Autumn has well and truly arrived on all our Perthshire reserves this week, as the first frosts and snowfalls are felt, and the woodland colours reach their finest.
At Loch of the Lowes, more autumn migrants have been seen, including increasing numbers of siskins which tend to move down from the pine woods further north this time of year. We have also seen Bullfinches, Long Tailed Tits and a Fieldfare, as well as good numbers of all the usual suspects.
At Keltneyburn reserve , the haunting sound of rutting Red Deer drifted across from the other side of the valley where there is a traditional ‘rutting green’, clearly visible from the reserve. There must have been 40 or more animals visible on Thursday, including an unusual white stag, with some pitched battles for breeding females going on. Here too there were large flocks of siskins and amazingly some flowers, such as scabious, still in bloom. This despite the fact that there is snow cover on Schiehallion and the other surrounding mountains.
On the Tummel Shingle Islands there are Salmon running in the river (forging their way upstream to their ancestral spawning grounds) visible from the shore in the shallows if you are patient, and signs of lots of Crossbill activity in the woodlands, as well as fresh Otter spraint on the river bank.
At Balnaguard Glen, the Juniper is heavy with berries and the burn and waterfall are roaring as a result of this week’s rain. We hope the snow here holds off into November as there is an ambitious plan to plant 1500 more locally grown native broadleaved trees on the hillside here this winter and it is hard to plant in snow!
And lastly our tiny gem, Brerachan, a traditional upland hay meadow, has now been harvested and is no longer a sea of wildflower colour, but I spent a lovely half hour there last week watching a Dipper hunting in the rocky burn whilst repairing fences- truly a remarkable bird which can walk underwater!
If you have never been to these other Perthshire reserves, watch out for upcoming Ranger led events in the 2012 season, for your chance to discover more of their hidden beauty.