You may be forgiven for thinking that the wildlife of Nairn consists of a couple of thousand seagulls, several dozen ducks and two swans!
But there's more, much more............

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Ermine moths

This in from regular readers who were walking part of the River Findhorn:
We went for a walk that took us down to the Findhorn and spotted these white cobweb like objects in some trees. A Google suggests that they are Ermine moths doing their business, but despite only lasting a couple of months at this caterpillar stage the trees they had decided to grow on looked in a very sorry state, many with branches breaking and very few leaves free from the moths, not sure how many will survive the infestation

Monday, 24 May 2010

River Nairn herons - severley underrated?

For some like the Nairn Birder they are one of the top stars of the show. More of his thoughts here. 

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Swan nesting on the River Nairn

A slightly better day in Nairn after almost 48 hours of continuous snow/sleet/hail/rain and high winds.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Peacock butterfly

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Very lucky to see a solitary Peacock butterfly resting on a buddleia bush today.

It’s thought that the markings on the wings fool or confuse other animals and birds into thinking it is looking at the eyes of a small animal and help to protect the vulnerable body from attack. In contrast the underside of this butterfly is very drab and brown, almost resembling a dead leaf which allows it to blend in to its environment which is particularly useful when it is hibernating.

After spending the winter hibernating they emerge in the spring, mate and lays eggs on nettles. There is only one brood a year.

More information on this beautiful butterfly can be found here.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Longhorn Beetle

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Longhorn beetle
This specimen which was spotted near the Firhall Bridge is known as a four banded long horn beetle or, Leptura quadrifasciata.

Longhorns get their name from their long antennae. They feed on pollen and various bits of plants, mainly from umbellifers such as cow parsley and hogweed.


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Snap, crackle and pop - the sounds coming from exploding seed pods on Broom bushes.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Rosebay Willowherb

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This tall plant with purple/pink flowers is well into flowering but now nearly past its best and moving on to the seed stages. Soon there will be clouds of silky seed heads floating in the breeze.

An important plant for bees providing pollen for honey.

Used to be used by North American Indians for treating diarrhoea and typhoid and has anti-inflammatory benefits.

Monday, 1 June 2009


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Spotted ;) today, two woodpeckers. Other reported sightings say that the pair, who may have a nest in the area, are being pestered by Hoodies (confirmation has been requested that this is Hoodies as in crows rather than Hoodies as in Neds!). Still what goes around, comes around as Woodpeckers have been known to take eggs from other birds nests such as tits or house martins.

If you are lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time you may hear the Woodpeckers drumming or pecking. If you hear quick bursts of loud drumming then they are communicating with other birds to attract a mate or warn off other Woodpeckers from their territory. Lighter drumming on trees means they are trying to find food by disturbing and locating insects or creating and constructing a nest site. Both male and females drum.

An important part of their habitat is dead trees and one of the main places where a Woodpecker could be seen in recent years was in an area amongst Elm trees which had succumbed to Dutch Elm disease. With the removal of these trees from this area it was feared that the Woodpeckers would vanish but it’s good to know they are still in the vicinity.

Thanks to Tommy Hogg for the picture.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Roe Deer

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We have heard of three sightings of deer in or around Nairn this week. Apparently one was seen making its way down Rose Street! Unfortunately, another was found dead by the river near the Railway Bridge. But this little beauty was captured on camera by Tommy Hogg, thanks Tommy and well spotted.

Seemingly, they are very partial to very young, tender grass with a high moisture content ie. grass that has received rain the day before. So, they’ll be doing well at the moment thanks to the showers over the last couple of days.

It is very important if you see deer not to go near or approach them, particularly at this time of year where there may be fawns in the area, as the adults will often abandon them if they sense or smell that an animal or human has been near their young.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Red Squirrel

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Usually found up trees, not chimney pots! Thanks to Tommy Hogg for the picture of this cheeky Red Squirrel.

There are only about
120,000 left in Scotland, but we are lucky enough to have several areas throughout Nairn where Red Squirrels can be found.

As indicated by the name they are red, although depending on the time of year or the age of the squirrel, this can vary. They are extremely agile and very fast.

They are mainly solitary creatures apart from during the mating season, or if the weather is very cold, they may share a drey/nest in a mutual buddy/buddy system to keep warm.

Once mating is over the rest is up to the female. She raises the litter and by the age of eight to ten weeks the young squirrels are weaned and by ten to sixteen weeks are independent. There can be up to two litters a year, April and August, with, on average, three young.

Red Squirrels mainly live in coniferous forests, especially where there are Scots Pines and their diet consists of nuts and seeds; spruce, pine, larch, beech, hazel and acorns. They will also eat fungi, berries and bark and some may visit gardens and feed from bird tables and feeders.

They are a lot smaller than their southern cousins the Grey Squirrel which, hopefully, we will not see up here. Apparently they do not fight each other but the Grey Squirrel consumes more food so there is greater competition for resources. The Grey Squirrel also carries a virus,
Squirrelpox, which is usually fatal to the red squirrel. However, recent research indicates that the Red Squirrel may be developing some immunity to the virus.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Hawthorn flowers

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The Hawthorn trees and bushes are currently covered in white and pink flowers.
This is a very versatile tree. It provides a habitat and food source for a multitude of birds, small mammals and insects.

It also provides many uses for humans ranging from
medicinal to matters of the heart to supernatural.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Orange Tip butterfly

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There has been a lot of these butterflies on the go this week.

The male has the orange marking and the female is plain with no orange colour, hopefully we'll get a picture of a female soon.

The main food source at this time of year is Cow Parsley and Garlic Mustard of which there is plenty of at the moment. These butterflies are particularly attracted to plants which contain mustard oils. They detect the plants using hairs on their forelegs.

According to
Wikipedia this species has been on the increase over the past 30 years in Scotland, probably in response to climate change.

For more information have a look here.