Although it has been a while since we have posted a blog we have been far from quiet at the Forsinard Flows nature reserve. Recently we have been tackling a major wildfire that started up on the north coast and over several days burned down into the top of the reserve. With a lot of hard work and the support of local keepers, fire officers, contractors and a helicopter we managed to contain the fire and now after a couple of weeks of rain things have been damped down.

Firefighter at Forsinard FlowsFire burning on the Uair  Fire burning in the former Dyke PlantationVolunteers fighting wild fire

In other news, the Forsinain Trail will continue to have a diversion along the edge of the Forsinain North plantation for the duration of the 2019 visitor season. Although harvesting operations have been suspended for the breeding season stacked timber is still being removed from the area so visitors should comply with safety signage along the Forsinain Trail.

We have four trainees on the reserve this summer helping us with reserve management work, surveys, leading guided walks and running the visitor centre.

If you see them then please say hello and have a chat, they're a friendly bunch.

I've asked them all to write a bit about their first experience of volunteering at Forsinard so here is a wee blog written by Anna:

Anna one of our Trainees

Hello all!

I have been in Forsinard for over 2 months so it is high time to introduce myself. My name is Anna Grozelier, and I am here in the Forsinard Flows RSPB reserve for a 7 months traineeship in Conservation. I graduated in August 2018 from my MSc in Wildlife Biology and Conservation at Edinburgh Napier University. I have come to Forsinard, attracted by the wild and amazing landscapes. As a Parisian native dreaming of nature, the peaceful and remote environment here appealed to me.

The reserve did not disappoint, and I am amazed that everyday brings lot of wildlife and plant sightings, especially with the coming of spring. Waking up to the sight of herds of deer browsing in front of my windows still put me in awe, as did my first sighting of a sky dancing hen harrier. I have high hopes of sighting otters and water voles.

The internship is a great way to get into practical conservation work, and I already feel more confident about my future career. The staff of the reserve are incredibly friendly and supportive, the training and duties are very varied. I can be walking the bog one day for hydrological measurements, doing raptor watches the next, or tending to the visitor centre, welcoming visitors. And that is just the tip of the iceberg of everything that happens here! There is more to come with the guided walks starting in May: I’ll be bringing you along the bog, trying to share my excitement for the rough and special wildlife living here.

In my days off, I try to explore around the reserve, you might spot me cycling, hiking, camping or gathering plants for a bit of wild cooking or baking.

I hope we’ll get a chance to talk if you come visit the reserve, and that you will come to love this place as much as I have if it’s not already the case. As my favourite former lecturer used to say: “You have to get out there!”  because the saying of the Flows is true, the more you look, the more you see. There is so much to see here if you take a closer look, pause to contemplate and listen.