Island Aliens

Loch Lomond NNR

Being islands the Loch Lomond NNR islands don’t get visited very often. So it is always a pleasure to get out to these beautiful places. Last Wednesday we went out to there to deal with some unwanted aliens.

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The islands have a stunning selection of native plants and this is the reason why they are designated as special sites.

Problems occur when plants that are not native get established. We went out to Torrinch and Clairinch to deal with some rhododendron and bamboo both of which had invaded the islands. Luckily the rhododendron was easily dealt with as they were just a handful of small bushes. The bamboo has been more difficult. A couple years ago it was a huge patch of about 1/4 acre of solid bamboo stems 2-3 m high. If left, they were going to continue to spread at the expense of the native plants. So, since then we have been cutting and treating with herbicide to try to tame the jungle. It has been successful as we are now down to treating small individual plants. But you can’t relax with these plants. The bamboo and rhodi will need checking annually to make sure that no new plants are regrowing back.

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There were also signs of activity from a another problem species, fallow deer. These deer actually swim over to the islands and if left can cause loads of damage to the woodland through overgrazing and browsing. A young male was caught in the act on Clairinsh. Deer management to reduce the numbers is planned for the winter.

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Young male fallow deer eating too many young trees!

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Lunch – not a bad spot.

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Osprey – sitting out the rain on a useful spot by the loch side.

 

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