King of the Mussels

  • Ellon, Glenshee & Ballater, Scotland
  • Written By Keilidh Ewan

January for me has been all about starting the year as I mean to go on, and not so much about resolutions. I guess the only resolution I really have is to take my camera everywhere with me. And I mean everywhere.

It’s always that one time that you are out for a walk without your camera that something really beautiful happens. There’s nothing worse than regretting missing ‘that shot’. So, to avoid photographer’s remorse, I’m planning that my camera will become another limb of mine this year. Sorry friends, but don’t be surprised if I end up documenting our hikes (…you have been warned).

So in the spirit of starting as I meant to go on, January 1st saw me drive up to Ellon to see the Forvie National Nature Reserve for the first time. I couldn’t believe I’d never been to this spot before when it is so accessible. And what a sight it was, completely understandably, a lot of other people were out enjoying their New Years day walk here amongst the dunes.

As the Ythan Estuary was so low, hundreds of wading birds were enjoying the mussels exposed on the mud flats. It was a delight watching the Curlews, Redshanks and Oystercatchers scout for food. One particular bird stole the show though, a tall Grey Heron stood proud on an island of mussels. King of the mussels is all I could think.

I was so overcome with how vast the Reserve was that I felt I had only made a small dent in exploring the area. So January 2nd and 3rd also brought me back to the wonderful Sands of Forvie. One trip of which took me to the East Side on Newburgh Beach and gave a fantastic view of the 1,000 strong Grey Seal colony which is protected there (video to come soon).

From the sea to the hills, January also took me to the Cairngorms and Glenshee where I had the joy of seeing Stags, Roe Deer and the beautiful red-lidded Grouse in the early snow. I can highly recommend a trip out this way, a flask of hot tea and a good pair of binoculars can make for a fantastic day out.

Speaking of new years and new beginnings, it seems only fitting to talk about some new projects I have been working on. Having volunteered with the Scottish Wildlife Trust through summer last year, I’ve signed up to take part in their Savings Scotland’s Red Squirrel citizen science project. As part of their Spring Survey, which kicks off in March, I’ll be monitoring and taking samples from 4 feeders in Aberdeenshire to help analyse the presence or absence of red and grey squirrels in the area. 

Lastly, don’t be surprised if you see more videos popping up. Now in week 2 of Film School, I’m planning on developing my video work further and hoping to make some documentary shorts over the coming months so please do watch this space. Overall I think this start to the year has been a pretty great one and I can’t wait to see what opportunities the coming months may bring.



If you would like to find out more about Saving Scotland's Red Squirrels and how you can get involved, visit:

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