Aigas Field Centre
Aigas Field Centre

Riverview Ranger Recording Restart

3 February, 2021. Posted by Aigas Field Centre

Back in May last year, rangers Michelle and Richard, and education officer Milo, set themselves the challenge of recording 100 species in 24 hours in the area around their house. They ended up finding an incredible 140 species over the course of the day! For the rest of the year, they kept a track of the species that they saw in the area, tallying up hundreds of species.

This year, Riverview veteran Milo has been joined by rangers Emily and (myself) Calum. With another lockdown underway, we decided it was time to start afresh with the Riverview wildlife records. The whiteboard was wiped clean, and the 2021 species lists were started!

It hasn’t been a particularly easy start to the Riverview recording year! Sub-zero temperatures and frequent bouts of snow have kept the plants buried, and most invertebrates tucked away under logs, inside dead trees, or even underground in an effort to make it through the Highland winter. That said, we did find a particularly hardy Pale Brindled Beauty moth attracted to the light of the living room window, flying in -3⁰ C!

A Pale Brindled Beauty, the first moth of the year!
Calum trying to identify frozen plants

Our bird feeders have provided us with a steady flow of new species, from regulars such as Coal Tits, to a bright male Yellowhammer who briefly graced us with his presence. Our beautiful view over the River Beauly has given us daily sightings of Goldeneye ducks and Cormorants, with occasional fly-bys from snowy white Whooper Swans.

Coal Tits are among our most regular visitors.   © Emily Richens.

Over the long, dark evenings sat by the log burner, we’ve been treated to visits from Pine Martens and Badgers (including Duncan our regular Badger, identifiable from his old war wounds) whilst the local Tawny Owls have exchanged occasional shivering hoots from the frozen Birches above!

A Pine Marten visits the living room window!    © Richard Thompson

As beautiful as the winter snows have been, we’re looking forward to the arrival of the warm glow of Spring, when the plants will be thawed out, and the Riverview moth trap can be dusted off ready for action! If things go well, we may need a bigger whiteboard…

Words by Aigas Ranger, Calum Urquhart