Thursday, 18 June 2009

A Ragbag

I took this photograph of a pinky red fungus on a spar that is part of one of the dams. Can anyone tell me what this fungus may be?

On Monday evening Roger Wheater came to take part in the shooting of a series of programmes about salmon for the Gaelic service of Scottish Television. The series is to be called 'Turas a'Bhratain' (the Salmon's Journey). Roger worked in the national parks in Uganda for fifteen years (or twenty, I can't remember which), was director of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland and, on retirement, became Chairman of the National Trust for Scotland. Since handing on the chairmanship to Seonag Macpherson, Roger has become a director of the Tweed Foundation (Yes! the Zero Tolerance for beavers Tweed Foundation) and has recently taken on the chairmanship of a committee that is to look into the interactions of beaver and salmon during the time of the trial reintroduction in Knapdale.

Unfortunately, I did not have the wit to take any photographs of the process of filming and talking. Roger arrived somewhat early at my invitation so that we could take a quick walk about.

In due course the STV people arrived and we started on the business of filming. All this went off well enough with the customary repeats ('That was great - can you go back to where you were and start over again?') Then came the section where Roger was to be interviewed. This took the form of some questions, to which he replied. And then it was my turn to answer some questions, but quite different ones. This was very frustrating because there was no opportunity to answer, or offer views on some of the things that Roger Wheater had said. He had been very insistent that the current official trial in Knapdale was only a trial and that there was still a need to do research to see if beavers and salmon could co-exist in Scotland. Roger told the interviewer that he was completely neutral on the subject of whether the beaver should return to Scotland or not. Considering that he was a member of the board of Scottish Natural Heritage around ten years ago, when they took the decision to reintroduce the beaver to Scotland, I found all this rather surprising.

The renewed activity of beavers in their original enclosure encouraged me to put out a couple of Trail Cameras. I rather liked this clip, though unfortunately there is no sign of a beaver in it. I shall have to concentrate on the art of trail photography - too often I am disappointed with results.

The beavers don't like the pink light that the camera emits and I don't like to bait the area because I don't want to get the animals used to apples: any suggestions?


  1. Hilary Benn said today that we must plan for climate change. There was much talk on the Today programme of crops that require irrigation, bigger drains and reservoirs and metering of water. At what point will all these engineering solutions all join up to leave not a scrap of natural environment? Simultaneously with our own extinction at a guess. What better way to prepare for climate change than to recreate wetland and what better creators of wetland could there be that these natural environmental engineers. Why is there so much conservatism standing in the way of the blatant and urgent need for a change of approach? I think the only hope is to mobilise children in schools to embrace the beaver project.


  2. Hi David,

    You put it so eloquently. I agree with you completely.