From the Highlands to the high latitudes

Beautiful woodlands, bluebells in bloom, blue tit chicks hatching and growing and many exciting wildlife sightings across Scotland – a great way to spend the spring! I had a lovely field season collecting data on plant and bird phenology – I learned a lot, visited new places and had the chance to contribute to an exciting research project, led by Ally Phillimore. I loved spending time outdoors and really seeing spring arrive – leaf buds bursting and delicate new leaves emerging, whilst blue tits are dashing from branch to branch bringing in nesting material.

Along the many highlights of the field season was spotting a young fawn lying among a field of bluebells – there aren’t many fairy tales about field assistants checking nest boxes, but if one were to write such a story, it would certainly be set in an woodland just like this one.

As I got on my train back to Edinburgh after my last day of fieldwork, I was feeling happy and inspired. The train took me through beautiful hills in the Highlands and as the last rays of sunshine were gliding across the landscape, I thought to myself that this is my version of magic – being able to do what you love, to explore and learn more about the natural world, and push yourself outside of your comfort zone (in my case, that’d most probably be stats and coding!).

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Seascape near Tain

With all that inspiration in tow (and a few big bags), I left the Highlands and headed towards Northern Canada for my second field season this year with Team Shrub. For me, travelling to the Yukon felt like stepping into a movie set and into all the beautiful photos I had seen in the past. We measured plant traits in a common garden experiment and have been preparing for our final departure from Inuvik to Herschel Island where I will spend the rest of the summer.  We will be posting updates from the field on the Team Shrub blog – adventures await!

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Mountains lighting up at sunset

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