The Song of the Yellowhammer

2022 is Scotland’s Year of Stories, and to celebrate the Scottish Dolphin Centre is collecting stories about Spey Bay from WDC volunteers, the local community and our visitors. Stories should be 150-300 words long, or could be in another form such as poetry, video, music, or anything creative! Submissions can be sent by email to [email protected] or by post to Scottish Dolphin Centre, Spey Bay, Moray, IV32 7PJ.

This week’s post is from Laura Cunningham who was a residential volunteer at Spey Bay in 2011. 

From the nine months that I lived in Spey Bay some of the things that have stayed with me, and always remind me of my time at WDCS, are the song of the Yellowhammer and Sedge Warbler, and the sound of the fledgling Swallows in the courtyard of Ivy Cottage. Whenever I hear these now I think of Spey Bay.

Female (left) and Male (right) Yellowhammer (Copyright Charlie Phillips)

Early morning Shorewatches could be really special… when there were few other people around, listening to the waves on the shingle and enjoying the panoramic view, often with diving Ospreys or Dolphins, and on very special mornings there would be both.

The Wildflowers that I became familiar with at Spey Bay, thanks to the lovely, kind and patient Ranger Laura, (Kidney Vetch, Coltsfoot and Pignut to name a few) all hold a special place in my heart and always will.

Kidney Vetch Copyright Thomas Plant

There is so much more that is special about Spey Bay, but these are the ones that for me have stayed in my head and heart and that I always associate with my happy time at WDCS.

It was a privilege to spend a season living, learning and working in Spey Bay, immersed in outstanding scenery and wildlife. My fellow volunteers made it extra special too.