Holiday accommodation, events and tourist information for the villages of Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, St Fillans and Strathyre in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, where Perthshire meets the Highlands in central Scotland
Spring is here and, along with the emergence of snowdrops and crocuses in our gardens, we see the return of hedgehogs from their hibernation and frogs, toads and newts make their way to breeding ponds. Travelling along roads these amphibians are at risk from cars as well as the chance of dropping down gulley pots at the kerbside so please be on the look out. We are looking forward to the return of our garden slow worms who will once again take up residence in our ‘snake heap’ of grass cuttings.
We have been lucky to see a couple of stoats in their brilliant white ‘ermine’ coats this winter, but they will now be moulting into their summer coats as will the mountain hares. The grouse of the high tops, the ptarmigan, will also change from white plumage to grey as camouflage against becoming dinner for the golden eagle.
We will soon say goodbye to the winter thrushes, the redwing and the fieldfare and we will see flocks of pink-footed geese flying high in V formations to their summer breeding grounds in Greenland and Iceland. We will be saying hello to the sand martins, wheatears, willow warblers and ospreys which will be joining us for summer after their African winter. A little later, swallows and house martins will be looking to nest under our eaves and in our garden sheds again.
Our local golden eagle pair are already on eggs as are the neighbouring ravens They will nest even while there is a risk of snow whilst most other birds will wait until April or May.
We had a wonderful time guiding a group to Islay in February. The weather was mild and we were able to tick off otter, hen harrier, chough, twite, white-tailed and golden eagles, as well as watching huge flocks of barnacle and white-fronted geese. We had fabulous close encounters with hares, red and roe deer and feral goats. Each day was topped off with home-cooked meals, open fires and good company. Why not join us next year?
Kids Go Wild!
We hear so much these days about the disconnect between people and nature – especially young people. We are running our Wild Wednesdays at Comrie Croft for 7-12 year olds where they will discover what animals can be found at the Croft, where they live, what they eat and how they spend their days.
If you are interested please keep up to date with the details by checking on our Facebook page.
Brilliant Birding in Extremadura
Our next trip at the end of April is to the birdwatching paradise of Extremadura in central Spain. Staying in a converted farmhouse we will spend a leisurely six days visiting steppes, lakes and mountains and will be surrounded by bee-eaters, hoopoes, rollers, corn buntings and nightingales. We will see five species of eagle and three species of vulture, three species of kite as well as sandgrouse and bustards.
The wildflower meadows, the wetlands and the cork oak forests are just stunning and all this within a stone's throw of the fantastic Montfrague National Park.
We still have one twin room left so why not come along?
It’s not only youngsters who are disconnected from nature. How many of us have spent a summer evening sat quietly next to a river as dusk falls in the hope of catching a glimpse of an otter or a beaver? And whilst waiting, bats flutter around you, kingfishers zip past and a roe deer walks close by unaware of your presence. Or, how many of us are aware of the black grouse that display at their leks near to towns and villages, the newts and the dragonflies that live in our ponds or the golden eagles that patrol the hills and mountains around us? If you haven't experienced this, you should give it a go.
If you would like to reconnect with nature this year, then why not join us for a bespoke guided tour or walk?