16 Feb 2017
Haddo's wildlife has been taking centre stage over the past two weeks, with a magical moth discovery and squirrels seeking their five minutes of fame on the radio.
Last week I was out and about in the park with Mark Stephen from Radio Scotland's Out Of Doors programme, looking for Red Squirrels and talking all about our squirrel and how our volunteers help keep the reds fed over the winter.
If you missed the programme on Saturday morning then you can catch up on iPlayer at bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08dnr43. The Haddo section is about 52 minute in (after the Fyvie Ballads).
Red Squirrels have been quite easy to spot recently, I've seen several in and out of the feeding boxes at the hide and the woods around the outdoor classroom and behind the Pheasantry have been a bit of a hotspot as well.
On Wednesday I got to spend an hour or so with Toni from the NTS Ranger Service looking for some wildlife that's a bit harder to find than the average squirrel. Herald moths are a quite striking moth with scalloped wings and rusty red and white markings. They're relatively common throughout Scotland but there's a species that has very few reported records, and there's now a national programme to find more of these little moths and particularly to find out where they're hibernating over the winter.
Heralds hibernate in cold, dry, sheltered spaces like caves, barns, outbuildings, tunnels and cellars which we've got plenty of at Haddo (well, not caves and tunnels, but the other stuff). After a day of crawling around, searching along dark stone walls with a torch and a lot of patience, Toni amazingly found at least four Heralds tucked away in the dark. Heralds have never been recorded around Haddo (or anywhere in the surrounding 10km) before, so this is a really wonderful new find.
If you've got potential Herald sites near you then you can find out more about how to identify them at East Scotland Butterfly Conservation (do remember to ask the owners and stay safe when you go searching through buildings).
If you fancy the chance to discover some new species at Haddo yourself then you can join our rapidly growing team of wildlife survey volunteers, just drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or drop in for a chat.
If you'd like to know more about Haddo's wildlife but aren't sure where to start then our first Wildlife Wander of the year is on next Saturday morning (moved from Sunday) at 10.30am. Full details and how to book are on our events page here
Final piece of news for this week is that it's the Haddo Wedding Open Day this Sunday. We've got around 20 different exhibitors coming along, including florists, caterers, photographers, car hire and chauffeurs, event planners and musicians.
You can also look round Haddo House's library and chapel, both available for weddings, and chat to the NTS weddings organisers to find out about holding your ceremony here at Haddo.
If you're just thinking about wedding plans or looking for the last few finishing touches to your big day then it's well worth a trip out! Open from 12 midday to 4pm.