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A monthly column brought to you in conjunction with Heart of Argyll Wildlife Organisation
The last couple of weeks have seen increasing numbers of visitors coming along to our events and visiting Barrandaimh wildlife centre.
We had a very successful ‘Seashore Safari’ at Carsaig with more than 30 people, armed with nets and buckets, scouring the shoreline as the tide retreated.
We knew it was a good beach but even we were surprised by the variety of animals found. Hermit crabs proved very popular, as did a variety of weird and wonderful fish. Lumpsuckers, pipefish, blennies, flounders, bullheads and sea sticklebacks all featured alongside scallops, sea spiders and dog whelks.
We also had a very busy butterfly day. The weather wasn’t great, so we set about making our own. A steady stream of butterflies and dragonflies were proudly carried away by both local folk and visitors.
Knapdale continues to be the place to be in Scotland for amazing wildlife experiences. We have had some wonderful views of our Red squirrels recently as they become used to people quietly watching them from the windows. The image shows one of them gnawing on a piece of deer antler which not only helps keep its teeth in good shape but also provides vital calcium.
The beavers, still busily getting on with their lives, can also provide moments of surprise. The other night I was within a metre of one that quietly swam almost to my feet and then calmly went about its business.
Finally, why has it gone quiet? I am sure we all notice the multitude of birds singing throughout the spring so where have they all gone now that we are in the middle of summer?
Singing is a luxury most birds can’t afford at this time of year. Small birds such as Blue tits, and others that will be staying all winter, are forming mixed flocks to find food.
Our migrants are starting to feed up for their long journey home. Some, such as adult Cuckoos, are already travelling to their winter home in the forests of the Congo Basin. Others are moulting and have no wish to advertise themselves during this vulnerable period.
The centre at Barrandaimh is open Monday to Friday until August 18. We also have a summer programme of walks and events. Full details via our website heartofargyywildlife.org or on our Facebook page.
A red squirrel gnaws on a piece of antler. no_a31Wildlife03