The devastating damage that deer can do, part 2

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 09.32.37 In August four colleagues and I spent three days on the West Affric Estate, a 10,000 acre area of land that encompasses the headwaters of the Affric River, and is owned by the National Trust for Scotland (NTS). We were there to look at some of the areas that we worked with NTS on between 1993 and 2000, when ten deer-fenced exclosures were erected, to kick-start the process of forest recovery on the estate ... read more

  • 10th Sep 2015, by Alan Watson Featherstone

The devastating damage that deer can do: Part 1

Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 09.47.43 In May 2004, during a visit to the National Trust for Scotland’s (NTS’s) West Affric Estate, which encompasses the headwaters of the Affric River watershed, I had a remarkable and memorable experience. While checking up on some small-scale stock fenced exclosures that our volunteers had erected around some tiny overgrazed eared willow (Salix aurita) seedlings beside the Affric River in 1997, I found several bluebell plants (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) in full bloom in one of them ... read more

  • 1st Sep 2015, by Alan Watson Featherstone

A visit to Scotland’s most westerly pinewood

IMG_9457 Over the years I’ve visited many of the old native pinewoods that are remnants of the original Caledonian Forest, which formerly covered much of the Highlands. However, I’d never been to the most westerly of those pinewood areas, at Shieldaig in Wester Ross ... read more

  • 17th Aug 2015, by Alan Watson Featherstone

Rediscovery of a rare species at Dundreggan

IMG_7663-300x200 In 2012, during a survey he did for us of aphids on Dundreggan, Ed Baker discovered a species that had never been recorded in Britain before. This turned out to be the giant juniper aphid (Cinara smolandiae), which up until then had only been found in Sweden, Finland and north-west Russia ... read more

  • 2nd Aug 2015, by Alan Watson Featherstone

A remarkably creative weevil

IMG_6120-300x200 On 28th June I spent the day in Glen Affric, mainly photographing insects in the vicinity of Badger Falls and Dog Falls, and in the summer it’s one of the best places in the glen to encounter a diverse range of insects that live on trees ... read more

  • 6th Jul 2015, by Alan Watson Featherstone

The return of the leaves

IMG_4145 Spring has been really late in northern Scotland this year and by the end of April most of the trees were still leafless. In most years, the birches, rowans and other trees generally get their new leaves in the second half of April ... read more

  • 9th Jun 2015, by Alan Watson Featherstone

In search of Scotland’s oldest pines

IMG_3001-Rainbow-over-old-Scots-pine In 1997, the Forestry Commission’s research branch made a remarkable discovery when they were surveying a remote and small remnant of the native pinewoods of the Caledonian Forest in Glen Loyne, in Lochaber ... read more

  • 28th May 2015, by Alan Watson Featherstone

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