Aigas Field Centre
Aigas Field Centre

Foxes at Dawn

4 December, 2017. Posted by Aigas Field Centre

A frozen loch gleams icily in the last hour of night.  An eerie stillness settles around us.  No birds are stirring yet; deer are still out on the river fields, yet to slip back into the woods as winter daylight slowly spills in from the cloudless east.  Whisps of ghostly white mist hang over the valley and somewhere far upstream we can hear the bugling of the twelve whooper swans that have winged in from the high Arctic to winter on our river. We had dumped a road-kill roe deer carcass out on the moor with a stealthcam in place to see who and what would exploit it.  The first and obvious images were fox.  A solitary fox tugging at the rib cage and hauling it off
Continue Reading...

A busy night at the Quarry Hide

28 November, 2017. Posted by Aigas Field Centre

Having been at Aigas for almost a month and not seeing a badger, I decided to head to the Quarry Hide on a night off and wait for as long as it took in the hopes of seeing one of Britain’s largest land carnivores. At 7pm, after baiting the logs at the hide with peanuts and peanut butter, we headed inside to wait. Not long after we had arrived, the trees to the left of the hide rustled and we saw a shape moving around. It was a barn owl which flew around for a bit before perching on a tree trunk directly in front of us. It stayed there for a few minutes, giving us a good show before flying off into the darkness. Only a
Continue Reading...

Whisky and Wildlife – My Aigas Week

22 November, 2017. Posted by Aigas Field Centre

Saturday evening, our first evening and all the course participants are gathered in the common room, already making friendships and eagerly awaiting our introduction. I have been to Aigas before but it is still a special feeling, the warmth and anticipation of the week to come. First things first though and, only travelling from Carlisle I have come by car and the lovely journey through the Borders and into the Highlands is part of the holiday for me. I have plenty of time to take to the more quiet routes, looking for wildlife and enjoying the stunning autumn scenery. I time my arrival, as suggested, in time for afternoon tea. I mingle with others who have been picked up from the airport or railway station and we
Continue Reading...

Saving Scotland’s Highland Tiger

16 November, 2017. Posted by Aigas Field Centre

Last week Scottish Wildcat Action (SWA) convened at Culloden Battlefield for a forum which we had the privilege to attend. As Aigas Field Centre plays a role in the conservation breeding programme it was a great opportunity for us to learn how SWA were getting on elsewhere. SWA is an action plan supported by the Scottish Government and Heritage Lottery Fund - united by a group of experts with the ultimate goal of saving the UK’s only remaining native feline, the Scottish Wildcat (Felis silvestris silvestris), from extinction. The ‘Highland Tiger’ appears like a tabby cat but more muscular and has slightly different pelage. The wildcat can be differentiated by having a dorsal stripe that does not extend into the tail, a broad, flat head, and dark
Continue Reading...

Polly the pine marten is thriving at Aigas

9 November, 2017. Posted by Aigas Field Centre

We were contacted by Hessilhead back in August who had received a pine marten kit and wanted to know if we might be able to release it at Aigas. After weeks of rehabilitative care at Hessilhead Wildlife Rescue Centre, Gay and Andy Christie brought her to Aigas where she was temporarily housed in an enclosure designed and built by our Staff Naturalist, Ben Jones, in a patch of woodland in the Aigas gardens. Ben set up Bushell stealth cams around the pen and we watched of the following nights as our local pine martens came up to the enclosure to see Polly. With no evidence of aggression or worrying behaviour from Polly or the other pine martens we release her onto the Aigas estate. Since then, we
Continue Reading...

Lady Lucy’s Minestrone Soup

24 October, 2017. Posted by Aigas Field Centre

Every week our guests comment on Lady Lucy's delicious soups - so we have decided to share a few secret recipes with you! Serves 8 Ingredients: 4 tablespoons of olive oil 2 onions, peeled and chopped 8 rashers of bacon, cut into 1" (2.5cm) bits 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped 12 oz - 1lb (350-450g) white cabbage, cut into thin strips 2 large carrots, peeled and diced 2 potatoes, peeled and diced 4 sticks of celery, thinly sliced ½ pint (300g) red wine 2 15oz (450g) tins of chopped tomatoes 2 pints (1.1l) chicken stock salt and freshly ground black pepper ½ teaspoon of sugar ½ teaspoon of dried basil 7oz (200g) tin of baked beans grated parmesan cheese Method: In a large saucepan
Continue Reading...

Strathconon

24 October, 2017. Posted by Aigas Field Centre

Of all the days out I have done during my time at Aigas, Strathconon has been one of the days I have done the most with guests. Being a deer estate, it is always a pleasure to see our largest land mammal, the red deer (Cervus elaphus), especially in the rutting season. The trees are now changing into warm, golden, autumnal colours and this, with the addition of roaring stags, is a real immersion of Scottish nature! Here are a few photos of why it is such a beautiful valley and some of the wildlife that can be encountered here… [easingslider id="1508"] Photos and words by Aigas ranger Emilie Shuttlewood

Walking and Wildlife, July 2017

18 October, 2017. Posted by Aigas Field Centre

Ronald and Ute, from The Netherlands, kindly sent us this wonderful album with images from their stay here in July on one of our Walking and Wildlife programmes. Scroll through the album below to see what they got up to!

In Awe at Udale Bay

16 October, 2017. Posted by Aigas Field Centre

Our trip to the Black Isle started spectacularly for the guests, with twelve or so bottlenose dolphins swimming alongside the Ecoventures boat. Whilst I waited for the group to return from sea, I spent two hours scanning the shore line in Cromarty Bay with a telescope and, after only spotting a few gulls and redshank (Tringa totanus), I was glad to move on. We stopped just before Udale Bay to observe two rafts of about a hundred greater scaup (Aythya marila) that were drifting close to the shoreline - a rather extraordinary view, we spent a long time watching these elegant birds. In the distance there was the odd cormorant (Phalacrocoracidae), bobbing grey seals (Halichoerus grypus) and a handful of red-breasted mergansers (Mergus serrator). After about 30
Continue Reading...

Red Squirrel Sightings at Aigas

10 October, 2017. Posted by Aigas Field Centre

Here at Aigas, we’re having great luck with our new red squirrel hide. The hide is very cosy with a turf roof. It has been up for a month now and since then we’ve been topping it up with peanuts and hazelnuts. The squirrels are very partial to the hazelnuts - they are now caching them for winter. The hazelnuts also provide the squirrels with almost all of the nutrients they require (peanuts alone don’t provide much calcium or vitamins). I was lucky enough to have a great squirrel encounter last week. As I was passing the hide I was caught in a sudden downpour so decided to take shelter inside. After around twenty minutes there was a scratching sound on the back wall, which travelled upwards
Continue Reading...