Capercaillie Forest


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I was out last night armed with a camera and binoculars, walking in the forests close to Aviemore. I got within 30m of four sets of deer, two roe and two red, and within 15m of a group of 9 red (hinds and calves). The pictures were not good, which shows that I'm better at stalking than I am at using the camera. That doesn't bother me much, the pleasure is in seeing them and getting so close. There were a few very surprised deer when I eventually got busted.
I also saw two capercaillie when they took off around 20m from me. They went surprisingly fast for such a heavy bird, and since they are so rare it was a pleasure to see them. I've walked a few times in this particular vicinity and I've actually seen them more often than not, a situation that I didn't expect.
One thing that puzzles me about this forest is that there are occasional lengths of 3" brown drainpipe about 18" long tied vertically to trees with wire at around 5' off the ground. These lengths are partially cut along their lengthy and usually have a number written on them in indelible marker. Anyone any idea what they are for? I just can't work it out.

These evening walks are great, just wish I was allowed to take a rifle with me instead of just a camera.


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At a guess it will be some sort of insect / beetle survey. They use items as you describe and insects will use them as shelter / food station. A surveyor will then go and count how many of what ever they are looking for to give an idea of numbers in the area.
Easier to provide shelter / food and count in known location than checking every nook and cranny on all the trees


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Not wishing to hijack this thread, but, on the way home, there was an item on the radio about a proposed golf course round about Embo(?) near Dornoch, which may, I stress may, not go ahead as there is a unique fly found in the area. I'm all for checking insect numbers, and I have a question to answer in my exams about butterfly numbers, but I'm of the opinion that if it's a fly or economic benefit to the area, I'll go for the latter.
The chap supporting the fly tried to liken them to tigers and pandas which I think is somewhat facile.
Sorry for jumping in!


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Why not take a photo of the drain pipe it may help with identifying them.

Will do, John, I'll try to get up the hill again in the next couple of days. I'll also be having a chat with a volunteer from the RSPB on Thursday, I'll ask her too.
Thanks to all.


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It is a given that pine Martin will be present in the area.

I think it will be further study on population, territory size.
Of late they have been trapping and posting them to. Wales.
My guess would be the above, done similar for presecence of grey squirrels.

25.06 are they testing for the presence of PM or actually testing the DNA strains or individuals etc


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I finally got out to take some shots of the drain pipe that puzzled me, photos attached with a walking stick for scale. I also had a chat with a lady from the RSPB last week and she also thinks that it's a hair trap for pine marten hair.
Last night was very successful, with multiple sightings of both capercaillie and black grouse, plus sika and red stag. I've also attached a poor picture (taken with my phone camera) of the four good stags of between 8 and 12 points that I sat watching from 50 yds for 30 minutes or so. The photo was taken at around 30 yds.
Thanks for the replies. 20160725_213851.jpg 20160725_215717.jpg 20160725_215752.jpg
You were very lucky to see Caper,particularly where there is an abundance of Pine Martens. These and foxes have decimated the populations over the years in certain forest areas with the PM's killing off the young.