Aigas Field Centre
Aigas Field Centre

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
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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
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Fungi are the Future!

3 October, 2017. Posted by Aigas Field Centre

Since starting work here at Aigas I have become quite a fungus fanatic, the mysterious nature of this kingdom of life absolutely fascinates me and I hope to pass this love of all things fungi onto others! Did you know that fungi are classified within their own kingdom? Many people don’t, it is only in relatively recent years that the study of fungi started to be carried out separately from plant science. This is understandable, fungi are mostly found in the same habitats as plants and like plants they do not move. However it is incredibly sad that fungi have been overlooked and understudied for so long, as they are not only fascinating but also crucial to life as we know it. Despite their close association with
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A Morning to Remember at the Aigas Loch

28 September, 2017. Posted by Aigas Field Centre

Determined to see an osprey fishing on the Aigas loch I made my way to the Kingdom hide at the ungodly hour of 4.30am. The hide is situated on the banks of the loch and offers excellent views over the water whilst also providing shelter and welcome relief from the midges. Having had fantastic views of a beaver feeding the previous night I was hoping that my luck would continue. I can tell you now that it most certainly did. Whilst waiting for an osprey to appear I occupied myself by scanning the furthest bank in roughly the same area the beaver had been the night before. Sure enough I managed to spot it again looking like a small furry island breaking the surface of the water.
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The First Frost

25 September, 2017. Posted by Aigas Field Centre

The autumnal equinox and our first grass frost this morning.  I was out and about early checking out the very visible animal trails through the frosty grass.  A small group of red deer hinds came through in the night, perhaps 8-10, right through the gardens and past the slumbering guests’ lodges.  Our habitual badgers, normally undetected, left distinct trails and hundreds of snuffle holes where they had been gorging on earthworms and crane fly larvae, building the brown fat they need before the winter closes in.  And, surprise, surprise, a pine marten came through ever hopeful that we had left the hen house hatch open.  He cheekily left a neat pile of semi-digested rowan berries on the top of the gate.  I guess it's his regular run,
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Fighting plastic pollution at the source

20 September, 2017. Posted by Aigas Field Centre

Everyday we take groups of adult guests and school children out in to the wild Highlands to show them the spectacular scenery, teach them about the habitats we visit and look for wildlife in its natural environment. All too often however, and increasingly, these natural habitats have an unwelcome and unnatural invader. It’s not an exotic plant this time, it’s plastic and it’s everywhere. From industrial plastic wrap stuck in trees, like decorations from the Nightmare before Christmas, to crisp packets floating like ugly leaves in puddles, broken fishing nets strewn on beaches, takeaway coffee cups spilling from bins in nature reserves and infinite consumer waste washing up on beaches. It is inescapable and it’s a huge threat to both wildlife and tourism in Scotland. Some of
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A Day on the West Coast

14 September, 2017. Posted by Aigas Field Centre

A day on the west coast of Scotland is the highlight for many of our guests during their week here at Aigas. I remember experiencing it for the first time during ranger training, which is a comprehensive 6 week training programme set up for us rangers on our arrival to this beautiful place in the wild Highlands. We are taken through absolutely everything there is to know, from geology and history, right through to the best places for wildlife spotting, and within those 6 weeks you start feeling like the Highlands has become your home. The west coast day is the longest day that we take guests on, but well worth the breath-taking views across the Minch (the water between the mainland and the Outer Hebrides), as
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Two days, five ospreys

7 September, 2017. Posted by Aigas Field Centre

Last week I was lucky enough to see two ospreys perching by the Aigas Loch. It was 6am and the loch was very peaceful, just myself and one of our guests. We were able to watch the ospreys gliding and perching for an hour. I was even able to take an extremely blurry photo. This was such a special experience as the ospreys will be leaving for their migration to Africa very soon. Their route will most likely take them south over England, France and Spain, then crossing over Gibraltar before they fly down the western coast of Africa where they will spend the winter. [caption id="attachment_1030" align="alignnone" width="360"] Two ospreys perched by the Aigas Loch. CREDIT: Alison Tait[/caption] I had fully expected this to be my
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Pine Martens at the Aigas Wildlife Hide

11 August, 2017. Posted by Aigas Field Centre

Our night in the hide, there at the Aigas Field Centre in the Scottish Highlands, remains a high point in our recent Road Scholar tour. We gathered at about 8:00 p.m., five Road Scholars led by Charlie (Charlotte Gardener), one of the young women Rangers who led us quietly into the hide. It was a comfortable space. Three high, long benches faced the open viewing windows. The benches were padded and a shelf in front of windows allowed for resting elbows, forearms and, even, chins. We knew it would probably be a long wait and we got settled as quietly as possible. I crossed my forearms comfortably on the shelf and watched Charlie as she seeded the viewing areas. We knew that pine martens, a relative of mink, otters and badgers, had a den
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