We’ve made lots of progress with the conservation efforts on the Highland Titles reserve in recent months, here’s an update of what we’ve been up to.
A new loch
We started building our new loch back in 2013, and just as we were about to stock it with fish in October 2014 the high level of rainfall (16 inches in 48 hours) caused it to burst its banks, losing all of its water. We started rebuilding the loch in February 2015 and after leaving it to settle due to the very acidic peat soil it was ready for fish again in December. We stocked it with 300 Wild Brown Trout which are approximately one year old, and will hopefully start breeding soon.
We also had an area on the land which was formerly a small, shallow loch, and we decided to restore this. This one didn’t take as long to naturalise as the soil must have been in rich in seeds and roots waiting for the water to be restored.
The aim of the development of the loch was to increase the biodiversity of the land by attracting new species of wildlife. Within the first few weeks of the fish being stocked we saw Herons, Mallards, Otters, Whooper Swans, Goosander and Frogs. We’re expecting to see more species, hopefully an Osprey, we’ll keep you updated!
A couple of visitors to the newer Lochan..
Posted by Highland Titles on Wednesday, March 30, 2016
Bird, Bat and Bee Boxes and Bug Hotels
The trees on the reserve are still relatively young and lack the hollows found in the older trees, but these hollows are where most birds and bats build their nests. In an attempt to mitigate this we have been setting up locally created habitat boxes and beehives throughout the reserve. If you want to get involved you can sponsor a habitat box which you can visit when you visit your plot.
As we’ve provided habitats for the bats and birds, we have also strengthened the food chain with ‘bug hotels’ at the loch and throughout the reserve. We created these with logs and branches from our test harvest of Sitka trees.
We’re about to start planting Scottish Wildflowers on the reserve, the first batch of seeds is a mix of Meadow Buttercup, Selfheal, Greater Burnet, Red Champion, Ox-eye Daisy, Meadowsweet, Yarrow, Ribwort Plantain, Lesser Knapweed, Lady’s Bedstraw and Field Scabious. This will provide pollen for the bees and also attract other pollinators.
Two Saddleback Pigs
The new boys at Duror!
Posted by Highland Titles Nature Reserves on Wednesday, March 30, 2016
We have just welcomed two new saddleback pigs (Corbett and Barker) onto the reserve after our previous success with pigs last year. Our woodland is the perfect environment for the pigs and they get to roam whilst eating troublesome plants such as bracken and brambles. Clearing this undergrowth is time and labour intensive, yet the pigs can do it with ease whilst turning over and fertilising the soil. You can find out more about the pigs here.
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