Wednesday, August 29, 2012 Litter
Wednesday, August 29, 2012 |
2012 was a Wild Year in Fife
Friday, December 21, 2012
It’s been a wild year for Fife’s nature-lovers.
Looking back on an eventful and sometimes enthralling 2012, staff working for Fife Coast and Countryside Trust have selected their wildlife-related highlights from their many hours out and about in the Kingdom’s great outdoors.
Their experiences and encounters – ranging from a massive whale to a mini master of disguise – highlight the wealth of natural treasures which have helped establish Fife as Scotland’s most popular outdoor tourism destination for the last six years.
They also show the huge support which Fifers have given to help the Trust protect and promote the area’s natural wealth.
Here’s their ‘best bits’ from 2012:
Ranald Strachan, Countryside Ranger
I was amazed to see a sei whale just 200 metres off St Andrews’ East Sands. This whale is rare in UK waters and, unfortunately, beached at Arbroath later that day. A pod of seven bottlenose dolphins was spotted that same day at the East Sands.
A hen harrier was also seen from the Fife Coastal Path at Earlshall Muir near Tentsmuir in early December – a scarce and stunning bird of prey.
Deirdre Munro, Countryside Ranger
One incident that really sticks in my mind was an early-July rockpooling session with a group of children at Kingsbarns. We discovered a large number of strange, black creatures, moving among brightly coloured strands of what looked like pink spaghetti!
The spaghetti turned out to be eggs, and the slow-moving animals which produced them were sea hares – marine molluscs which have their shells on the inside of their body, giving them a characteristic humpbacked appearance.
Meanwhile, whilst surveying the stretch of Fife Coastal Path between East and West Wemyss, we noticed that one mayweed plant had a few slightly thicker parts to its stalk. On closer inspection we were surprised to see these odd sections were moving.
They turned out to be the caterpillars of the chamomile shark moth, each beautifully camouflaged for feeding on their mayweed food plant.
I had never seen this species before, and their superb camouflage made me wonder just how many such creatures go unnoticed.
Lyn Strachan, Countryside Ranger
What really stands out for me is the fantastic support we received to help clear the nature trail in Dunfermline’s Townhill Woods after it was badly damaged by autumn storms.
We developed the trail thanks to superb support from Sky and volunteers drawn from their staff but, when the storms struck, it meant school parties and other visitors couldn’t access the trail.
Thankfully Sky, Townhill Community Council and several volunteers rallied to help us with the hard work of clearing the storm debris and opening it up again.
There was a superb turn-out of volunteers and we all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
Sophie Eastwood, Red Squirrel Project Officer
My highlight has to be the Red Squirrel Fun Day at Tentsmuir Forest in August.
Lots of families came along to enjoy the ranger-led squirrel walks, face-painting and other activities.
While everyone had lots of fun, it really helped to raise awareness about these lovely, but threatened, native mammals.
Fife Coast and Countryside Trust is the region’s leading environmental charity responsible for managing and conserving Fife’s countryside.
Anyone keen to find out more about Fife’s outdoor treasures is urged to visit www.fifecoastandcountrysidetrust.co.uk
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Mysterious ‘pink spaghetti’ found in a Kingsbarns rockpool turned out to be sea hare eggs.
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The wily chamomile shark moth caterpillar is difficult to spot in its preferred host plant, mayweed.
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Fife Coast and Countryside Trust is working hard to protect and promote Fife’s population of native red squirrels.
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Just two of the young nature-lovers who enjoyed Fife Coast and Countryside Trust’s Red Squirrel Fun Day in August.