Spring at last

Published: 14th May 2009

What a fabulous week we have had here in Glenloy. The skies have been vivid blue, the snow-topped mountains as clear as a bell, including Ben Nevis, and the temperatures have almost been touching 20o. The nights have been cold, which has somewhat curtailed the haul of moths, but some new ones for the year have been tucked away in the trap – Early Thorn, the Streamer, Small Phoenix and Scalloped Hazel. We did manage a night out with the bat detector yesterday, and were pleased to pick up several Soprano Pipistrelle, and what almost certainly were Daubentons over the River Loy. A couple of days earlier I found a bat that had been freshly killed, by Loy Bridge. It isn't often possible to get a good look at all the defining characteristics of bats, but this one definitely keyed out to Pipistrelle. We were able to appreciate some of the more obscure features such as the neat, rounded tragus in the ear, and the membrane behind the spur of the hind feet.

The birds too have been singing away. A Garden Warbler has been giving a full performance in the garden, along with Blackcaps, and the now monotonous Chiffchaff. I heard my first Sedgte Warbler of the year lustily grating and warbling along the Caledonian Canal, and the Grasshopper Warbler was still reeling away. Tree Pipits now seem to be everywhere. The local Osprey seems to have settled tight onto the nest. There are also plenty of butterflies about, although almost all Green-veined Whites, Orange-tips and somewhat jaded Peacocks. No sign yet of Fritillaries, although I haven't looked hard for a couple of days. The frog tadpoles have grown hind limbs, and I saw a Palmate Newt busy picking them off in a forestry ditch the other day.

Today I saw my first Wood Cranesbill of the year in flower, always a sight to inspire. The Bluebells have come on in leaps and bounds with the sun, and have become a spectacle, almost overnight. We took a walk last weekend to the ruins of Tor Castle by the River Lochy (where Banquo's ghost reutedly walks to this day). This is covered in Fairy Foxgloves, although they were only just beginning to flower, once out their neat purple heads make a very pretty sight. I am intrigued by the name as they seem to be most unlike the common Foxglove. More intriguing was a tidy patch of Wood Spurge close by , in full flower. This must be an introduction, but of what antiquity who knows