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Friday, 12 August 2011

Corrimoney RSPB Reserve - Survey update

I've just updated the survey map with records around the Corrimony Falls area.

The image on the left is looking down onto the main part of the falls from the top of the gorge.

Up river from the falls and on the left in the picture, a mix of birch, rowan and hazel grows on the steep sides of the gorge.

Here I found signs of squirrel split hazel cobs from last year which had been collected and carried to the top to be eaten.

Pine Marten scats (faeces or droppings) are frequent along trails paralleling the gorge and away into the forest.

At regularly used spots there are multiple droppings of different ages which act as territorial markers and messages to other Martens.

The forest to the east of the River Enrick is Scots Pine plantation with a herb layer of Bracken, Bilberry, Heath, Moss and grasses.

Scattered within this layer are the clues to Squirrel feeding activities that I'm looking for. It would be difficult to find anything which drops into the bottom of this low level jungle but fortunately squirrels like to sit on stumps, logs and moss mounds when ground feeding; and the more recent remains stay on the surface for some time before being hidden.

The image below shows the remains of a partially ripened scots pine cone which has been ripped apart to get at the seeds.

This next image shows the undamaged tops of two green cones which were dropped from the canopy after the squirrel removed the lower scales. I would imagine that the seeds were not fully developed and the squirrel gave up part way through to look for better cones.

Further down river on the northern boundary of the reserve stand some mature Norway Spruce, Larch and Douglas Fir.

The next image is of a partially consumed green Douglas Fir cone. I've only ever seen Douglas cones worked on when they're green and not when they're fully ripened. I don't know if there's a reason for this other than me not finding them.

Next is a Larch cone where the Squirrel removed the seeds without completely destroying the cone. This is due to the much softer scales which the squirrel can bend and tear back.

and finally, Norway Spruce cones where the scales are chewed off to get at the seed. These cones were worked on the ground as indicated by the close group of scales.

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This web site is about the wildlife, particularly the mammals, of the Glen Affric National Nature Reserve area in the north west Highlands of Scotland, UK; and the equipment I use to search for them, which is chiefly trail cameras.

I provide a technical support and parts service for the Ltl Acorn range of cameras and the income from this provides for the upkeep of this site and the purchase of cameras for my own surveying.

I hope you find the site useful and informative; and please contact me if you have any questions that I haven't already covered.