Busy times… Quick update

That title is me trying to excuse myself from blogging much/at all in the past month or so. Got plenty going on at the moment and have had plenty going on in the past few weeks so I’ll give you a brief summary…

Since my last blog post, I have got my PassPlus driving certificate. This is basically extra instruction covering aspects of driving that aren’t usually covered in driving lessons (night driving, dual carriageways, rural roads, etc.). That’s the first time I’d driven since I passed last September and I eased back into it a lot quicker than expected. Unfortunately it hasn’t taken anything off my insurance…

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Tree Bumblebee Bombus hypnorum doing well in Edinburgh

… i.e. I’ve got a car now! Dark blue Peugeot 107, nice wee car that’ll definitely get me to Loch Leven from where I’ll be staying in Dollar. I might even be able to twitch a bit! That White-winged Scoter is tempting… Plus, the extra tuition on country roads will come in handy for my placement as well.

Between my PassPlus lessons and returning to Wester Ross to do some more surveying, I had a wee session of looking for Water Vole Arvicola amphibius tracks and signs at an undisclosed locations. We were successful in seeing the field signs and also saw some good birds. Most notable were a pair of Ospreys Pandion haliaetus in an area where there are no known nests. It seems unlikely these two had a nest in the area due to the behaviour but still quite a nice record.

Once again, I had an amazing time surveying, so much inspiration from the 4 days spent up there in relatively good weather (18°C on the first day!). Far more plants were in bloom, actually saw more birds this time, and ventured into new areas including moths and dragonflies (I’ve already purchased a moth field guide…). Here are the best bits from the days spent up there…

Of course, my camera isn’t always at the ready, but I did see my first Pine Marten Martes martes slink off the road and into the bracken, and managed to find a potential new breeding site for Snow Bunting Plectrophenax nivalis which was very nice given Dotterel managed to evade me yet again…

Shortly after returning back to halls I then returned back to Edinnburgh after a very successful and much enjoyed first year at SRUC! Now I’m looking forward to my week on the Isle of May (2-9 July) and then starting my internship with SNH at Loch Leven on the 18th!

That’s it for that quick update, I might do another wee post today on other various topics. Not sure though…

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Elephant Hawkmoth Deilephila elpenor caught by @mothithology, photo by me

P.S. Just remembered, what a sh*te result in the EU referendum, in terms of everything I stand for. But obviously all we can do is stand even stronger for nature and conservation in the UK. Although obviously it may become the un-United Kingdom if Scotland decide to leave. If we do then I can only hope that we somehow re-join the EU…

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Busy times… Quick update