Have our community woodlands ever been so valued? Not only have lock-downers been taking their daily exercise there, from all over Portmoak, but folk have had time to notice just how much wildlife they contain.
There’s plenty of space, in both Portmoak Moss and Kilmagad Wood, to dodge other people and now that meetings and group tasks have been suspended there have been lots of exchanges about what’s out there.
It started with a few emails between members of Portmoak Community Woodland Group and now we’re getting daily reports from our wider mailing list, not only about the woodlands but all sorts of other places.
Although the pandemic is grim, these ‘nature notes’ have been helping to keep our spirits up. They range from expert identifications to the puzzled observations of amateur naturalists. As you can see:-
‘There is frog spawn in my pond - an immaculate conception, I never saw any frogs.’
‘I met a couple of mating frogs on the Loch path on my cycle run yesterday….’
‘Hi, in the last couple of days, we have seen boxing hares near Grahamstone, frogs, toads, and frogspawn in the pond near Grahamstone, yellowhammers, deer, and a red squirrel in Kilmagad Wood….’
‘I was up at the top of the golf course and nearly stood on a male pheasant who was clearly sitting on a nest. This is usually the females job. Any ideas?’
‘4 herons today, female swan on nest, male keeping a close eye on things, chaffinches, goldcrest, willow warbler (I checked out their sound on line).’
‘This squirrel has a very bright tail end … umm … that didn’t sound right. The end of its tail is very light, almost like it’s been dipped in bleach. Sounds better.’
'Willow warblers, chiffchaffs and blackcaps singing at the south end of the Moss, towards the gliding field this evening.’
‘The green woodpeckers and jays are in fine voice (in the Moss) the jays sound horrendous but nice to have them.’
‘Lovely! I was out extra early this morning and saw a hare running across a field at Grahamstone. My eyes were watering so much due to the cold wind that all I saw was a brown fuzzy thing sprinting to the field edge.’
‘15 roe deer spotted together close to the Moss in the fields - though more often split into herds of 7 and 8.’
Some people didn’t have to go beyond their front doors for some interesting sightings.
‘Did we tell you that whilst we were out in the street saluting the NHS on Thursday last I noticed a pair of swallows had re-occupied last year’s nest on the house opposite us?’
‘House martins have returned to their nesting sites in Scotlandwell.
And the first of the rooks nests behind the wash house have chicks. Only one nest last year and 17 this year…'
‘Just saw loads of swallows at least 10 flying around (in Scotlandwell) - spring has sprung’.
‘For the last two nights, bats buzzing around the house.’
‘Hedgehog droppings at Kilmagad Wood.’ (This was followed by an actual hedgehog turning up in a neighbouring garden).
‘Saw 3 jackdaws on Sunday morning...unfortunately they were in the downstairs bedroom.’
For some guidance on what to look for in Portmoak Moss we have commissioned a fantastic booklet for children but which we think adults will also enjoy. We were planning a proper launch and distribution of hard copies of the booklet but as we can’t do that, for the time being, we’ve made it available as a download on our website, link at the top. Enjoy!