#StayWild Tip: Keep an eye out for newborns. Watch young rabbits, graceful cygnets and garden birds feeding their fledglings.
Well, the heatwave is over and we have inevitably resorted to typical June weather. It was a rainy, grey day for Day Ten, but temperatures remained fairly mild so not unpleasant at all. After a couple of weeks of almost zero rainfall and scorching temperatures, I am grateful for the continued rain.
I’ve been keeping an eye on the riverside in Callander, as I have spotted quite a few nesting ducks and swans, and I was keen to see the appearance of youngsters. I was really chuffed when i happened to glance over the side of a bridge to these female goosander and her brood of eleven sleepy ducklings. They woke sporadically, and would clamber to be on top of the feathered pile where I assume it was warmer than on the muddy grass. I’m sure these won’t be the only chicks to appear round about this time.
In the evening after dinner, I made it a mission to go looking for baby hares close to Loch Lomond again, and returned to Glen Fruin. I cruise very slowly along this road, and occasionally get very close to wildlife of interest, and this buzzard was patient enough to let me have a very good look at him. I love buzzards – they are my favourite bird of prey, for their exotic ubiquity more than anything else. I see so many of these beautiful birds on my commute to and from work, statuesque on telephone poles or circling over the road in search of easy pickings, and it’s hard to believe that they have become so widespread after their numbers declined after relentless persecution. This handsome stalwart was eventually seen off by an irritable magpie.
Shortly after the buzzard delayed, a hare loped out of the tall grass in the verge and made a run for it along the tarmac. I parked and kept a lookout but it didn’t return, so on a hunch I got out and went for a nosy in the nearby field. There wete lots of hares! They were mostly larger adult-looking animals, and they too scarpered into the tall grass and reeds, perhaps anxious because of the buzzard’s proximity. I stood still for a while (getting eaten alive by midges) until a particularly large and brazen hare broke cover. It sauntered past without even seeming to notice me, and I was able to take a very good look at it’s unusual eyes and gangly legs.
It is interesting to note the hares are not indigenous to Britain, and were introduced during the Iron Age from France. The only true British hares are mountain hares, which I have been lucky enough to see on a number of hills, especially Ben Chonzie.
Two close encounters tonight, with both hunter and prey, was a real treat and made this a very satisfying wild day.