New Victorian Grand Tour Date!

I am pleased to announce that we will be holding another Victorian grand tour guided walk on the reserve this month! On Saturday 9th August Lady Geraldine Lockhart Ross will be returning to the reserve to guide you through the woodlands and explore the history of the buildings that can still be seen in the woodlands and linking in with the history surrounding New Lanark. From the ruins of Corra castle and the architectural features that are all that remain of the Bonnington estate to the many visitors exploring the falls and woodlands as part of their grand tour around Britain this walk will guide you through the different ages of history.

Lady Geraldine Lockhart-Ross will lead visitors through the reserve on a tour through the reserve's history! © Paul Watt

Lady Geraldine Lockhart-Ross will lead visitors through the reserve on a tour through the reserve’s history! © Paul Watt

If you missed our Victorian tour earlier this month or simply wanting a walk with a difference and are keen to learn more about the history and wildlife on the reserve, then this event will provide the perfect opportunity to get out into the woodland and see the reserve in a whole new light!

The walk will begin at 2pm at our visitor centre and last for about two hours. For more information and to book places on this event please call our Falls of Clyde office on 01555 665 262. Booking is essential.

Hope to see you there!

Alex Kekewich – Falls of Clyde Seasonal Ranger

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Enjoy a Breath of Fresh Air

I am away on holiday this week so I thought I would let you know about a new Scottish Wildlife Trust campaign! It involves ‘jars’ of air from our 120 reserves around Scotland and the aim is to increase people’s connection with nature.

Enjoy a  Breath of Fresh Air (c) Scottish Wildlife Trust

Enjoy a Breath of Fresh Air (c) Scottish Wildlife Trust

The ‘Breaths of Fresh Air’ campaign is designed to give the public a chance to experience the different smells produced by the grasslands, wildflower meadows, woodlands and the many other types of habitat managed by the Trust. With 120 scents on offer – such as the harebells cliffs of Longhaven in Aberdeenshire, the hints of vanilla from the greater butterfly-orchid found in Bo’mains Meadow near Linlithgow, or the lichen and mosses of Ballachuan Hazelwood on Seil Island – visitors to Trust reserves will be spoiled for choice.

It is well documented that encounters with nature have proven physical and mental health benefits. We hope ‘Breaths of Fresh Air’ will help to increase the public’s connection with nature. Best of all, there is no need for the Trust to fill real jars with ‘Breaths of Fresh Air’ because 90% of the population of Scotland lives within 10 miles of a Scottish Wildlife Trust reserve. It’s the school holidays, so it is a great time to get outside and enjoy the wildlife that is right on your doorstep. People can easily find their nearest Scottish Wildlife Trust reserve on our website.

During our 50th Anniversary year, the Scottish Wildlife Trust would like people to take a little bit of time to enjoy a ‘Breath of Fresh Air’ of their own this summer. People are encouraged to tweet their ‘Breath of Fresh Air’ to the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Twitter account – @ScotWildlife – using the hashtag #MyBreathofFreshAir.

Laura Preston – Scottish Wildlife Trust, Falls of Clyde Ranger

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Bog Squad at Cander Moss

Last weekend I paid a visit to one of the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s other reserves in Clydesdale: Cander Moss near Larkhall, to carry out some surveying and habitat restoration with Butterfly Conservation’s bog squad. This area of raised bog is a fantastic habitat of sphagnum moss and heather that supports a wide range of wildlife. On Saturday evening I manged to put out a moth trap, though I was uncertain of how successful this would be due to the heavy rain forecast for that night. However, I was pleased to see that on Sunday morning there was a myriad of different moth species that had been caught including my first ever tiger garden moth!

Garden Tiger Moth from the moth trap at Cander Moss © Alex Kekewich

Garden Tiger Moth from the moth trap at Cander Moss © Alex Kekewich

 

The reserve is also home to other species including beetles, butterflies, amphibians and many more. While surveying for large heath butterflies we were able to cover a larger area of the bog and found plenty of invertebrates, frogs, a toad and even some Round-leaved Sun Dew: a carnivorous plant species! Unfortunately we did not spot any of the large heath butterflies but while clearing birch saplings we did discover this amazing emperor moth caterpillar! A fantastic find to end a fantastic day!

Emperor Moth Caterpillar from Cander Moss © Alex Kekewich

Emperor Moth Caterpillar from Cander Moss © Alex Kekewich

If you would like to find out more about the bog squad and the work Butterfly Conservation do please check out their website: http://butterfly-conservation.org/ or read the bog squad blog for news from previous work days, and photos from Sunday here:

Bye for now!

Alex Kekewich – Falls of Clyde Seasonal Ranger

Posted in Amphibians and Reptiles, Butterflies, Moths, Reserve work, Volunteer Opportunities, Wildlife | Tagged , , , , |

Bat and Moth Night!

The reserve is home to a great deal of insect life that can be seen during both the day and the night. From bees buzzing from flower to flower, butterflies fluttering over the meadow and literally hundreds of different species of moth flying around the woodland. All this insect life is perfect for the bats living on the reserve and provide a ready food source for them to hunt each night.

Moth trapping can find lots of different moth species, such as this beautiful poplar hawkmoth © Amy Lewis

Moth trapping can find lots of different moth species, such as this beautiful poplar hawkmoth © Amy Lewis

On Saturday 2nd August we have an exciting evening event scheduled at Corra Castle, looking at different species of moth and the bats that live in and around the reserve. Using moth trapping we will examine the different moths that can be found and learn more about their behaviors and lifestyle, as well as taking a guided walk to find some of the bat species that can be spotted on the reserve including pipistrelles among the trees and daubenton’s bats flying from their roosts in the chambers of Corra Castle to hunt over the river!

This event will begin at 8.30pm until 10.30pm, meeting at West lodge on the Corehouse side of the reserve. From there we shall walk you to the old court yard beside the castle where all the activities of the evening shall take place. To book places on this event please call our Falls of Clyde office on 01555 665 262. Booking is essential.

Hope to see you there!

Alex Kekewich – Falls of Clyde Seasonal Ranger

Posted in Bats, Events, Moths, Wildlife | Tagged , , , , , , |

Whispering bats

In a couple of weeks we are having a bat and moth evening at Corra Castle. It’s going to be really great, we will have a moth trap set up and a local expert will be joining us. We’re also going to take a walk down to the river to watch and learn about the daubentons bats that feed there. The reserve is perfect for bats because of all the roosting opportunities, including the castle.

Brown long-eared bat (c) Laura Preston

Brown long-eared bat (c) Laura Preston

One species that is found in Scotland but is rarely seen (or heard on a bat detector) is the brown long-eared. As you can see from the photograph they truly do have long ears. They are also very cute; when they are sleeping their ears are all scrunched up but when they wake up their ears grow really big! Now, these guys are known as ‘whispering bats’ because they echolocate really quietly. This echolocation only reaches about 3-5m from the bat so you have to be really close to them to pick up their sound. The amazing thing about their echolocation is that they sound exactly like a Geiger counter.

They don’t need to echolocate loudly because they fly really close to shrubs and trees; gleaning moths and larger insects off leaves and bark. Their broad wings and tail allow for great manoeuvrability and they can even hover. They will often have a perch which they will come back to after catching their prey. They will eat the meaty bodies of the insect and discard the inedible wings. If you ever see a small pile of insect wings on the ground then you know it might be a perch for this bat. What would be even more amazing to do would be to go back later on and try and see the bat itself!

Laura Preston – Scottish Wildlife Trust, Falls of Clyde Ranger

Posted in Bats, Moths | Tagged , , , , , , , , , |