The wildlife around Locho f the Lowes this week has been both abundant and varied, as you would expect this time of year.
On the loch we have had up to 11 Pochard, and plenty of Common and Black-headed gulls coming in to roost at night ( a common sight here in winter). On the feeding station we have had both Brambling and Redpoll over the weekend , as well as the usual Red Squirrel antics and good viewing of woodpeckers, siskins etc.
On Friday night, I surprised three Fallow Deer visiting our Crannog hide, walking along the boardwalk for all the world like they were on their way to the hide for a spot of bird watching. We often find tracks, and tell tale droppings around the visitors centre and paths of these mostly nocturnal creatures- believe it or not you can even tell the species of deer by the shape of the droppings, which is useful because we have both Fallow and Roe deer on the reserve. The deer are attracted to the open meadow near the car park at night to graze, and shelter in our thick woodland during the day. Keep your eye out for them at night on the LIVE WEBCAM as they can often be seen sneaking past the feeders!
Later that same night, a young Fallow deer was unfortunately hit by a car right outside the reserve car park. This highlights the problem of deer on roads and is a timely reminder to all of us to take them into account in our driving, especially in winter. As nights shorten, the deer’s twice daily movements to and fro foraging areas , now coincide with out heavy traffic times and commutes, and hence collisions go up. Add to that mixture, fog, icy roads and deer attracted to salty margins, and you can have recipe for disaster.
The only solution is to take it easy on the roads, especially in wooded areas (Roe and Fallow) and Highland areas (Red deer), and in your local patch, look out for telltale ‘deer paths’ where these animals regularly cross roads, and exercise extra caution at those spots.
Take care on the roads and enjoy your deer watching this winter.