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I am writing this on the second day of the July heatwave. Temperatures here in Perthshire were in the high twenties yesterday and are forecast to hit the thirties today – it is bizarre to have to shut the doors and windows to keep the cool in and the heat out! It was commonplace when I worked in France but will we be doing this all the time in summers to come? I think we will.

It’s hard for us to cope with but, as always, life for our wild neighbours is even more difficult. In periods of drought and high temperatures water sources may dry up, and the soil can become so hard that it’s impossible for birds such as thrushes and blackbirds to probe in the soil for invertebrate food. We can help them by providing water to drink (and to bathe in) as well as moist food. Our pets are having difficulty too – Corrie the Ranger dog is lying on his coolmat in the cold(ish) kitchen and the ratboys have an iceblock in their hammock that they can lie next to if they want to. All three of them are in there so they must like it! If you want to see Corrie on Countryfile, we will both be on as part of Blairgowrie and Rattray being Scotland’s first Biodiversity Town on Sunday, 31st of July.

Here’s Sergio and Roberto by their iceblock!

We have been very busy with the beaver tours since early April, and have seen them on 100% of our trips so far this year. We haven’t seen any kits yet but expect to see them this week as they seem to be out everywhere else! We have regularly seen five members of our little family at a new lodge; hopefully number six, who we haven’t seen for a few weeks, has moved on to find his own territory. I recently took a nice video of Dad and a two-year old youngster grooming each other which can be seen here.

We finished off the Forfar Swift Conservation Project a few months ago and hope that most of the nestboxes we erected have been found by birds looking for a place to raise their families. It can take them a while to find a new place to nest but we can help them in their search by playing a swift call system – this is a recording of a pair calling to each other in the nest and as the birds are social nesters, will attract young ones looking for their first place to nest. More details can be found on the Action for Swifts website here.

Our Celtica Wildflowers nursery is ticking over slowly – germination took a very long time this spring and I think it was due to using a not very good compost (peat free of course!). I have changed back to using Levington’s and B&Q peat free brands and the re-potted plants are finally putting on some decent growth.

And we had a really nice email from Trip Advisor this week – for the second year in a row we have been awarded their Travellers’ Choice! Apparently we are in the top 10% of worldwide visitor attractions, up there alongside the Eiffel Tower, Taj Mahal and the Pyramids! I don’t know how they work it out but even so, it’s very nice to keep getting such good reviews and repeat visits too.

I hope you are keeping well and enjoying nature. We look forward to seeing you on one of our tours or events sometime soon.