Friday 9 March 2012


It has been a busy couple of weeks here at AERS!

Last week we went to the Saving Scotland's Red Squirrels conference to find out about the conservation effort for this charismatic wee creature. There was a lot of interesting discussion and it was heartening to hear that the control measures that are being implemented though the work of the project and volunteers are having an impact on the numbers of grey squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis) and so far preventing them from spreading north to encroach upon and displace red squirrels (Sciurius vulgaris) from their territories. Have a look at the SSRS website to see what's happining in your area!

We also had a trip to Balmoral Estate. The Queen wasn't at home but the Cairngorn National Park Rangers were! This was a chance for all of the Ranger services across the National Park to get together to share information and management practises with each other, as well as learn about the site specific management that goes on at Balmoral and how it might relate to other areas of the park. I think it's safe to say that we were all impressed with the dedication of the Balmoral staff, particularly their efforts at habitat management for Cappercaillie and several rare plants!  These Ranger Gatherings are a brilliant opportunity for rangers to get together and share information and experience with each other, especially when in a place like the Cairngorms National Park we all work with a very diverse and different range of areas.

Today was an important day too. The official start of work on the visitor information centre in Blair Atholl. John Swinney MSP came to cut the first turf for the commencement of work and various dignitaries from the local area came along to celebrate the work of the local Tourist Association, Council, the Cairngorms National Park Authority and more besides. It was fantastic to see the whole of the local primary school out to support the occasion too! We don't have any photos just yet but we may well give another update next week and let you know how the work is progressing when we do.

For now, here's a picture from Tuesday morning when there was snow on the ground. Although it had all melted away by about 11 o'clock. What a contrast to just now, with the bright warm sunlight shining in through the office window!

Tulach Hill seen from the Atholl Estates Rally Park on Tuesday morning

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