Things are happening…

… and it’s great.

If I haven’t already told you or you haven’t seen my tweet or heard me celebrating from next door (sorry Fraser), then I have news that made me extremely happy yesterday afternoon.

I hadn’t said anything before but I applied for an internship with Scottish Natural Heritage a few weeks back. This opportunity comes from a link between Scotland’s Rural College (where I study) and SNH in which SRUC students have the opportunity to apply for a year long internship with SNH at one of 7 sites, for example there’s a Grampian placement which covers St. Cyrus NNR, Muir of Dinnet NNR and Sands of Forvie NNR.

I applied for the Loch Leven NNR internship because it’s an area I know well and looked like the best of the bunch in my opinion. I was fortunate enough to be asked to go for an interview at Battleby House (a lovely place by the way) on Wednesday.

After the interview, which I thought went pretty well, I headed back up to Aberdeen and had to wait. Yesterday’s lectures were Classification and Identification of Organisms (ID skills) which I have no problems with, and Understanding the Landscape which looks like a very interesting module!

After lectures I headed out with a few course mates to help collect pieces of Yew Taxus baccata wood that were suitable for making bows out of (one of my course mates is quite into his archery and woodwork), and then proceeded to West Woods where I’d left my trail camera.


After reviewing the clips in the woods (you can do that with the LTL Acorn D5210A) I knew I had Badgers Meles meles captured, and once back in my room I realised a little Wood Mouse Apodemus sylvaticus jumps about picking up the seed that I scattered in front of the camera!

Whilst I was renaming files and uploading videos, I realised I hadn’t checked my emails in the past hour (I’d been checking them very frequently) so clicked on the Outlook tab that I always have open, and lo and behold there was an email confirming that my application was successful and I had been chosen for the internship at Loch Leven!

Quite simply the best thing that I think has ever happened to me. Not sure exactly when it starts but I suspect it’ll be about mid-June (don’t quote me on that). For now I have to organise getting back to Battleby on Tuesday for a “Working with the public outdoors” course which spans Tuesday and Wednesday. I can’t wait!

St. Serf’s Isle, Loch Leven

In other news, I’m going to an ORCA training day in a couple weeks as they are hopefully expanding northwards to Aberdeen, meaning I’ll be qualified to go out and survey for marine mammals from ferries! Quite different from anything else that I know as almost everything I know is terrestrial, other than birds of course. So that’ll be cool and just adds to my excitement about the coming weeks/year!

Bottlenose Dolphins, Moray Firth

I have one other piece of news that I’d like to tell you now, but you’ll have to wait until later today! In fact, I’ll probably just update this post when that news is made public.

I’m going out to place my camera trap in West Woods later in the hopes of getting more species recorded so I can submit them to the Mammal Society’s Mammal Tracker. Aiming for Pine Marten…

Well, it is later now, and BiOME Ecology’s new webzine has gone live! I was selected as the youth writer for the site and I’ll be contributing regular articles on various aspects of being a young ecologist/naturalist/conservationist. Although my first post isn’t particularly youth-focused, I hope you enjoy it!

It’s on “Tracks and Signs” although I’m sure you would’ve guessed that from the title! Have a good look around the site as there’s already loads of great articles up on various subjects ranging from the Honey Badger being found in the Western Sahara to asking whether citizen science can help reduce wildlife roadkill!

On another note, I’ve got to go and walk about another mile after discovering some very likely Pine Marten Martes martes scat on a forestry track after placing my trail camera somewhere else, and I’d like to move it so I have a better chance of getting Pine Marten!

Things are happening…

19 thoughts on “Things are happening…

  1. Wendy Bartter says:

    Great accomplishment Gus, sure you will do well given how passionate you obviously are about all things wild & Woolley! We know a bit about Loch Leven throgh Paul A posting on the forum of his favourite place I believe!


    1. Thanks Wendy! I can definitely agree with Paul, one of my favourite places too! Visited whenever I could, and know it pretty well. I’ll make sure to share anything interesting that I see!


    1. Cheers Pete, it wasn’t all of you “oldies” making mistakes, and there are plenty of people still making errors when it comes to countryside management. I’ll do my best to get rid of these mistake whilst still keeping people in mind 🙂


    1. I’ll keep an eye out for you with your camera! Can’t agree with you more, it’s a spectacular setting and I’m going to get everything I can out of it!


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