Wildlife Wonders

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Our regular column brought to you in conjunction with Heart of Argyll Wildlife Organisation

Happy New Year.

With Christmas behind us, spring still seems a long way ahead.

Poor weather and little daylight wouldn’t seem to be the best incentive to get out and about to see what our local wildlife is up to. Yet in many ways winter is the best time to see wildlife.

Our estuaries and farmland are crowded with migrant birds; I counted over 40 widgeon on Lochgilphead’s front green a few days ago. The hide on the Crinan Canal is a fantastic place to watch the ever-changing mix of birds as the tide ebbs and flows. The lack of vegetation and bare trees make it easier to spot animals, and for daylight species, short days and hunger means they are more likely to be out foraging. If you have bird feeders in your garden they will be busy, especially as this winter has been colder than of late.

The red letter days at this time of year are those when the sun shines. The low winter light highlights our dramatic landscapes making for spectacular views from our hills. Go out on a sunny day and Argyll is as multi-coloured in January as July; a purple haze of birch buds, the myriad greens of our lichen and moss strewn trees, the orange flare of bracken. What’s more the health benefits of getting out and about to your favourite place, be it wood, seashore or hill, are well proven.

After a busy 2017 that saw more than 2,000 people through our door at Barrandaimh Visitor Centre we are busy planning this year’s activities. There is so much happening on our doorstep. We have some very busy beavers on lochs Barnluasgan and Coille Bharr, kits were also born last year. There is also a further release taking place over the next three years and we are proud to be assisting the Royal Zoological Society and the Scottish Wildlife Trust with the post-release monitoring.

The centre at Barrandaimh’s normal opening hours will resume on April 1. We will have a number of walks and events, however, throughout the winter. Full details via our website www.heartofargyywildlife.org or on our Facebook page and group.

Pete Creech

PIC:

Long winter shadows and beauty all around. no_a03WildlifeWonders02

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