Friday, 29 April 2011

Friday 29th April

It is nearly the end of April and the estate is becoming a lot more active. There are loads of visitors who come to view the castle and have a nice peaceful walk in the hills and the woodlands close by and there is also a lot of activity where our wildlife is concerned.  The ducks in the centre of Blair Atholl can be seen taking their newly hatched ducklings along the lade.  They have a nursery near the caravan park with at least 24 ducklings so far which were all splashing about and looking really cute.

 Many other birds are also in the processes of breeding or raising their young.  We have a pair of oystercatchers which have decided to nest in the fields with the red deer, just down from the castle.  The male was not very impressed that the deer were standing around the nest and was shouting warning calls constantly but the deer were totally unfazed and carried on with their business.  Oystercatchers have been known to nest in the middle of the field for the highland games as well.  During this time an area has had to be cornered off for them so they don’t get disturbed and can remain sitting on the nest throughout the games. 

We also have a pair of sparrows nesting under the roof of the estate office.  They have been seen on a number of occasions gathering up nesting materials for their nest.  With any luck we might be able to spot the young leaving the nest when they fledge later on in the year. 

Because of the great weather we have seen loads of butterflies in the area as well as other insects.  Only a few days ago a blaeberry bumblebee was spotted flying around Glen Fender.  Its abdomen is predominantly red and can be found feeding mainly on blaeberry, heather and white clover. So if you are out and about on open moorlands, meadows and open forests then be sure to keep your eyes open for a blaeberry bumblebee and see if you can increase your identification skills.

Tomorrow we have a very exciting event called 'Pitlochry Superdog'.  It will involve a fun afternoon for dogs (and owners) with competitions, displays and doggy games so if you think your dog has what it takes or you just fancy a day out to watch the event then feel free to come along.  It is a free event based in the Pitlochry recreation ground and is on from 12 to 4 pm.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Thursday 21st April

We have some fantastic events lined up for the Easter weekend.  On Saturday we will be having an Egg Olympics event which will involve an egg and spoon obstacle course, egg races and competitions.  This is a great way to spend the afternoon doing something a bit different for easter.  The event starts at 2 pm at the Atholl Estates Information Centre and finishes at 3:30 pm.  Be sure to come along and don't forget to bring your hard boiled egg.

If you cant make Saturday but are planning a visit to Blair Atholl castle on Sunday then why not join in the easter event which is happening there.  We will be colouring in our eggs and then having a competition to see who has the best design.  After we will roll our eggs and see who gets theirs the furthest.  This is all happening between 2 and 3 pm and the eggs will be supplied by the castle.  It is a great way to get some historic information about the castle and the estate and celebrate easter at the same time.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Tuesday 19th April

Join us today for our red squirrel walk from 2 - 3:30 pm at the Glen Tilt car park where you can come along and find out more about these fantastic little creatures.  Find out why grey squirrels are threatening the lives of our native reds and help us track the spread of greys by notifying us of any sightings.  We are particularly interested in any sightings between Blair Atholl and Killiecrankie and also any sightings in the north end of Pitlochry.  There is currently a large scale project in place run by many different conservation bodies who are all working together to try and prevent the spread of grey squirrels and reduce the threat to the reds.  Please get in touch if you see any and help to save red squirrels in Scotland.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Wednesday 13th April

If you are in the area tomorrow (Thursday 14th) with your family them why not come along to our spring treasure hunt event. You and your family can go hunting around the estate for clues and try and spot some of the fantastic wildlife here on the way.  If you are successful in finding your way to the end of the treasure hunt then find the ranger and you will get a prize.  If that is not a good excuse to visit and have a fun day out with the family then I don't know what it is so come along and you will be sure to have a fantastic day.  The event starts at the Glen Tilt car park at 2:00 pm and will last until 3:30 pm.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Thursday 7th April

If you are looking for a nice walk since the weather is heating up I would recommend a trip to Loch Ordie.  The trails will take you past several lochs on the way up to Loch Ordie including Cally and Rotmell Loch and Mill Dam.  If you are lucky you may even come across ospreys fishing or building nests in the area and keep your eyes open for roe and fallow deer and the wide variety of birds which inhabit the loch including teal which you may be lucky in seeing at Mill Dam if you are very quitet.  There are plenty of white fallow deer in the area which is always a nice sight to see.  The onset of spring are caused many of the trees and plants to start flowering like wild primroses, coltsfoot, willow and larch and even the flowers of blackthorns. It really is a beautiful and pleasurable walk and is recommended to anyone looking for a good day out.

Lady's Mantle

White fallow deer

Flowering Larch



Friday, 1 April 2011

Friday 1st April

Earlier today I went on a pony trek which is run from the Atholl Estates trekking centre, just up from the castle.  Since I have only ever been on a horse once in my life I thought I should give it a go to see what it is like and I have to say I had a brilliant time.  We had a tour along the banvie burn trail and learned a great deal more about the estate and what these beautiful ponies are also used for.   

The treks run for either 1 or 2 hours and it is a great way to see and learn more about the estate and the ponies with friendly staff at hand to help and answer all your burning questions.  Can you think of a nicer way to view the estate than on horseback? 

Also if you are out and about on the trails at Logierait or doing the Glen Benvie trail then be sure to keep your eyes open amphibians.  There is an abundance of frog spawn up the Glen Benvie trail and palmate newts have been heading back to the water to start breeding so if you keep your eyes peeled you may spot them.