Thursday, 27 April 2017
13 brave youngsters joined us in the freezing cold and sleet on Monday for the first session of our new Nature Club. They were tasked with dissecting owl pellets and making displays of what they found. They also toped up the bird feeders and introduced themselves to the friendly pheasants!
More fun to be had for the next session on the 8th - looking forward to it! Cathy
Friday, 21 April 2017
Making the Most of Moorlands - A long over-due update!!
News from 'The Hill'
Firstly, allow me to apologise for the lack of updates recently. Things have been a bit manic but that's no excuse! So here's a summary of the last few months.
Breeding started early in the raptors as a promising vole year spurred a Barn Owl into action, incubating a clutch of four eggs on March 10th! Hen harriers are back in good numbers with latest estimates as high as 9 pairs. Sky-dancing has been regular and some fantastic displays have been observed. Merlins are making everything aware of their presence by cuffing up anything that enters their territory good numbers of Black grouse have been observed at various Lek sites around the Moor.
Spring Migrants have been steadily arriving, the first of which was a singing Chiffchaff at Longwood. Species and rough dates as follows:
Chiffchaff - 27.3.2017
Sand Martin: 1.4.2017
Willow Warbler: 7.4.2017
Pied Flycatcher: 20.4.2017
Common Sandpiper: 20.4.2017
Good numbers of Curlew on the moor and more Lapwings than last year also.
|Common Sandpiper 20.4.2017|
|Pied Flycatcher 20.4.2017|
Lots going on with school groups at the moment. 40 S1students are working towards their John Muir Discovery Award, Lewis and Kain from Langholm Learning Base our helping out every Tuesday and Ryan Kennedy is volunteering for a full day every Monday.
|John Muir Group 2017|
|Lewis and Kain|
|Ryan putting up a trail camera for Barn Owls|
The Duke of Edinburgh Volunteers have busy with litter picks and other activities through the winter racking up hours towards their Silver Award - Thanks for all your help Guys!!
|Lydia and Mathew|
Two senior students from Langholm Academy have been creating a portfolio of Moorland related photography - the results of which will be displayed during the Moorland May Festival 2017.
Seasonal Education Assistant Cathy Hooper has been running a series of very successful holiday activities over Easter. Lots of youngsters headed out onto the moor for a wide variety of fun filled sessions from Bird watching and Bushcraft to Stream Dipping. Everyone had a jolly nice time!!
|A slug on the nose!!|
|Wee water beasties.... and Leo|
Tuesday, 7 March 2017
Thursday, 2 February 2017
Making the Most of Moorlands - Update
Langholm Academy Learning Base Work Experience 31/01/17
This weeks task saw Kain and Lewis turn detective as they investigated owl pellets including the grisly task of dissecting them to discover what our local owls had for tea!
The guys found many interesting bits including skulls, leg bones and hip bones as can be seen below:
A great session - well done guys!
Especially for undertaking such a gruesome task just before Lunch!
Thursday, 26 January 2017
Blog update from Seasonal Education Assistant Jan 26th 2017
Hi! I’m new to the moorland project so thought I’d tell you a bit about my time here so far.
We have been working closely with students from Langholm Academy and Learning Base; some of whom are volunteering with us as part of their Duke of Edinburgh and Saltire Awards.
Tasks have included setting camera traps, (aiming to capture wildlife footage) restocking bird feeders, carrying out bird surveys and litter picks as well as putting up bird boxes along the Tarras.
We’ve seen lots of different wildlife including a Hen Harrier and have found some promising signs of otters along the Tarras – including their poo! This is also known as ‘Spraint’ and is distinctive due to its strong but not entirely unpleasant aroma. Hopefully we will catch some video footage of this most elusive of creatures having set up several camera traps along the burn.
I’m looking forward to meeting and working with more of the community over the next few months and am particularly looking forward to our Easter holiday events as well as the return of Moorland May.
– More details coming soon – Watch this space!.....
Tuesday, 15 November 2016
Making the Most of Moorlands - Work Experience
A week of work experience - Ruairi Hotson
7th - 11th November 2016
Ruairi followed Ciaran for another great week of work experience. During Ruairi's week he completed the following tasks: Filmed Waxwings and a Kestrel for the upcoming Langholm wildlife film, put up trail cameras to monitor various wildlife, built and installed a dipper nest box, sited and stocked a new wild feeding station at John's Bank, secured evidence of a satellite tagged Hen Harrier on the moor, continued to stock up the bird table and update the sightings board at Whitshiels, checked a woodland for signs of Long eared Owls, guided a local volunteer to enjoy sightings of Waxwings, Brambling and Hen Harriers and even braved the first snows of winter to check the hare feeding station, monitor raptors and even build a giant snow harrier!!
Ruairi has been a fantastic help all week displaying a great attitude and was a pleasure to work with.
Ruairi wrote the report below following his placement:
During my work experience Rick and I done tasks like putting food out at the new bird table at Whitshiel's Cafe, laying out peanuts to attract different types of birds and squirrels at Longwood and took photographs of a type of bird called Waxwings in the co-op car park, the tall trees across from the co-op and the trees next to Border Fine Arts. We put out cameras to capture footage of different types of birds such as Black Grouse and Tawny Owl. We put up a camera to capture footage of the hares between back of Tarras and Newcastleton. In the last few days we set up our very own feeding station and put up a camera to see if anything was eating or coming nearby that area. Birds of prey that we seen during the week were Buzzards, Grouse, Pheasants, Kestrels, a tawny owl and many more and even got to see a rare sighting of a Hen Harrier. During this week I have seen and heard amazing things and I have thoroughly enjoyed this experience, I would do it again and wouldn't mind having a job like this in the future. I would like to thank Rick for making it so fun and enjoyable and it has been a pleasure to work with him.
Many thanks to Ruairi for all his effort and hard work and we hope to see him back in Spring for some volunteering - Rick
|Ruairi and the Snow Harrier!|
|Another fantastic Dipper box along the Tarras|
Making the Most of Moorlands: Work Experience
A week of work experience - Ciaran Jackson
31st October - 4th November 2016
Ciaran joined me for a week of work experience on Monday 31st October and we kept him pretty busy!
During his placement Ciaran's jobs included: Building and installing Dipper nest boxes along the Tarras, creating a new pond at the Laverock Hide, setting trail cameras to capture footage of hares and tawny owl, filming shoals of Salmon and Sea Trout at Skippers Bridge, feeding red squirrels at Longwood, updating the sightings board and stocking the feeding station at Whitshiels Cafe, tracking otters, putting forward valuable input during a graphic design meeting, removing a very smelly Goosander egg from an old nest site and guiding a couple from Selkirk to Harrier Corner to show them their very first Merlin!
Ciaran was an absolute pleasure to work with and we hope to see him again as a volunteer next season.
Ciaran wrote the report below following his placement:
During my week of work experience I spent a lot of time fixing and creating habitats for the wildlife on the moor. I created a pond and built two bird boxes which have been placed by rivers to hopefully become homes for Dippers. I also set up two cameras on the moor. Unfortunately they were a fail and there was no footage. Through this Rick taught me about lots of species of birds that live on the moor. I learned what they look like and how they hunt and learned about species that I didn't even know could live there. I enjoyed learning about how this project runs on a day to day basis and how it is trying to improve the moorland and Langholm.
Many thanks to Ciaran for all his hard work - Rick
|Ciaran and a Dipper's new home!|
|Ciaran admires his handy work at the Laverock Hide.|