August Roundup

Published: 27th August 2012

Typical August weather here at Glenloy, ranging from pouring rain and mountain-shrouding mist to warm sunshine and sultry nights. As i write we are experiencing more of the former than the latter, but the day was fair enough yesterday to allow the butterflies to fly. There were quite a few Scotch Argus on the wing, albeit looking a bit raggy, remarkably so as they have been on the go for over a month now. Even more surprising was a very late Dark Green Fritillary; most of the orange leached out from its wings. There has also been a good hatch of Peacock and we are now enjoying them on a regular basis in the garden, alog with second-brooded Green-veined White and the odd Small Tortoiseshell. Dragonflies were also out and about in Glen Fionnlaigh – Gold-ringed and Common Hawker, with only the odd darter around. The dominant plant in flower is Heather, whilst along the canal the Knapweed is going over, but Rosebay, Ragwort and Devil’s-bit Scabious are still going strong and add splashes of bright colour tempered by the whites of Yarrow and Sneezewort. We have been enjoying our own Chanterelles for the past couple of week, and out and about have seen the fist of the season’s waxcaps.

The Pine Martens continue to come to feed each evening, sometimes the mother, sometimes her son, and less-frequently both. Nonetheless they continue to entertain guests at a reasonable hour and earn their jam and peanut butter. There have been no signs of any kits this year, so we can only assume that any born to our little female have not survived. Elsewhere the local raptors have done rather better, with two White-tailed eagle chicks fledged from the local nest and two Osprey chicks from the Loch Lochy site.Occasionally the eagles foray along the River Lochy, and it will be interesting to see if we see more of the youngsters from Glenloy Lodge this winter.

We managed to escape for a rare August day out last week and had a trip to Ardnamurchan. The day started well with a large number of seals and terns at Sallachan, and a large dog Otter on Loch Sunart. The otter caught a large fish with a huge pectoral fin (scorpion fish?) and swam to shore with it  Out towards the end of the peninsula we had great views of a ring-tail Harrier hovering, and a Golden Eagle being mobbed by crows. On the way back we saw a large cat cross the raod in fornt of the car and pass into a copse – couldn’t be absolutely sure but this could well have been a Wildcat and was seen right in the core of a known female terriotory. Buoyed with success we joined Niall Rowntree for a Twilight Safari, hoping to glimpse more wildcat. We enjoyed his company and his explanation of management on the Ardnamurchan Estate before going out to see some very large Red Deer – much sought after by sportsmen. En route we also glimpsed one of the resident Fallow Deer and a white (red) stag. Once dark had fallen we were rewarded with a hunting Barn Owl and an ambling Hedgehog, but no more cats. Niall also specialises in night trips using heat sensing technology, which he claims is much more likely to provide sightings of cats. On the late trek home we glimpse a Pine Marten but little else. A worthwhile excursion for anyone in the area.

Next week we resume Glenloy Wildlife holidays, and look forward to getting out and about more after the hectic tourist season. There are still plenty of opportunities to experience the Red Deer rut in October with us, and who knows, we might even head across to Ardnamurchan to see some of the big boys!