Scotland – the Very Best of UK Wildlife
Where in the United Kingdom can you see Snipe sitting on fence posts guarding their nests below? Or road signs saying ‘Caution: Otters crossing’? Or hear the hoarse ‘crex crex’ of the now scare corncrake once heard throughout these islands? The answer is somewhere in Scotland and its islands. Our guest speaker on October 27th was the renowned wildlife photographer, Paul Hobson, who treated us to a quick tour of Scotland and its different habitats accompanied by stunning photographs, thus revealing the richness and diversity of the land he describes as ‘almost an Arctic wilderness’. Migratory dotterel and red-necked phalarope, both examples of sexual inversion, breed in our northern lands, the more brightly coloured females mating and laying the eggs before sloping off to their next mating date, leaving Dad to brood the eggs and chicks. The naturalist will delight in the red squirrels, brown hares, ptarmigan – the only British bird to turn completely white in winter, otters, pine martens and a wealth of other mammals. Lekking black grouse and even the sight of a capercaillie are treats not to be missed. Everyone thrills at the sight of majestic re-introduced white-tailed eagles soaring over the pines, lochs and sea. But the arguments for and against the re-introduction of other species rages on: beavers? According to Paul, likely but under controlled conditions. Wolves and brown bears? – not a hope.
On November 10th the topic is the Biology and Geology of the Littondale Caves.
Photo – “Birkhahn” by Vnp. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Birkhahn.jpg#/media/File:Birkhahn.jpg