Trip reports

Scotland's Big Nature Festival

Scotland's Big Nature Festival
Old car - new use (Margaret Harrison)

Saturday, 21 May 2016

This event, now in its fifth year, was held for the second time at Levenhall Links on 21-22nd May. The weather was warm, but blustery with a shower always threatening - but still, an improvement on some years!

The theme for the Festival was 'Giving Nature A Home' and one of the more colourful exhibits was a car covered in pollen-bearing wild flowers with crafty habitats for hedgehogs and frogs hidden inside.

A number of local group members volunteered their time in a number of varying roles. The emphasis of the event was very much a family fun day with many events aimed at children. We helped at the pond dipping where we helped families catch dragonfly nymphs, water lice, and sticklebacks not to mention some leeches! We also helped families to hunt for mini-beasts with butterfly nets in the long grass and bushes. A woolly bear caterpillar was one of the interesting finds along with a huge variety of spider species which were all taken to the 'spider lady ' (one of the volunteers who had an amazing knowledge of spiders) for identification. Other jobs undertaken were on reception, directing visitors around the site, advertising the tombola, litter picking and distributing leaflets.

Other local group members attended intent on purchasing optics, of which there was a wide selection, or to attend the talks. There were some excellent speakers with my attention caught by Graham Pettigrew talking about the mountain hares of the Lammermuirs, particularly pertinent since we had seen a mountain hare on our recent Group outing from Gifford. On the Sunday, Ian Thomson gave a very impassioned talk entitled 'Raptor Persecution- the Facts' - a very thought provoking talk about the lack of raptors over areas under grouse management. On a similar theme Ian Poxton gave a talk asking the question whether merlins and other upland birds are under threat on grouse moors.

As always, the bird ringing stand proved very popular with a blackcap, great tit and blackbird being some of the birds ringed which kept adults and children enthralled.

Anne Sinclair