Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Lacking photos, but...

I need to take the time to figure out how to put photos on here, not exactly rocket science I know but not something I am taking the time to do at the moment.

Surveying was great this time. I feel like every time I go my ability improves ten-fold. I need to do this with plant surveys as well, practise does make perfect.

One of my favourite things about surveying is when you come across secret animal happenings. Like stumbling across a holt, where you almost feel like the ground would be warm from the recent presence of the otter. That's pretty magical. Another is finding a site where the otter has eaten its fish - this particular site was on a very large, fallen over tree. The flat, wide trunk provided the  most incredible views over the loch, but was also private. I can well imagine the otter relaxing, and relishing the consumption of its prey. I imagine it on its back, as they love to do this, rolling about and playing with its food. They're such personable animals that it really is a joy to be surveying them, and being privy to their secret spots is definitely a perk of the job.

So next week I head out again, this time to survey for SNH. It's different methodology, much much easier than my stuff, and should be good! Fingers crossed that the weather stays nice....

Sunday, 5 August 2012

The Week Ahead (Heather's Ottering Forecast)

So...yesterday I arrived back from my wee holiday to beautiful Italy at half 2, and today, 23 hours later, having caught up on the thousand emails ("Heather, could you quickly prepare a progress report for the work you've carried out at such-and-such windfarm?" "Heather, we'd like to invite you to present your project at such-and-such conference...it's only £120 for the privilege." "Heather, buy this today and get this extra-ordinarily useless thing free, hooray!") that have flown into my inbox in my absence I am now preparing for heading north tomorrow morning to start another survey session.

While I was away I received a box of otter poo (oh, the joys!) from my supervisor which means that she has completed the Dinnet Lochs and some other outlying tributaries in my absence. This is good - even though the dinnet lochs were one of my favourite areas to survey in (it was the playing red squirrels that cinched it) they are a lot of extra work. And so it's only three tributaries of the Dee, the Dee itself and the Loch Shiel site in the west which I have to do.

A friend of mine, Rachel, is also coming to assist which is hugely exciting, as long periods of surveying can lead to a certain degree of loneliness. So I'll be picking her up on Fort William on Wednesday and then heading over the Corran Ferry to Strontian, and from there, over the extremely steep road to Loch Shiel and the River Hurich.

After the survey sessions (which I will aim to speak more about when I return) I'm heading to Knapdale to attend a Beaver Reintroduction course. Which I am very much looking forward to, but which I may be zombified for. Hopefully not. I shall be absent again for the next week though, before things calm down a wee bit.