A ‘SpeyFantastic’ day at the Cairngorms Nature Festival!

The Spey Foundation and Spey Catchment Initiative were delighted to see so many people turn up to the ‘SpeyFantastic’ event held as part of the Cairngorms Nature Festival at the weekend.

Brian Shaw, Polly Burns (Spey Foundation biologists) and Liz Henderson from the Spey Catchment Initiative attended the event, offering demonstrations of electrofishing, invertebrate sampling and informative talks about the Spey catchment and the plentiful life it supports.

Brian and Polly demonstrate electrofishing to attendees.

Brian and Polly demonstrate electrofishing to attendees.

We found salmon, trout and an eel during our demonstration which meant there was plenty for the visitors to look at! We were able to show how we anesthetise the fish, identify the species and measure them, and those who came along also had the chance to have a go at distinguishing between a salmon and trout. There were several age classes of salmonids present, which was a perfect way of talking about the life cycle of the salmon and just how important they are to the area.

We also took a ‘kick sample’ of invertebrate life, which showed the huge diversity of insect life that lives in the river and forms the base of the food-web for a lot of what exists. The children were all pretty good at identifying the species by the time we’d finished, and had made the decision that the river was healthy due to the types of species present (we agree!).

Polly shows off the invertebrate life in the river Druie whilst Brian and Liz chat about the catchment.

Polly shows off the invertebrate life in the river Druie whilst Brian chats about the catchment.

Apart from one heavy shower in the morning, the weather was very kind with lots of sunshine! It was great to work with the Rothimurchus Centre, who were so helpful throughout and many thanks to them for everything. Thanks  also go to Cairngorms Nature who organised the festival, and helped promote it. We are looking forward to taking part again in the future!

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