Thursday 25 August 2011

Thursday 25th August

The wet weather we have been having this summer has been very helpful for the salmon as their journey upstream to breed has been made a lot easier with the higher water levels.  The salmon can be seen jumping on the River Tilt as they make their way back to the stream in which they were born.  It is still uncertain how the salmon manage to navigate back to their natal site and many suggestions have been made including rivers having certain smells which the salmon use to find their way back or that they are able to detect the earth’s magnetic fields and use that as a guide.  After they breed the salmon will die leaving their offspring to fend for themselves and start the cycle again. 

Also on the river we have come across some mink tracks on one of our rafts.  These rafts contain a tunnel inside of which there is a basket filled with clay.  When a mink or other water dwelling animal comes to investigate the raft it will leave a footprint impression on the clay which can then be identified.  American mink are a real problem for our native water vole species as they predate heavily on them.  Water voles normally evade predators by diving under water and using submerged entrances to get into their burrows but these strategies do not work with are non-native mink as they are very good, fast swimmers.   This, as well as pollution and habitat change has resulted in a drastic decline in water voles which has led to them being classified as a protected species.  Mink resemble polecats and ferrets but can be distinguished due to them being one colour all over unlike the latter.  There is currently a large scale conservation effort to try and stop the spread of American mink to help save our water voles so if you spot one then please get in touch with either us or your local mink officer. 
American Mink
Water Vole
Tonight we have out batty kids events where we will be playing games to learn about bats and then going on a walk with the bat detectors to see what we can spot and hear.  This event starts at 7:30 and lasts until 9 pm meeting at the Ranger Information Centre and costs £2 per child. 

On Sunday the 28th August we also have a fungi course for beginners where you can come along and learn the basics about fungi and how to identify them. There really is a lot more to fungi than meets the eye so come along and learn about this very interesting kingdom. The following week (4th Sept) we have a more advanced fungi event where you can come out and improve your knowledge of fungi with our expert. These both start at 2 pm at Glen Tilt car park and cost £2 and £4 respectively per person.

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