Muir of Dinnet
The Burn of Sound
Early May sees the launch of a new community music project at Muir of Dinnet National Nature Reserve. Why not come along and experience Burn o'Vat the creative way? This fun, free project gives you the chance to express your nature experiences through the music of words and singing of rounds. The community music project Burn of Sound provides opportunities for community groups, families and artists to follow the burn from the visitor centre to The Vat and capture their experiences through the meaning, rhythm and sound of words in short poems. Some of these poems will be set to music as rounds by community musician Petra Vergunst, and sung in a series of singing workshops in June.
Saturday 11 May 10.30 am to 12 noon. Creative experience walk for families.
Saturday 11 May 2 to 4 pm. Creative experience walk for artists, writers and musicians.
Saturday 15 June 10.30 to 11.30 am Singing workshop for families
Saturday 15 June 2.30 to 4 pm. Singing workshop for artists, writers and musicians.
Singing experience and a good voice are not required!
For all workshops, meet at the Burn o Vat. The workshops are free, but booking is essential email@example.com or 013398 81667. Children must be accompanied by an adult.
As part of Burn of Sound, community groups in Mid-Deeside and Upper Donside are offered a free and fun workshop (at a day and venue that suits them) in which they get the opportunity to sing some of the rounds composed for the project. If your group would like to take up this offer, please contact community musician Petra Vergunst at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to find out more about the project have a read of the project blog .
February and March
February and early has been relatively quiet wildlife-wise. The Great Grey Shrike continued to be the only Scottish bird until recently. However, a sighting of a shrike at Potarch and the disappearance of the Old Kinord bird suggest that he may have moved on. On the lochs, the waterfowl are frantically trying to convince themselves it's nearly spring and the goldeneye displays are in full swing. That's when the lochs aren't frozen, of course - winter has been stubborn this year, clinging on well into March. The birds are trying though, and even a brief sunny break will see the great tits calling "teacher, teacher, teacher" to each other or sounding like a squeaky bicycle pump, if you prefer! Mistle thrushes are singing even through the rain (giving them the nickname "stormcock"), in a vaguely melancholy key, and the treecreepers are trying a few hesitant notes. The woodpeckers are drumming too, and the first celandines are opening at New Kinord. But the arctic blast in the middle of March may delay some of the early spring migrants like chiffchaffs and sand martins. It'll also send the adders back underground - they usually emerge late-Feb/mid-March on sunny mornings if we ever get any sunny mornings.
Even if the wildlife was quiet, the Reserve staff have been keeping busy. The wet weather damaged a path culvert, resulting in us having to call in a contractor for an emergency repair. It's likely that we will need more pathworks over the coming months to deal with the paths breaking up in the endlessly wet weather. The wet weather has also prevented us doing our planned heather burning- this needs a few settled days, which have been in short supply recently.
As you may have seen, we have been working on new displays for the Burn o'Vat Visitor Centre. The designs for these were finalised and the displays are now installed in the visitor centre. We also had the floor sanded (which resulted in a fair bit of dusting!) and had to install a live "bog-in-a-box" as part of the display (which resulted in a fair bit of mopping of the newly-varnished floor!).
The Grand Re-opening!
We wanted to do something to "show off" the improvements to the visitor centre, so we held a "grand" re-opening on 13th March 2013. This went smoothly until two days beforehand when it snowed. I had to sweep the grass clear for the tents and got some very funny "why is the strange woman sweeping the grass??!!" looks from the public! We mercifully got the tents up snow-free but had to rush round on the big day knocking snow down off the roofs so it didn't land on out visitors! All the pupils from Logie Coldstone Primary School came to the Reserve and two p7's cut the ribbon for us. I was a great day and a fitting start to the Year of Natural Scotland for us on the Reserve.
Winter's back- mid January
After a fairly damp and mild start to the month, winter has come back with avengence this week, with a sudden dump of snow on the 14th Jan- 4 inches of snow in two hours!
This has turned the woods into a winter wonderland and the Reserve looks stunning on a fine day. But it's made life a lot harder for the wildlife- the peanut feeders have had as many as 8 coal tits on them at one time, and the red squirrels have been regular visitor too. Mind you, I suspect both the coal tits and squirrels cach (store and hide) as many nuts as they eat!
Keep your eyes peeled near Old Kinord. There has been a great grey shrike present- a rare winter visitor from Scandinavia.
The lochs have mostly frozen over too, forcing all of the ducks and swans onto small, unfrozen patches of water. The ducks themselves may keep the water ice free by swimming around in it but it does make for cramped conditions when 150 mallard, 24 wigeon, 3 tufted ducks, 7 goldeneye, 4 whooper swans and 12 very grumpy mute swans are all on a patch of water not much bigger than my office floor.
Speaking of frozen lochs, we'd like to remind visitors to please not walk on the ice- it's tempting but there is still water movement below the ice- and this can make for thin patches of ice. Please don't risk it!