Monday, 23 May 2016

Making the Most of Moorlands Update

New Wildlife Sightings Board at Whitshiels Café.

23rd May 2016

If you're wondering what wildlife is out and about on the moor at the moment or you've seen something yourself, please call into Whitshiels Diner, Langholm and read/update our sightings board.
John and Estelle are keen to welcome wildlife watchers and there's nothing better than a good cup of coffee and a cracking sausage sandwich to warm yourself up after a long spell on the hill.

Whitshiels Cafe & Caravan Park,
Langholm DG13 0HG

on a sadder note.....

Satellite tag news
Hattie and Grainne are safe and well on the moor, sad news about Cyan
Transmissions for Cyan ceased on 29th February with his last known location being an area of upland farmland to the NE of Lockerbie in Dumfries-shire. RSPB Scotland Investigations staff, in liaison with Police Scotland and Natural England made a thorough search of the area in the days following his disappearance. Although neither Cyan’s body nor the satellite transmitter were recovered, part of the skull and a significant number of feathers from an immature hen harrier were found, along with considerable signs of fox activity. This evidence strongly suggests that Cyan was predated by a fox, most likely while roosting overnight in a patch of rushes. Cyan was being satellite-tracked as part of an on-going Natural England research using a publically funded transmitter, in liaison with the Langholm Moor Demonstration Project.
Cyan in 2015

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Summer Term

Summer term is a busy one for us with school groups, it's a perfect time to get the youngsters out on the moor, enjoying some of the fairer weather and light nights.

This term we're working with three primary schools as well as two groups from Langholm academy. Unfortunately for the older academy pupils, as well as being the sunniest school term, this is also exam time, so we see little of the upper school as they all have their nose to the grindstone until mid June.

On Monday mornings we kick off the week with an S1 group working towards their John Muir Award, for this they have to discover, explore, conserve and share a wild place, in this case moorland! We've had great fun the last three weeks discovering and exploring the moorland with discovery walks, stream dipping and looking for adders and lizards in the sunshine.

Discovering and exploring

Saving tadpoles from the mud 

Trying to catch a fish
Monday afternoon's we've just started a Wildlife Rangers after-school club with Canonbie Primary. Last week we visited the moorland for the first time and enjoyed running wild and free while learning about the different plants and animals.

On Tuesday afternoons since the beginning of March two pupils from Langholm Academy learning base have been on regular visits to the moor while working towards their RSPB Hen Harrier Hero award. We've made bird feeders and watched birds at the Laverock Bird Hide, been litter picking on the moor road and also enjoyed stream dipping in the sunshine yesterday.

Stream dipping 
Making bird feeders

Litter picking 

Wednesday's we meet Hottsbridge Primary and head up onto the moor for some outdoor learning, alternating between the P1-3 class and the P4-7 class. Tying in with the curriculum for excellence we're covering a wide range of topics, primarily focusing on biological systems and understanding environmental issues.

Tentative about frog spawn

Taking shelter in a hole

Langholm Primary join us on a Thursday for another Wildlife Rangers after-school club, running in three week blocks for P4, P5 & P6. Primary 4's met their first week head on as we went den building in the snow and rain.

Overall we're pretty busy, and it's great to get so many young folk out on the moor. Understanding and enjoying the environment are hopefully the first steps to these young people looking after it in the future.

- Beckie, Education Assistant

Friday, 6 May 2016

Making the Most of Moorlands: Update

More migrants on the moorland edge.

Had a lovely walk along some moorland edge woodland on Wednesday (4.5.16). Lots of migrants including Redstart, Pied Flycatcher, displaying Tree Pipits, Swifts and a Cuckoo.


Tree Pipit

Tree Pipit 'parachuting' (display flight)

Male Pied Flycatcher

First Swift of 2016

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Making the Most of Moorlands: Update

Guided Watch at Harrier Corner

30th April 2016

Tawny Owl sleeping in the sun

Enjoyed a great morning's watch on the moor where we were treated to fantastic views of Harriers, Merlin, two Short eared owl, Raven, Buzzard, drumming Snipe, Wheatear, displaying Curlew and a pair of Greylag geese. After the watch a walk near Rashiel turned up the first Pied Flycatcher of the season for me (a lovely singing male) and a check of some Tawny sites afforded a lovely view of an adult sleeping in the sun. Happy days! Rick

A pair of Hen Harriers soaring above Harrier Corner

The first Pied Flycatcher of the year for me

One of two Short eared Owls calling from a rock