Mar Lodge

Wednesday 15 January 2014, 20:55

Peter Holden Peter Holden Head Ranger

Here in the Cairngorms, I never feel it’s really winter unless there is snow lying on the ground or a hard frost. So the cold spell of the last couple of days is most welcome after the very wet and windy start to the year.
The light covering of snow provides great opportunities to find tracks of animals which might otherwise be quite elusive.
Mar Lodge
It’s great to find the footprints of otter and the ‘toboggan’ runs where they have clearly been sliding down the snow covered rocks at the side of the fast flowing water, showing what playful animals they can obviously be.
Elsewhere, red deer have wandered down to lower ground seeking food and shelter from the harsh conditions at higher altitude. Plenty of red squirrels too, still active, as they do not hibernate, finding buried seed cones or visiting the nut feeders around the estate buildings. 
The recent strong gales have blown over quite a few trees. Sad though it might appear, most of these trees, fallen or dead, still form an important element of our woodlands, providing a home and shelter for the incredibly diverse, and sometimes rare species of invertebrates, mosses, lichens and fungi that have been recorded here.
Ancient trees form an important link with the past - in fact, the oldest known tree on the estate is a gnarly scots pine high up in one of the glens. You wouldn’t think it to see it, twisted as it is and eking an existence out of the bouldery scree, but it has been reliably aged from dendrochronological research at over 530 years old.

In all, there is over 70,000 acres of Mar Lodge Estate, from the Arctic-like high tops of the mountains (four of the five highest British mountains) – to extensive heather moorland, native woods and upland rivers, including the source of the Dee.

We are looking forward to sharing some of that with you all as the home of Winterwatch next week.

It’s great to find the footprints of otter and the ‘toboggan’ runs where they have clearly been sliding down the snow covered rocks at the side of the fast flowing water, showing what playful animals they can obviously be.
Elsewhere, red deer have wandered down to lower ground seeking food and shelter from the harsh conditions at higher altitude.
Plenty of red squirrels too, still active, as they do not hibernate, finding buried seed cones or visiting the nut feeders around the estate buildings. 
The recent strong gales have blown over quite a few trees.  Sad though it might appear, most of these trees, fallen or dead, still form an important element of our woodlands, providing a home and shelter for the incredibly diverse, and sometimes rare species of invertebrates, mosses, lichens and fungi that have been recorded here.
Ancient trees form an important link with the past - in fact, the oldest known tree on the estate is a gnarly scots pine high up in one of the glens.  You wouldn’t think it to see it, twisted as it is and eking an existence out of the bouldery scree, but it has been reliably aged from dendrochronological research at over 530 years old.
In all, there is over 70,000 acres of Mar Lodge Estate, from the arctic-like high tops of the mountains (four of the five highest British mountains) – to extensive heather moorland, native woods, and upland rivers including the source of the Dee.  We are looking forward to sharing some of that with you all as the home of Winterwatch next week.Here in the Cairngorms, I never feel it’s really winter unless there is snow lying on the ground or a hard frost. So the cold spell of the last couple of days is most welcome after the very wet and windy start to the year.  The light covering of snow provides great opportunities to find tracks of animals which might otherwise be quite elusive.
It’s great to find the footprints of otter and the ‘toboggan’ runs where they have clearly been sliding down the snow covered rocks at the side of the fast flowing water, showing what playful animals they can obviously be.
Elsewhere, red deer have wandered down to lower ground seeking food and shelter from the harsh conditions at higher altitude.
Plenty of red squirrels too, still active, as they do not hibernate, finding buried seed cones or visiting the nut feeders around the estate buildings. 
The recent strong gales have blown over quite a few trees.  Sad though it might appear, most of these trees, fallen or dead, still form an important element of our woodlands, providing a home and shelter for the incredibly diverse, and sometimes rare species of invertebrates, mosses, lichens and fungi that have been recorded here.
Ancient trees form an important link with the past - in fact, the oldest known tree on the estate is a gnarly scots pine high up in one of the glens.  You wouldn’t think it to see it, twisted as it is and eking an existence out of the bouldery scree, but it has been reliably aged from dendrochronological research at over 530 years old.
In all, there is over 70,000 acres of Mar Lodge Estate, from the arctic-like high tops of the mountains (four of the five highest British mountains) – to extensive heather moorland, native woods, and upland rivers including the source of the Dee.  We are looking forward to sharing some of that with you all as the home of Winterwatch next week.

Comments

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  • rate this
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    Comment number 4.

    you're a hunting lodge, stuff that. will be staying as far away from you as I can. The BBC shouldn't be giving you airtime or money

  • rate this
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    Comment number 5.

    When are we going to discuss what really goes on at the estate and how the reduction in the deer population has impacted on the surrounding estates we should also speak to the game keepers since the estate was set up an still Is primarally ran as a sporting estate and it my understanding that is to managed for that purpose in the future .old greg

  • rate this
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    Comment number 6.

    Nice to see some of the other unique species of wildlife on Mar Lodge getting some acknowledgement. Having seen first-hand what a special place Mar Lodge is, it really makes me appreciate the hard work that all the staff on the estate put in to conserving the unique environments and flora and fauna.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 7.

    Have to add to Ray's comment that Glasgow has a large population of inner city and suburban foxes.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 8.

    In 1982 we had a fox enter our house via two cat flaps and steal a joint of roast beef which was defrosting on the side. It was about two in the morning. Heard a clatter downstairs, went down to investigate plate on the floor beef gone. In the morning we found the wrapper in the garden. The next night, on the way home, from a night out, we noticed a fox walking across the road in front of us going in the direction of our house. Built up Milton Keynes.

 

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