Photo Blog: June 2024

Scruffy reindeer month! Not their most photogenic season but a wonderful time of year nonetheless. The cows and calves left the enclosure to free range in the mountains and the males in our enclosure are looking super with lovely velvet antlers.

3rd of June: Putting out the first batch of cows and calves of 2024.
4th of June: The remaining cows and calves in the enclosure are now old enough to mingle with visitors on our Hill Trips.
6th of June: The two palest calves of 2024.
7th of June: This lad is already very friendly and bold!
10th of June: Yangtze saying hello!
13th of June: Isla is back for the summer, hoorah! Here she is spoiling Sherlock! Just for reference Isla is 6ft so Sherlock’s antlers really are that tall!
13th of June: The lovely Zoom.
16th of June: Gorgeous Winnie on a very soggy day.
17th of June: The first harness training session of 2024.
17th of June: Druid LOVES feeding out of a white bag but the exact same food offered in a hand , no thank you!
18th of June: Ärta looking handsome!
19th of June: A trip out to see the free rangers. Found a wonderful bunch all looking very happy and healthy!
21st of June: Busby posing beautifully on a rock!
23rd of June: Lotti and Amy feeding the herd their breakfast.
26th of June: Cameron and the waiting herd.
27th of June: Lupin!

Ruth

Glenfeshie Girls

Every year when the cows and calves come off the high tops from the summer one group tend to head towards Glenfeshie, a part of the Cairngorms they aren’t meant to be. We have got good communications with the landowners and gamekeepers over there so they let us know and we head over in the mission to catch them. It is always the same culprits. To name a couple– Fern and Wapiti. You may remember a blog in October of Andi and I recovering Fern from Glenfeshie in the autumn so she must have gone straight back!

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Glenfeshie, where the reindeer like to hang out. Photo from Geograph, labelled for reuse.

Alex is chief free range reindeer herder and knows the hills best over there so he headed out the first few times to catch up with them. Once he knew their location he set up a corral with a few gates in the aim to catch the naughty reindeer. This all happened over the Christmas and New Year period, they like to pick the busy times! Alex went out a few times and fed them which gets them used to the feed again and a bit easier to manage. In the group were three calves who weren’t yet trained so they were fairly timid and didn’t let Alex get very close. But then we got the phone call at Reindeer House from Alex that he had them all in… calves included. Ye-Ha!!!

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It can be hard to spot reindeer on the hill at the best of times, but especially in these speckled snow conditions. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

So Chris and I got everything together and headed off in Brenda (this is the name of our wee livestock truck). Alex was going to start putting halters on them. When we arrived it materialised Alex wasn’t on his own. With Emily (his wife) and two month old son in toe the three of them had caught all the reindeer. Start them young! Being the holiday period the hills were pretty busy with people walking and there were a few dogs around so Emily was on people and dog duty while we walked the reindeer up to the livestock truck. Remember the calves are pretty wild and not halter trained so there was a lot of persuasion going on. Luckily all their mothers are halter trained so they were easy. So in two runs, we walked all 11 reindeer up to the livestock truck and loaded them.

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Fern – the Glenfeshie girl.

On route we phoned the Centre to get extra pairs of hands to lead them across to our enclosure where they have now been for a week. The calves are getting more and more bold everyday, eating the mixture and now joining in with our daily guided tours. It won’t take long for them to get pretty tame… the great thing about reindeer and thousands of years of domestication means working with humans comes second nature to them. We will halter train them over the next few weeks. Their names are Keats, Blyton and Harper to fit into our 2017 naming theme of poets and authors.

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Parmesan and her big healthy female calf Blyton settling into the enclosure and getting used to people beinging food. And all watched closely by Morven (on the left)!

Fiona

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