The deep peat may not, at first glance, seem very productive but during the summer it can hold a great variety of wildflowers. The yellow flowers of the Tormentil and white flowers of Heath Bedstraw form the backdrop with which to look for the delicate Heath Spotted Orchids that flower in abundance. Because the nutrients are very scarce in the peat some plants have to resort to getting their protein from insects. Oblong and Round-
Over the wet heath you will notice large winged moths flying. The black and white one is almost certainly the Magpie Moth – whose caterpillars devour heather. The Northern Eggar is perhaps the commonest large brown moth but look out for the colourful Emperor Moth with large eye spots to deter bird predators. Listen out for Cuckoos from April onwards. The female Cuckoo is nearly always followed by small Meadow Pipits who seem to recognise that these birds are responsible for hi-
Near the water’s edge you will see lots of dragonflies in mid-
Also in the water you might find Frog spawn and even Toad spawn in spring. Toads and Newts breed in many of the lochs especially the smaller ones where there are no fish to eat the tadpoles.They must also watch out for Otters which will eat the adults. Because they are poisonous the Otters must take off the skin of the Toad which includes the poison gland before they can eat it safely. Otters have their young around about April and first bring the youngsters to the water’s edge in May. You will see their spraints (droppings full of fish bones) on stones near the water’s edge.
On the bigger lochans you may be lucky to glimpse a Black-