It’s been another laborious week for the ranger team at the Falls of Clyde, but with hard work comes immense satisfaction! With the sun shining on our efforts, we’ve been busy with both physical jobs on both sides of the river, as well as greeting the public with new and exciting activities. A variety of deadwood beetles have crossed our paths, including Blackspotted pliers beetle (Rhagium mordax), as have weevils, including Phyllobius species. A line of aphids captured my interest as they walking in a uni-directional manner along the wheelbarrow. But it hasn’t all been about invertebrates; seeing a crow mob a buzzard was a lively new sight to me.
Monday saw another corporate work party from Scottish Enterprise as part of Volunteers’ Week. We continued the work of the team from last Friday, digging out the path’s surface higher on the hill with force from mattocks and shovels. This team also had the task of laying the new path down, made of recycled rubble and giving a flat surface. Many found particular forte’s in their skill set, such as being the designated rock remover, but it took everyone’s participation. The day had many cheery faces, but I’m sure the day after had many aching muscles.
The middle part of the week was centred around sawmilling. With help from our Practical Conservation Volunteer team and the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Reserves Manager West Central, Sven Rasmussen, we turned all the logs into useful resources. Seeing people introduced to the sawmill is like watching a child on Christmas morning. Audible excitement at how it works and bouncing eagerness to try it for themselves! It really is a fantastic piece of machinery. Whether it’s wood for a bench, bat boxes or safety fencing, the trees are recycled and re-used. This method ensures that the reserve utilises the by-products of the tree felling management. A winning solution for the trees and people alike!
I also had the wonderful opportunity to stay overnight on the reserve. There was nothing quite like having my dinner and breakfast in the middle of the forest, with waterfalls providing lulling background noise. The sunset was right on cue as it covered the reserve in an orange glow and it’s no exaggeration to say that it was the best night’s sleep in a long time. The morning birdsong sounded softer, as if the birds were still a bit tired and trying to find their voices again. It was a fantastic experience to see another side of nature.
Path strimming was a novel task for both Jess and I, one which we thoroughly enjoyed. We cut back the paths around Mid Lodge and the ha-ha path to make them easier to walk along. It was fun to use, gave us the smell of freshly cut grass and it is a beneficial task to the reserve; a win-win-win situation! After this excitement, it was onto some more. Children relished in making their own badges with us, followed by partaking in ‘The Great Scottish Wildlife Adventure’! The clues along the boardwalk and the translation of the runes gave fantastic entertainment on a Saturday afternoon.
Lori Moore – Assistant Ranger, Scottish Wildlife Trust
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