My first blog entry as KLAWED Project Officer at Kailzie should have been the perfect opportunity to introduce myself as a professional conservationist. However……….. that chance has been well and truely scuppered by the recent photo of myself in the Southern Reporter. Sitting in a giant nest with a demented grin, holding in one hand a stuffed toy osprey and in the other a kestrel (also a toy). I would love to say this was the photographers idea but sadly the blame lies with myself.
I am fairly sure most of the readership of this blog will be aware of the massive inaccuracies with holding both an osprey and kestrel on the same nest, I do not think there have been any recorded examples of the two species bunking up together. But I guess it made a good photo (open to debate) and alerted the world (inhabitants of the Scottish Borders) of my appointment at Kailzie (or that some lunatic had decided to take up building and living in giant nests).
My first two weeks as KLAWED Project Officer have mainly involved meeting all the key players in the Tweed Valley who also aim to promote the area as a leading wildlife destination, planning exciting events for the coming months, and learning where the best public toilets are in Peebles. On the latter I can confirm that the public toilets outside Sainsburys are of the highest caliber and while some might say that the fierce orange colour of the walls may be too alarming, I find it adds a certain sense of adventure to the experience. But I digress…
Although I have lived in the Scottish Borders pretty much my whole life I have never ventured too far over to the east. These first two weeks have really opened my eyes to what lies hidden here though! The Borders is known for its gentle rolling hills and accessible walking gradients. The Tweed Valley reveals a wilderness that you would not expect. Hectares and hectares of forest fill the hills and no doubt hold a world of wildlife not commonly seen through everyday Border life. We know we have osprey, the Tweed Valley Osprey Project and Forestry Commission Scotland have worked hard to achieve amazing results in encouraging these majestic birds back to our landscape, and they are there in all their glory for the public to view in the viewing centres at Kailzie and Glentress. But what else could be lurking in the depths of the forest? And what about the mosaic of habitat that surrounds these forests? Moors, lochs, grassland and urban gardens that must be home to so, so many exciting species!
It is my mission to get us closer to these. And hopefully to capture footage of this that we can show to the rest of world and let them know that for a tiny area in the south of Scotland we pack a massive punch when it comes to wildlife.
I will be updating this blog regularly with details of the events and workshops I will be running here at Kailzie and how you can get involved and be part of the KLAWED Project. I will also keep you updated with the wildife I encounter as I go about my work and the other great projects and initiatives within the Tweed Valley. I may also comment on the quality of public toilets in the area as I find them so if that is the sort of thing that floats your boat then keep one eye on this blog too!
Hope to see you all at Kailzie soon!
Rachel (KLAWED Project Officer)