Monday, 6 June 2016

Leslie Nielsen - fondly remembered

One big plus of going on holiday is that you have the opportunity to do different things to that which you would normally do at home. As a wildlife watcher, that does leave me in something of a quandary.

OK, let's start again. One big plus of going on holiday is that you have the opportunity to watch different sorts of wildlife to that which you would normally watch at home.

On our second day in Aberfeldy, we were joined by Second Born, meeting up in Inverness to go to a Peatbog Faeries gig. More of that in another post, but the night was also memorable for the drive back down the A9. Now, we've driven this route countless times, mainly during the day, but never at night at this time of year. Going through the Cairngorms and descending into Perthshire, we were astonished to see so many Red Deer grazing on the grass verges at the side of the road. We had to take evasive action several times, as huge-antlered stags wandered into the road in front of us. Scary stuff for all concerned.

The next day saw us at Keltneyburn Nature Reserve in Glen Lyon, ostensibly for damselflies, but there were several deer in the neighbouring pastures. I'm not great at deer ID, so this may not be a Roe Deer.

Over the course of several days, we became aware that a Brown Hare was occasionally running through the courtyard of the cottage we were renting, once even when Our Lass was sat out there. Attempts to photograph these encounters were futile, as by the time I registered what was happening, it was already too late...

On a trip to Cluny House Gardens, we were fortunate to meet several Red Squirrels, and this particular one was in the car park.

We returned to the gardens the next day too, as it has a wonderful mix of native and exotic woodland plants. And I had better luck with one of their Brown Hares.

Back at the cottage, I had resorted to putting out a camera trap, in an effort to photograph the hare. After several luckless days and nights featuring hens (days) and slugs (nights), we eventually struck gold...

On our last evening in the cottage, no-one wanted to cook, but the fridge was full of salad stuff. Second Born had the great idea of take-out pizzas (and our salad, obviously), so her and I were dispatched into town to order and collect.

There was going to be a 20 - 30 minute wait for our order to be ready, so we wandered off through the town, across a golf course, and to a footbridge over the River Tay. Second Born had been keen to visit this bridge, as we could see the A-frame sections poking out above the treetops when we were driving to and from the cottage.

As we reached the middle of the bridge, I looked over the side and saw something under the water, swimming downstream. At first I thought it was a huge fish, but then decided it was too big and must just be a weirdly-shaped clump of water weed. Second Born spotted it too and ventured "Platypus?" 

It wasn't any of those things, it was a Beaver. We didn't have a pair of bins or a camera between us (c'mon, we'd nipped out for pizza), but I did managed to snap a blurry shot with my phone before it was out of sight.

How could I have forgotten that there is a population of 'accidentally released' beaver in the Tay catchment? Jings, but I'll remember that pizza.

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