High on the hill was a lonely birch tree – but not for much longer!



Seed Collecting Birch

Seed Collecting for Birch at Coire Creagach> Pic – Gus Routledge


You may have noticed last month many water surfaces dotted with the small, winged seed (looking a bit like tiny fried eggs) and the catkin scales of silver birch. It is a bumper year for birch seed and as the catkins break up they release the seed into the wind that can carry them long distances from the parents. So, seed gatherers from Cairngorms Connect and Elsoms Trees have been visiting some of the higher populations of birch on Rothiemurchus to collect seed from trees growing at up to 600m above sea level, before the catkins break up. It is hoped that the off-spring from these trees will be better adapted to life at high altitudes and once grown in a nursery for a few years they can be transplanted back into remote Cairngorm locations to re-establish more pockets of woodland that will benefit wildlife, such as black grouse. Rowan too can also thrive at high altitudes, and it’s also a good year for rowan berries, so these have been picked too.


Rowan seed collecting – Coire Creagach Pic – Gus Routledge