Doug Bartholomew and Gordon Campbell are the reserve managers looking after our National Nature Reserves at Taynish and Glasdrum. Here they provide an update on what has been happening on their patch this summer.
We have enjoyed some great community involvement at Taynish NNR this summer. Art at the Mill saw us working in collaboration with local artists and a selection of their work has been installed along the mill path and in and around the mill.
These pieces include a willow deer, glass birds, a giant dragonfly and oak leaf tapestries to name just a few. The work will be on display to the end of August.
There is also a new bench which we have called the Poets Seat and the end of the mill path. Constructed by Gordon and inscribed by local artist Margaret Kerr look out for the book of woodland poetry left at the bench and feel free to add one of your own!
Photography was the focus once again in our Snapberry project. Working in collaboration with Lochgilphead High School photography is used to connect school students to the wealth of nature found at Taynish. The project brings Lorne Gill, our staff photographer, to the area and his work with the local students is always well received.
We have been working with Tayvalich Primary School to increase their use and understanding of Taynish NNR. They have created several geocaches on the reserve working with local artist Sian MacQueen to design subtle containers that are in keeping with the reserve. The children have also been writing poems inspired by Taynish which went on display in the mill
Volunteering remains a big part of our approach and we continue to run our weekly volunteer days. Volunteers have assisted with a range of tasks including path work, scrub control and helping with butterfly monitoring. We are also delighted to have had student placements from Edinburgh University, Oatridge College West Lothian and Plumpton College in Brighton.
Work on improving and maintaining the reserve always gathers pace in summer when the supposedly better weather and longer days allow us to get out and about more. We have now installed a new spur path on the coastal trail. This route is to replace the dilapidated board walk down the shores of the Linne Mhuirich (a long narrow inlet on Loch Sween). It takes you out onto a small headland with great views up and down the loch.
You should note that there is also a picnic bench at the end of this new spur on the coastal path. A perfect lunch spot!
In the woods themselves we have had cattle grazing, and that’s been true on the coastal grasslands too. The cattle are owned and managed by SNH and we have several native breeds, including Highland, Belted Galloway and Shetland cattle. All of these species are suited to the rough grazing at Taynish.
The cattle grazing is vital to get the habitat requirements for Devil’s-bit-Scabious – which is important as a food plant of the marsh fritillary caterpillar. The cattle are also really important to our woodland grazing where they help create seed beds; breaking up thick woodrush and crushing bracken.
Finally at Taynish the summer has seen the replacement of the steps up the south end of Barr Mor, probably not an exciting blog topic but a lot of work!
Meanwhile at Glasdrum NNR our volunteer Allan Ross has continued to lead on our butterfly monitoring program – this is his second year of doing the transect. We’ve also used a horse-drawn roller to suppress bracken in some of the key butterfly glades.
As ever if you are heading to, or live in Argyll, we highly recommend a trip to either Glasdrum or Taynish NNR.
Find out more about Scotland’s suite of NNRs @ http://www.nnr-scotland.org.uk/
Image of horse-drawn roller (c) Caroline Anderson, all other images (c) Lorne Gill/SNH.