FISH, INSECTS AND SERPENTS
The local rivers, Earn, Ruchill, Lednock, the Milton Burn and the Turret Burn, and the Lochs - Earn, Boltachan, and Ochtertyre, with their hundreds of tributaries consisting of natural spring water, feeding streams and burns are alive with all types of fish, creating a fisherman’s paradise. Amongst this species were:
Atlantic Salmon - Almo Salar
Sea Trout – Salmo Trutta
Brown Trout - Salmo Trutta
Salmon and Sea Trout in particular, always return to the place of their birth which might be in a little burn far off into the hills.
Sea Trout and Brown trout are closely related. They breed together and one of the main differences is that the Sea Trout goes out into salt water whereas its relative stays in fresh water.
Arctic Char–Salvelinus Alpinus
Fresh Water Eels-They can be found in many rivers in Scotland and they are quite harmless. There is a nest of them at the old ford called Ath nan Sop just down river from the Ross bridge. It gives one a strange feeling when they brush against your feet. Londoners consider them a delicacy!
Fresh Water Eels
Tadpoles, Frogs, Lizards, and other small species inhabit our rivers and streams. As wee boys learning about nature, who can forget fishing for minnows and tadpoles in the waters around Comrie, or looking for newts which, for some obscure reason, we dropped down drains when we got tired of playing with them.
Tadpoles Frog Lizard Newt
There are also numerous flies and insects of all shades, colours and hues. Included are honey bees and wasps, bluebottles, daddy long legs, dragonflies and damselflies - I still see the majestic flight of the dragonfly slowly and randomly over a field close to the edge of the River Earn near Aberuchill, hovering here, moving on there! Ladybirds, butterflies, moths, common flies, horse flies, deer flies, clegs, ticks, ants, spiders, beetles, fleas, slugs, slates, snails, worms. Worms in particular are highly prized as they work and aerate the soil in gardens, and in addition are much liked by fish and fishermen!
Bees Wasps Bluebottle
Daddy Long Legs Dragonfly Ladybirds
Butterfly Moth Common Fly
Horse Fly Deer Fly Cleg
Tick Ants Spider
Beetle Slug Flea
The first prize for unlikeability goes to the midge! It is the King of insects. I believe only the female bites so maybe we should call it the Queen! I can recall on many occasions walking through a swarm of midges! This was normally followed by a mad dash to get away from them!
A close second and related to the Midge is the dreaded Berry Bug. Like the midge it comes from the family called Ceratopogonidae. For those interested they are known in Canada by the Indians as “No See Ums.” This is a very apt description! The author is over sixty years of age and has no recollection of ever seeing any of them, or of being bitten by them, when young in Perthshire, but certainly, as an adult, is very much aware of their high status impact. They appear nowadays in late July and August. This is the time of berry picking and it is during this period that they rise to more than a mere talking point! They are invisible and only the females bite. One does not really feel the bite but from it comes the itch. It always seems to happen in rather embarrassing places so there is a “whole lot of squirming going on!” They are no respecter of people – high or low-born! There is a product called “Skinsosoft”© produced by Avon which, as was discovered accidentally, acts as a skin protector from many of these small, vicious, biting flies. Again, those interested in entomology may be able to add to this list.
As in the Garden of Eden there are two serpents in the area. The adder, also known as a viper – vipera berus lives a retiring, quiet life normally well away from human beings. The males and females are recognized by the zig zag stripe on their backs. The marking in a male is dark to black, and on the female, more brownish or yellowish. The female is larger than the male. They are poisonous and are a protected species. They can be found on the west side of Glen Artney near the old Drummond hunting lodge at Dalclathick Bridge, and in a band running to the west over the mountain to Blairmore, Montellie and Tominor. Their natural enemies, other than man, are hedgehogs.
Viper or Adder
The grass snake – Natrix natrix is non-poisonous and displays a yellow or cream ring around its neck.
All of these species provide food for some, fascination for many, and sometimes outright pain.
Note: All photographs are from Wikipedia