In other wildlife news this week, your SWT Perthshire ranger team ( Emma and her four trainee volunteers) have been very busy out on Loch of the Lowes and our five other local reserves with a busy summer program of practical reserve work and surveying, despite the atrocious weather we have been having- the work goes on rain or shine!
At Loch of the Lowes, as well as general maintenance around the site, we have been surveying damsel and dragonflies this week, as well as doing wider bird breeding assessment at our 50 or so nest boxes on the reserve. Here is a fabulous photograph of two Common Blue Damsel flies mating at the eastern end of the loch.
At our Keltneyburn reserve, we have been doing bracken control to help maintain this fabulous wildflower meadow in tip top condition, and keep the habitat perfect for the mind blowing number of orchids found here in the summer. As well as botanical surveying here, we’ve been doing butterfly survey transect this week and had almost more Ringlets than we could count, many Common Blues and the absolutely gorgeous, though impossible to catch, fast flying Dark Green Fritillary. A visit soon to this reserve is highly recommended to catch the meadow in all its summer glory!
At Balnaguard Glen we have been steadily working away hand clearing bracken from around our 1500 native trees planted last winter and from around Juniper trees – these rarer Scottish conifers are a main feature of this reserve, which also has spectacular views from the hilltop. We’ve also had to do some flood control work on the footpath this week- will it ever stop raining?
On our two Tummel Shingle Island reserves we have been controlling the invasive species Himalayan Balsam, which washes down in the silt from winter floods every year and threatens to swamp the lovely wetland flora. If you have this invasive weed on your local stream, river or wetland, please think about getting involved in its removal- its easy to pull out by hand and every plant removed means thousands less seeds washing downstream to invade somewhere else. We’ve also been monitoring the gull breeding colony and are pleased to see that most the chicks are near fledging and seem to have been able to move out of the way of flood waters.
All in all a busy week so far and more to come- all we need now is some more sunshine to make our job a little easier!