Sunday, 19 June 2011

A blast from the past

20 years ago, when I was the warden at the RSPB's Vane Farm reserve on Loch Leven in Kinross, a wee lass called Alyson used to look after my son Nick. She's all grown up now with two girls of her own, but we stay in touch. She just posted the following message on Facebook:

".....‎11.30 at night and I've just come in.... watched the bats, then found the otter playing in the river. Tried to get photos but just got red eyes!!! Got the lamp out to watch it play and saw the (roe) deer in the woods too. amazing night life.....just a shame no-one else saw it with me."

To which her friend replied, "Where d'you live? Farthing Wood?"

Vane Farm with the Lomond Hills beyond Loch Leven.
I know a few people round here who would pay quite a bit to share an evening like that. Last week her mum posted a message to say that she had redpolls in her garden and there are red squirrels in Levenmouth Woods for the first time that she can remember, so these will viewable from the house too. They have a good quality of life up there.

Vane Farm was brilliant in my time with breeding redpolls, tree pipits, pergrines and fulmars. It's even better now with kites and ospreys breeding round the loch and sea-eagles over wintering. All this only half an hour from Edinburgh!

Quite a few of my friends from Paxton have been, or will be, heading north this summer for otters, pine martins and the like so I suggest a quick stop at the Vane on the way to the Highlands might not be a waste of time. Of course, the best time to visit the loch is in winter when the geese are in.