I’ve been a seasonal ranger with ANGUSalive for the past year and I have loved working here. Every day and every site is so different. My background is in ecology and I’m a bit of a bird geek, but I have really enjoyed the watersports side of things too.
I’m inspired by the natural beauty of the outdoors, I like to encourage others to see how beautiful the countryside is and how we should all work together to conserve it for both wildlife and for ourselves. I’ve really enjoyed learning from all the rangers at all the sites covered by ANGUSalive; they are really enthusiastic about their sites and have so much knowledge about them.
Most days as a seasonal ranger have been fun!
In October we had some French students working with us, I took them up to Glen Doll so they could have a look at a different site. I’ve never known anyone to be as excited about pheasants as they were, they counted over 170 just on the drive up and they were amazed.
I’ve really enjoyed working on the activity weeks, we have a small group of kids who hardly talk when they first arrive and they progress to happy, confident kids trying to push us over in the water on their last day.
John, another of the Countryside Rangers, and I spent a few weeks on the run up to Christmas making over 100 reindeer. It’s amazing what you can do with a few bits of wood and seeing excited families coming along to pick them up was great.
I love seeing how nature changes over the seasons. Now is the time to look out for trees coming into life, butterflies are emerging and chiffchaff are singing in the woods which always make me feel like summer is just around the corner. In Glen Doll last week, we saw lapwings coming back to breed and we were on the lookout for Golden Eagles. Wildflowers are beginning to emerge – have a look around for primrose and cuckooflower.
In the summer months keep your eyes peeled for migrants such as swallows and swifts. At Monikie we were lucky enough to have an Osprey fishing over North Pond, it was fantastic seeing a pond full of kids on kayaks and paddleboards completely unaware of what was in the skies above them. The scabious at Monikie are in full bloom as the summer goes on and are a great place to find butterflies and bees.
Autumn is one of my favourite times of the year, the leaves start to change colour and you can hear the sound of migrating geese in the skies. Montrose Basin is part managed by ANGUSalive and is an amazing place to watch tens of thousands of geese coming in to roost in the evenings. If you are visiting Crombie watch out for red squirrels and woodland birds like treecreeper and bullfinch.
The parks completely change with the arrival of winter; Forfar Loch is a great place to see wintering ducks, such as goldeneye, gadwall and teal and if there is snow on the ground have a look around the parks for signs of otter. As winter continues, look out for snowdrops on the woodland floor, it’s a sign that spring is on its way.
Nature is amazing, I love how being outdoors can completely change your day. Hearing a robin singing from a tree, the rustle of leaves in the wind or grasshoppers on the ground, it’s the little things that make your day and it can all be found in your country parks.
I also like to use nature’s larder and try and make tasty treats from what I can find. A favourite in my family are different liqueurs, last year I made damson and sloe gin as well as blackcurrant liqueur. I also like to make jams and cakes from things I find in nature, like gooseberries and brambles. Another of the Countryside Rangers, Alan, has been teaching me about fungi and trees which you can eat and just the other day I had hawthorn leaves and lime buds in my tea!