for 30 mins or so in the hope I’d see a beaver or two. Never to let me down, an adult showed plus I had a tailsplash or two from a yearling. Even though I was in ” Ninja Bob” mode, the little beggar sensed me. In my defence tonight (as opposed to the 22nd which I’d rather NOT discuss) the wind was swirling about, visibility for me was rubbish but obviously ok for the beaver! This is an enigma that totally befuddles me tbh. On the Saturday (18th) we were on the wrong side of the river (generally upwind from the animals), above the horizon so showing our silhouette and the beaver was literally within touching distance. Granted we were motionless but the kit/yearling was within a foot from us, tonight I was downwind, below the horizon and not moving and ended up spooking them even though I was really quiet. The conditions (other than the rain) were perfect in theory, but gave very little reward. Hey ho, nature is what nature is and we take the good with the bad. On a positive note, April is proving a hit for sightings every time I go down to the river, so hopefully I get a 100% sighting ratio this year re my tours 🙂 As an aside, the first sightings of the beavers through this week were generally an adult between 1930 and 2000 hrs, kits (yearlings were around 15-45 mins later. This was surface viewing as animls were spotted below the surface. Damnable devils can hold their breath for around 10-15 mins!!!

25th April

Another tour, this time with a group from Kinross.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We met at the usual time of 1830 and travelled to the river arriving at 1900. It was a weird night, low sun, swirly (predominantly) North/Westerly wind that cut right through us. However, after 6 mins of arriving we were treated to our first of many sightings.

25-04 b1

The pic isn’t actually the first sighting as the photos I have are well distorted by the sun (otherwise = total rubbish!!!). We had multiple sightings of a pair of adults and at least one kit/yearling. It was a fairly busy night to be honest, over the 90 mins we had at the river we were generally getting a sighting every 5 mins or so. We were even treated to one animal on the opposite banking………….

25-04 b2 25-04 b3

…………….pics ain’t great but sighting was awesome. There was also a wee disturbance down river that I investigated. It turned out to be an otter getting chased off by one of the adult beavers. As I have said, we had a good few sightings, last of which was this one

25-04 b4

As we departed the river we fell in with a lad and his 2 boys looking to catch a glimpse of a beaver

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So we took them back to the car, showed them the pelt, gave them some “I’m a Beaver Believer” stickers and a book. It’s great to get the youngsters involved 🙂 . Anyway, we pointed them in the direction of the beavers and off they trotted. A great night for viewing, not so re taking pics but my group seemed to really enjoy their night, so…………… job done 🙂 . Big thanks to Rhona yet again for helping out.

That was the last of my tours for April and I didn’t really visit the river much after that. On the odd evening that I did, I always saw an animal or two but my evenings there were brief as I generally had the pup but still enjoyable 🙂

May

I usually have a good May to be honest, the adults are a lot more active as are last years kits. Fresh food and bedding is being harvested and imported into the lodge. beavers everywhere = quality

May 1st

After being to see the Pine Marten (as per my post) I popped to the river and saw this beaver chomping on a branch

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before swimming out into the middle of the river…..

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I didn’t hang about long but still good to see

May 3rd

I had a tour with a guy from Dorset, Richard.

Richard

Richard

Richard was very knowledgeable, having literally toured the world looking primarily for wild cats, to date he has seen roughly 3/4 of them Snow Leopards included. However, today he had travelled from the Ythan after watching the Harlequin duck and a White billed diver. On his way over Glenshee to see me, he came across a pair of Ptarmigan (lucky beggar)!!! The day had been the most amount of rain we had seen in sometime and sure enough, the river was raging. I wasn’t fancying our chances to be honest but the fact we saw a hare, whitethroat, willow warbler and a sparrowhawk as we arrived at the river gave us a wee boost. As we stood by the river it was apparent that it was unlikely we’d see anything as it was a real torrent. However, we duly sat down and surveyed the tsunami with drooping spirits. I said to Richard “I’m going to check out the lade, give me a couple of minutes”. Sure enough, there was two animals feeding one of which I managed to get a pic of

03-04 beaver

We stalked the animals for a wee whileand got a few glimpses for our troubles but no other pics.

So I suggested we go further down the river to see if we could see an otter. We arrived at a wee pool that I’d told Richard that there were often sightings of an otter. And as if by magic, a young otter was spotted further up the burn heading our way. We sat down and the wee devil literally appeared at our feet, too close for a photo but what a buzz 🙂 We tracked him up the river for a bit and the only photo I got was his back end disappearing as he porpoised through the water

03-04 otter

We then returned to the wee back water where the beaver was and we were rewarded with a good and very close sighting of this animal, totally unfazed at us watching it

03-04 b3

03-04 beaver 2

So a good night had by us both

MAY 4TH

I had a wee wander by the river tonight with the pup. The river is well down compared to last night and I was hoping for a few sightings. Well, I hadn’t even sat down before I saw mum sitting on a fallen willow stripping the bark.

04-05 beaver 1

Try as she might to hide behind this twig, she was just a wee bit obvious.

04-05 beaver

I had a good few sightings in the wee while I was there…..

04-05 beaver 2

and I even had, unknown to me at the time, a yearling just yards from me on the bank. The only inkling I had of it was when it fell back into the water from where it had been grazing.

I did get a wee video just before I left. Just prior to this, I was joined by a young lad with his new camera. He was having a wee bit of a struggle with it and his consternation can be heard on the video (apologies for the language)

May 9th

I can’t believe it’s been almost a week since my last visit to the river, but in my defence I have been busy. Anyway, on arriving the lodge was very quiet so I thought

I’d look at my Pine Marten videos, bad move!  I missed an adult beaver right underneath me, bummer! Anyway, I decided to track it up the river and I got a few decent shots

09-05 beaver1

09-05 beaver2

09-05 beaver3

After it disappeared, I wandered down to my usual spot not far from the lodge but yet again nothing moving. I hung about until about 8 then decided to move up river to see if I could see the adult again. As I was only 50yds from my spot I saw the beaver pulling a huge stick down river. Unfortunately my desire to get both photos and a video screwed up the whole event as I got neither worth posting. What bewildered me though was the beaver continued a good bit past the lodge before submerging. It always amazes me the strength of these animals as it was a sizeable piece of timber and both animal and tree disappeared never to be seen together again. I did spot an adult a wee while later but not sure if it was the same animal. However I did get a pic of this yearling

09-05 beaver5

At the end of the evening, I’d spent nearly 3hrs by the river and had minimal sightings, strange for this time of year

13th May

Popped down for a dog walk and hung about for an hour………….no sightings whatsoever! Not great, though I did see movements relating to a beaver at the chewed Sycamore. I went home rather disgruntled tbh!!!

14th May

Birnam Brownies. Myself and Audrey Pallister, a fellow Trustee from SWBG, had a lovely and very lively evening with the Birnam Brownies. Birnam, as a few of you will know, is where I spent possibly the best time of my life and revisiting the area always has a wee pull on my heart strings :-). Anyway, we were met with about 16 or so kids and Gail the Brownie leader. Audrey has past history in the Brownies and it was great to have her help out. After finishing my work a lot later than I intended and being made to have a shave, I was running a bit late, in fact 20 mins late! Gutted to be honest as I had intended a slow run through to Dunkeld with the camera. And yeah, typically I saw a hare, partridges, Roe deer and a Fallow on my way through, but being on time was the priority and I made Dunkeld from Blair in just over 12 mins!!!!!!! The girls were more than interested in our presentation and to be honest I was a bit overwhelmed by it all. We did have a few IT issues, especially because I put the wrong blooming presentation on minus the video content!!! However, Audrey coped with my ineptitude very well and covered up all my faux pas with expertise. So, yet another presentation carried out on behalf of SWBG to some kids and I must admit that it is my favourite part of being a trustee.

Some of the Birnam Brownies

Some of the Birnam Brownies

 

 

 

 

 

 

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