The River Findhorn – Part V
Some time has passed since this blog series started. During that time, we’ve mainly talked about the history behind the river Findhorn. We told the sad, but romantic, story of the princess and the Danish prince… We relived the floodings of past years… We learned of Alastairs’ fate after his encounter with Randolph… And now, it is time to look at what else lives in, on, and around the ever flowing river Findhorn…
The hurried person will often not see, or notice, because he is in a rush. For the unnoticed to become noticed, one has to take time and really look. When one really looks, he will see. He will find life around the Findhorn. We will introduce a few animals that can be found around the Findhorn. Dear reader of this blog, please meet…
The Red Squirrel
The red squirrel is the UK’s only native squirrel species, and was once a common sight across all of mainland Britain. Today, red squirrels are sadly absent from most of England and Scotland’s central belt. However, they can be found all around the Findhorn, mostly spotted near Randolph’s Leap.
Red squirrels rely on woodland. They feed, nest and breed in trees and need good amounts of well-managed woodland to survive. Loss of woodland in the past has caused difficulties, but our woodland resource is currently expanding for a variety of reasons. Their biggest problem, is the introduction of grey squirrels. These animals were brought over from North America in the late 19th and early 20th century by people who thought they would make an attractive addition to our parks. Unfortunately, grey squirrels survive well, out-competing the smaller, more specialized red squirrels. Once found across Britain, red squirrels have been lost from most of England and Wales.
The grey squirrels also brought disease and while they have developed resistance to many of the virusses and diseases, these diseases created new threats for our red squirrels. This is possibly the single greatest risk to the future of red squirrels in Scotland.
The Barn Owl
Perhaps the most familiar owl, the barn owl will often hunt during the day and be seen ‘circling’ over fields and grasslands looking for its next meal. However, barn owls are also perfectly adapted to hunt in darkness with deadly precision: their silent flight and heart-shaped face, which directs high-frequency sounds, helps them to find mice and voles in the vegetation. There’s been a barn owl spotted around Randolph’s Leap quite a few times.
You can’t mistake the oystercatcher. Both sexes are similar, having black plumage with a white underbelly. They have a loud piping alarm call on the ground and in flight. The nest is usually a depression in stony ground. Both adults take turns to incubate the two or three eggs, which are slightly smaller than a domestic hen’s and heavily speckled. When the oystercatcher chicks hatch, they are always fed by the adults. Their main food at this time is earthworms, and because the chicks do not feed themselves, usually only two chicks survive to grow to adult size.
These are just three of the many animals that live around the Findhorn. Are you interested in knowing more about the local wildlife? Leave us a comment on the Facebook post, or send us a message, and we will post another blog about the others! Maybe even make it in a mini series… 😉
Thanks for reading this 5-part mini series!