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.

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