Archive for the ‘In the News’ Category

Monsterfest !

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

Friday 14 to Sunday 23 June 2013
The Monster is back
With a new look and a brand new exciting programme of science & technology themed events! Continue reading “Monsterfest !” »

Ledmore & Migdale Wood – Rare White Thrush

Friday, May 10th, 2013

A White’s thrush which breeds mainly in Siberia and Asia was photographed by a camera trap set up near Bonar Bridge. Continue reading “Ledmore & Migdale Wood — Rare White Thrush” »

Wandering Water Voles

Friday, September 7th, 2012

“Scottish water voles have been found to travel enormous distances, enabling them to persist in fragmented habitats.” (BBC)

Continue reading “Wandering Water Voles” »

Roadside Verge Cutting – Or Not!

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

Highland Council seeks to satisfy connoisseurs of wild flowers and to save money all in one operation.

If roadside verges are cut less frequently, or cut at a different time, some flowers will be encouraged and less fuel and fewer man-hours will be required. Continue reading “Roadside Verge Cutting — Or Not!” »

2012 Transit of Venus

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

When Venus passes directly between earth and the sun, we see the distant planet as a small dot gliding slowly across the face of the sun.

The next transit of Venus occurs 6 June, 2012.  Observers in or near Tain will see the transit at sunrise : 04:19, transit ends 5:36. This will be the last transit of Venus to occur in your lifetime. Continue reading “2012 Transit of Venus” »

Oiled Seabirds on Western Isles

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

The problem of oil slicks affecting seabirds off the Western Isles has occurred again recently.  Live and dead oiled birds have washed ashore.  (links 1; 2; 3 )

There have been numerous occurrences in the past.  Despite government attempts at identification rarely has a source for oils been found.

The first birds this time were found on Benbecula on New Years day 2012.

Quadrantid Meteor Shower – 4th January

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

In the early hours of Thursday, 4th January, 2012, that is sometime near 4am, this meteor shower will peak.

Quadrantid-Meteor-Shower
Look north to find the centre (radiant point).

The meteor shower will last only a short time as the debris we will pass through is narrow.

This year’s shower may be quite productive, showing 40, or 80, or 100, or 200 meteors per hour depending on who is estimating it. One point commentators agree on is that the Quadrantids are unpredictable.

Always keep that bug net to hand

Saturday, September 17th, 2011

A tiny insect last recorded in Britain in 1881, and thought to have since died out, has been found near a river in Assynt in the north west Highlands. Continue reading “Always keep that bug net to hand” »

2011 Scottish Nature Photography Competition

Friday, September 16th, 2011

Photographers from all over the world are drawn to and inspired by Scotland’s landscape and natural heritage.

The Scottish Nature Photography Awards celebrates nature, wildlife and landscape photography in Scotland. Continue reading “2011 Scottish Nature Photography Competition” »

Sutherland Countryside Events 2011

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Sutherland countryside events

Countryside Ranger events in Sutherland:

Assynt

  • 02 June 2011  Kylestrome & Glendubh, by Kylesku
    • Come on a hill and coastal walk with spectacular views and the chance of seeing ravens, red deer, seals, divers and moorland flowers. Meet at Reay Forest Estate car park, Kylestrome.

    11am – 4pm, Grid Ref – NC 218346, Grade D [Adults £5, Concession £3]
    Contact –  01571 844654

  • 07 June 2011  Achmelvich Coastal Walk
    • What are you interested in? This delightful walk through croftland and machair bursting with wildflowers covers it all. Watch out for dolphins too, and hear lots of stories. Meet at Achmelvich Beach car park.

    11am – 3pm, Grid Ref – NC 058248, Grade B, C [Adults £3, Concession £2]
    Contact –  01571 844654

  • 09 June 2011  Drumbeg Peat Road
    • Journey to the mysterious interior of Assynt, rich in wildlife and history and dangerous stories. Meet at Drumbeg Viewpoint car park.

    11am – 3pm, Grid Ref – NC 120330, Grade C [Adults £5, Concession £3]
    Contact –  01571 844654

  • 14 June 2011  Bats Evening at Lochinver
    • Join us for a slide show at the Visitor Centre followed by a visit to the local pipistrelle roost to watch up to 100 bats leave their roost. Bring midge protection. Meet at the Assynt Visitor Centre.

    9pm – 11pm, Grid Ref – NC 094225, Grade A [Adults £3, Concession £2]
    Contact –  01571 844654

  • 16 June 2011  Bone Caves to the Traligill Basin
    • Discover a fascinating walk linking two cave systems within the limestone area of Inchnadamph. Take in the amazing tapestry of alpine flowers as we travel through red deer country. Meet at Bone Caves car park, 4km south of Inchnadamph.

    11am – 5pm, Grid Ref – NC 254179, Grade C [Adults £5, Concession £3]
    Contact –  01571 844654

  • 21 June 2011  Clachtoll Coastal Walk
    • Join us on this beautiful coastal walk through a crofting village past an iron age fort. Hear the story of skeletons, ancient saunas and the ‘murder hole’. Meet at Clachtoll Beach car park.

    11am – 2pm, Grid Ref – NC 040273, Grade B [Adults £3, Concession £2]
    Contact –  01571 844654

  • 23 June 2011  River Inver to Glencanisp
    • Amble along the riverside woodland via the Highland clearance village of Dubh Clais, returning along the lochshore. We will be looking out for black-throated divers. Meet at the Assynt Visitor Centre, Lochinver.

    11am – 3pm, Grid Ref – NC 094225, Grade B [Adults £5, Concession £3]
    Contact –  01571 844654

  • 28 June 2011  The Bone Caves
    • Take a fascinating walk back in time to the caves where the bones of Ice Age reindeer, humans and even polar bears were discovered. Meet at the Bone Caves car park, 4km south of Inchnadamph.

    11am – 2pm, Grid Ref – NC 254179, Grade C [Adults £3, Concession £2]
    Contact –  01571 844654

  • 30 June 2011  The Old Man of Stoer
    • Clifftop walk to the point of Stoer. Encounter the nesting seabirds and look out for great skuas, peregrines, seals and dolphins. We will get close views of the Old Man of Stoer. Meet at Stoer Lighthouse.

    11am – 4pm, Grid Ref – NC 005328, Grade C [Adults £5, Concession £3]
    Contact –  01571 844654

  • 04 July 2011  Survival Skills, Culag Woods
    • Learn some wilderness survival skills, including shelter building and fire lighting. Meet at Culag Woods car park, 500m south of Lochinver Primary School.

    11am – 1pm, Grid Ref – NC 093213, Grade A [Adults £3, Concession £2]
    Contact –  01571 844654

  • 05 July 2011  Rock Pools at Achmelvich
    • There is more to rock pooling than a load of old crabs stuffed in a bucket. You just need to look at things a little differently. Meet at Achmelvich Beach car park.

    4pm – 5.30pm, Grid Ref – NC 058248, Grade A [Adults free, Children £3]
    Contact –  01571 844654

  • 06 July 2011  Quinag
    • Explore this fantastic Assynt mountain (808m). Look for mountain azalea, mountain hares and ptarmigan. If the weather is not good, we will do a shorter, lower level walk. Meet at the car park 3km north of Skiag Bridge.

    10am – 5pm, Grid Ref – NC 232274, Grade D [Adults £5, Concession £3]
    Contact –  01571 844654

  • 12 July 2011  Stoer to Balchladdich Coastal Walk
    • Enjoy a clifftop walk with magnificent scenery and geology. There will be a good chance of seeing dolphins, seabirds, seals and otters. There is no path. Meet at Stoer Cemetery.

    11am – 3pm, Grid Ref – NC 040283, Grade C [Adults £5, Concession £3]
    Contact –  01571 844654

  • 13 July 2011  Achmelvich Coastal Walk
    • What are you interested in? This delightful walk through croftland and machair bursting with wildflowers covers it all. Watch out for dolphins too, and hear lots of stories. Meet at Achmelvich Beach car park.

    11am – 3pm, Grid Ref – NC 058248, Grade B, C [Adults £3, Concession £2]
    Contact –  01571 844654

  • 14 July 2011  The Gruffalo, Lochinver
    • A mouse took a walk in the deep, dark woods… Follow the trail to find the Gruffalo. Suitable for families with children 3 – 8 yrs old. May get muddy. Meet at Culag Woods car park, 500m south of Lochinver Primary School.

    11am – 1pm, Grid Ref – NC 093213, Grade A [Adults free, Children £3]
    Contact –  01571 844654

  • 19 July 2011  Clachtoll Coastal Walk
    • Join us on this beautiful coastal walk through a crofting village past an Iron Age fort. Hear the story of skeletons, ancient saunas and the ‘murder hole’. Meet at Clachtoll Beach car park.

    11am – 2pm, Grid Ref – NC 040273, Grade B [Adults £3, Concession £2]
    Contact –  01571 844654

  • 20 July 2011  The Limestone Valley of the Traligill
    • Take a fascinating walk through ancient limestone scenery, past secret caves, dramatic waterfalls and dry river beds. Meet at Inchnadamph car park.

    11am – 3pm, Grid Ref – NC 251216, Grade C [Adults £5, Concession £3]
    Contact –  01571 844654

  • 21 July 2011  The Snail and the Whale, Achmelvich
    • “This is the tale of a tiny snail and a great big grey-blue humpback whale”. Suitable for families with children 3 – 8 yrs old. Meet at Achmelvich Beach car park.

    11am – 2pm, Grid Ref – NC 058248, Grade B [Adults free, Children £3]
    Contact –  01571 844654

  • 26 July 2011  The Bone Caves
    • Take a fascinating walk back in time to the caves where bones of Ice Age reindeer, humans and even polar bears were discovered. Meet at the Bone Caves car park, 4km south of Inchnadamph.

    11am – 2pm, Grid Ref – NC 254179, Grade C [Adults £3, Concession £2]
    Contact –  01571 844654

  • 26 July 2011  Otters in Assynt (slide show)
    • Discover how to increase your chances of seeing an otter in Assynt and learn about their really wild lifestyle. Meet at the Assynt Visitor Centre, Lochinver.

    7.30pm, Grid Ref – NC 094225, Grade A [Adults £3, Concession £2]
    Contact –  01571 844654

  • 27 July 2011  Otters at Stoer
    • Walk along the clifftop to look for evidence of otters and other wildlife in their natural habitat. Meet at Stoer Cemetery.

    10am – 1pm, Grid Ref – NC 040283, Grade C [Adults £3, Concession £2]
    Contact –  01571 844654

  • 28 July 2011  Rock Pools at Clachtoll
    • There is more to rock pooling than a load of old crabs stuffed in a bucket. You just need to look at things a little differently. Meet at Clachtoll Beach car park.

    11am – 1pm, Grid Ref – NC 040273, Grade A [Adults free, Children £3]
    Contact –  01571 844654

Mid and East Sutherland

  • 23 June 2011  Balblair Rare
    • A pleasant walk through the National Nature Reserve looking for one-flowered wintergreen and twinflower. Meet at Balblair woods, Loch Fleet, by Golspie.

    2.30pm – 4.30pm, Grid Ref – NH 815977, Grade A [Adults £3, Concession £2]
    Contact –  01549 402638

  • 24 June 2011  Blooming Marvellous
    • A walk through the dunes and grassland of the common good lands. Meet at the Airfield car park, Dornoch.

    2.30pm – 4.30pm, Grid Ref – NH 802884, Grade A [Adults £3, Concession £2]
    Contact –  01549 402638

  • 05 July 2011  Bushcraft Skills
    • Shelter building, fire lighting and cord making skills for all budding Ray Mears’. Meet at Dunrobin Castle car park.

    10.30am – 12.30pm, Grid Ref – NC 850010, Grade A [Adults £3, Concession £2]
    Contact –  01549 402638

  • 05 July 2011  Osprey Watch
    • Join us on the lookout for a pair of Sutherland’s nesting ospreys. Meet at the Mound car park, between Golspie and Dornoch.

    2pm – 4pm, Grid Ref – NH 776982, Grade A [Adults £3, Concession £2]
    Contact –  01549 402638

  • 06 July 2011  Mud Glorious Mud
    • Explore Loch Fleet’s mud flats for the amazing hidden wildlife. Wellies essential. Meet at Balblair Woods, Loch Fleet, by Golspie.

    10.30am – 12.30pm, Grid Ref – NH 815977, Grade A [Adults £3, Concession £2]
    Contact –  01549 402638

  • 07 July 2011  Rockpool Rummage
    • Explore the shore for the weird and wonderful wildlife normally hidden by the tide. Meet at Helmsdale Harbour car park.

    10.30am – 12.30pm, Grid Ref – ND 030152, Grade A [Adults £3, Concession £2]
    Contact –  01549 402638

  • 07 July 2011  Gold Panning
    • Visit the site of Sutherland’s gold rush and try your hand at gold panning. Meet at Helmsdale Harbour car park.

    1.30pm – 3.30pm, Grid Ref – ND 030152, Grade A [Adults £3, Concession £2 (plus £3 for equipment hire)]
    Contact –  01549 402638

  • 12 July 2011  Happy Bird-Day
    • Come along to our bird ringing session in the morning for unforgettable close-ups of our native birds. We’ll look at owl pellets and play bird bingo in the afternoon. Meet at the Ferrycroft Centre, Lairg.

    10am – 2pm, Grid Ref – NC 579062, Grade A [Adults £3, Concession £2]
    Contact –  01549 402638

  • 13 July 2011  Pond Dipping
    • Using pond and butterfly nets, we will find whatever flips, flops and flies in the Skelbo pond. Meet at Skelbo Forest car park, near Dornoch.

    10.30am – 12.30pm, Grid Ref – NH 780942, Grade A [Adults £3, Concession £2]
    Contact –  01549 402638

  • 15 July 2011  The Gruffalo
    • A mouse took a walk in the deep, dark woods… Follow the trail to find the Gruffalo. Suitable for families with children 3 – 8 yrs old. May get muddy. No need to book. Meet at the Ferrycroft Centre, Lairg.

    11am – 1pm, Grid Ref – NC 579062, Grade A [Adults free, Children £3]
    Contact –  01549 402638

  • 19 July 2011  Blooming Marvellous
    • A walk through the dunes and grassland of the common good lands. Meet at the Airfield car park, Dornoch.

    10.30am – 12.30pm, Grid Ref – NH 802884, Grade A [Adults £3, Concession £2]
    Contact –  01549 402638

  • 19 July 2011  Osprey Watch
    • Join us on the lookout for a pair of Sutherland’s nesting ospreys. Meet at the Mound car park, between Golspie and Dornoch.

    2pm – 3.30pm, Grid Ref – NH 777983, Grade A [Adults £3, Concession £2]
    Contact –  01549 402638

  • 20 July 2011  Seal Watch
    • Come and get some of the closest views of common seals anywhere in Scotland. Meet at the small car park by Skelbo Castle, on the south shore of Loch Fleet.

    10am – 12pm, Grid Ref – NH 793953, Grade A [Adults £3, Concession £2]
    Contact –  01549 402638

  • 21 July 2011  Golspie to Brora Cycle
    • A round trip from Golspie to Brora (nearly) and back using forest roads and estate tracks. Great safe off-road cycling. Approx 10miles. Meet at the mountain bike trail car park up the hill (and under the railway) from the fountain in Golspie.

    10.30am – 1pm, Grid Ref – NC 829003, Grade C [Adults £3, Concession £2]
    Contact –  01549 402638

North Caithness

  • 10 June 2011  Puffin Watch
    • Join the Ranger and walk to see the largest puffin colony in the area. We should see hundreds of puffins at this site. Telescope provided, but bring your binoculars, cameras, boots and warm clothing. Meet at Sutherland/Caithness boundary sign on A836 north road.

    6.30pm, Grid Ref – NC 921645, Grade C [Adults £3, Concession £2]
    Contact –  01847 821531

  • 16 June 2011  Dwarick Head
    • Guided walk out over Dwarick Head passing Peedie Sands to Chapel Geo. Lots of lovely plants and great views over Dunnet Bay and beyond. Meet at Dwarick Pier, West Dunnet. Bring a packed lunch.

    11am, Grid Ref – ND 207713, Grade C [Adults £3, Concession £2]
    Contact –  01847 821531

  • 05 July 2011  Meet the Gruffalo
    • Children’s event suitable for under 8s. Join the story and meet the fabulous creatures who live in Dunnet Forest. Meet at Dunnet Forest car park.

    11am, Grid Ref – ND 221698, Grade B [Adults £3, Concession £2]
    Contact –  01847 821531

  • 08 July 2011  Batty Modelling
    • Help the Ranger to construct a huge model of a bat as part of the International Year of the Bat. The finished model will be displayed at the Seadrift Centre. All materials provided. Meet at the Seadrift Centre.

    11am, Grid Ref – ND 219706, Grade B [Family £5/£8]
    Contact –  01847 821531

  • 22 July 2011  Nature’s Puppets
    • Discover nature by enjoying a family puppet show with music and fun. Meet at the Seadrift Centre.

    6.30pm, Grid Ref – ND 219706, Grade A [Family £5/£8]
    Contact –  01847 821531

  • 28 July 2011  Find Your Way
    • Join the Rangers and have fun learning the basics of navigation using a map and compass to keep you right in the Great Outdoors. Materials provided but also bring your own. Meet at Duncansby Head Lighthouse car park.

    2pm, Grid Ref – ND 405734, Grade B [Adults £3, Concession £2]
    Contact –  01847 821531

North Sutherland

  • 05 June 2011  Strathy Point to Armadale Bay
    • Stunning guided walk along sea cliffs with coastal flowers and birds. Cars needed to help return. Drivers: please phone if you can help. Meet at Totegan car park (Strathy Point). Dogs not welcome.

    11am, Grid Ref – NC 827687, Grade C [Adults £3, Concession £2]
    Contact –  01847 821531

  • 12 June 2011  Kirkton to Portskerra
    • Guided walk out over the hill via Cnoc Eipteil and back along the burn gorge to Portskerra coast. Great views and stunning promontory fort site. Meet at Halladale Inn car park to car-share.

    11am, Grid Ref – NC 888641, Grade D [Adults £3, Concession £2]
    Contact –  01847 821531

  • 14 June 2011  Ard Mor
    • Great views from this wonderful headland at Bettyhill. Lots of great plants and a chance of porpoise in the bay. Some high cliffs. Meet at Bettyhill Pier by the River Naver.

    2pm, Grid Ref – NC 701620, Grade C [Adults £3, Concession £2]
    Contact –  01847 821531

  • 06 July 2011  Meet the Gruffalo
    • Young children’s event suitable for the under 8s. Join the story and meet the fabulous creatures who live in Borgie Forest. Meet at Borgie Forest Gaelic Tree Alphabet car park. Limited numbers. Booking recommended.

    1pm, Grid Ref – NC 685586, Grade A [Family £5/£8]
    Contact –  01847 821531

  • 19 July 2011  Bumblebee Safari and Wildflowers
    • Join the Ranger to help you identify our local bumblebees, hopefully including the rare great yellow bumblebee, then on to a superb wildflower area to find others. Meet at Bettyhill TIC/Café car park.

    2pm, Grid Ref – NC 715622, Grade B [Adults £3, Concession £2]
    Contact –  01847 821531

  • 20 July 2011  Kite Making
    • Join the Ranger and have fun making your very own kite from household objects, then let’s see them fly. All materials provided but numbers are limited. Meet at Farr School main entrance.

    11am, Grid Ref – NC 705619, Grade A [Family £5/£8]
    Contact –  01847 821531

  • 24 July 2011  Captain Ivy’s Cave and the Priest’s Stone
    • Time/tide dependent. Come and see if we can locate the legendary Captain Ivy’s cave on Strathy Beach, then walk out on to the hill to see the Pictish Priest’s Stone. Meet at Strathy Beach Log Cabin.

    , Grid Ref – NC 837657, Grade C [Adults £3, Concession £2]
    Contact –  01847 821531

  • 27 July 2011  Portskerra Rock Pools
    • Have fun catching and learning about the amazing creatures found in the rock pools at Portskerra. Some nets provided. Please bring your own as well. Meet at Portskerra old harbour slipway (not the pier).

    11am, Grid Ref – NC 878664, Grade B [Family £5/£8]
    Contact –  01847 821531

North-west Sutherland

  • 01 June 2011  Talmine Treasures
    • Masses of beautiful plants, including lesser butterfly orchids. Interesting geology and sea life en route to Port Vasgo. Meet at Talmine Pier, but please do not block pier access. No need to book.

    10.30am – 1.30pm, Grid Ref – NC 588632, Grade C [Adults £3, Concession £2]
    Contact –  01971 511756

  • 02 June 2011  Kylestrome & Glendubh, by Kylesku
    • Hill and coastal walk with spectacular views and the chance of seeing ravens, red deer, seals, divers and moorland flowers. Walking on rough tracks and heath. Meet at Reay Forest Estate car park, Kylestrome. No need to book.

    11am – 4pm, Grid Ref – NC 218346, Grade D [Adults £5, Concession £3]
    Contact –  01971 511756

  • 06 June 2011  Do the Puffin Walk – Faraid Head, Durness
    • 2hr walk to view a small colony of puffins; across a beautiful beach and returning through the dunes. Meet at Balnakeil Beach car park.

    2pm – 4pm, Grid Ref – NC 392687, Grade C [Adults £3, Concession £2]
    Contact –  01971 511756

  • 13 June 2011  Do the Puffin Walk – Faraid Head, Durness
    • 2hr walk to view a small colony of puffins; across a beautiful beach and returning through the dunes. Meet at Balnakeil Beach car park.

    2pm – 4pm, Grid Ref – NC 392687, Grade C [Adults £3, Concession £2]
    Contact –  01971 511756

  • 16 June 2011  Scourie Bay Coastal Walk, North Shore
    • Superb views, wild flowers, geology and seabirds. Meet at Pier car park.

    10.30am – 1.30pm, Grid Ref – NC 155448, Grade C [Adults £3, Concession £2]
    Contact –  01971 511756

  • 20 June 2011  Do the Puffin Walk – Faraid Head, Durness
    • 2hr walk to view a small colony of puffins; across a beautiful beach and returning through the dunes. Meet at Balnakeil Beach car park.

    2pm – 4pm, Grid Ref – NC 392687, Grade C [Adults £3, Concession £2]
    Contact –  01971 511756

  • 27 June 2011  Do the Puffin Walk – Faraid Head, Durness
    • 2hr walk to view a small colony of puffins; across a beautiful beach and returning through the dunes. Meet at Balnakeil Beach car park.

    2pm – 4pm, Grid Ref – NC 392687, Grade C [Adults £3, Concession £2]
    Contact –  01971 511756

  • 29 June 2011  Talmine Treasures
    • Masses of beautiful plants, including lesser butterfly orchids. Interesting geology and sea life en route to Port Vasgo. Meet at Talmine Pier, but please do not block pier access. No need to book.

    10.30am – 1.30pm, Grid Ref – NC 588632, Grade C [Adults £3, Concession £2]
    Contact –  01971 511756

  • 11 July 2011  Do the Puffin Walk – Faraid Head, Durness
    • 2hr walk to view a small colony of puffins; across a beautiful beach and returning through the dunes. Meet at Balnakeil Beach car park.

    2pm – 4pm, Grid Ref – NC 392687, Grade C [Adults £3, Concession £2]
    Contact –  01971 511756

  • 13 July 2011  Talmine Treasures
    • Masses of beautiful plants, including lesser butterfly orchids. Interesting geology and sea life en route to Port Vasgo. Meet at Talmine Pier, but please do not block pier access. No need to book.

    10.30am – 1.30pm, Grid Ref – NC 588632, Grade C [Adults £3, Concession £2]
    Contact –  01971 511756

  • 18 July 2011  Do the Puffin Walk – Faraid Head, Durness
    • 2hr walk to view a small colony of puffins; across a beautiful beach and returning through the dunes. Meet at Balnakeil Beach car park.

    2pm – 4pm, Grid Ref – NC 392687, Grade C [Adults £3, Concession £2]
    Contact –  01971 511756

  • 21 July 2011  Scourie Cliffs
    • Fine scenery, sea caves and cliffs, wild flowers and seabirds. Not suitable for young children. Meet at Free Church car park.

    10.30am – 1pm, Grid Ref – NC 152434, Grade C [Adults £3, Concession £2]
    Contact –  01971 511756

  • 25 July 2011  Do the Puffin Walk – Faraid Head, Durness
    • 2hr walk to view a small colony of puffins; across a beautiful beach and returning through the dunes. Meet at Balnakeil Beach car park.

    2pm – 4pm, Grid Ref – NC 392687, Grade C [Adults £3, Concession £2]
    Contact –  01971 511756

© Copyright The Highland Council, 2011

Lunar Eclipse 15 June 2011

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

On Wednesday night, June 15th, there will be a total lunar eclipse visible from every continent except North America.

The Moon will spend 100 minutes fully engulfed in Earth’s shadow, making this the longest lunar eclipse in nearly 11 years.

The appearance of the eclipse might be affected by exhaust from Chile’s erupting Puyehue-Cordón Caulle volcano, which is also causing spectacular sunsets around the southern hemisphere.

Discussion, eclipse maps, and links to live webcasts may be found at http://spaceweather.com.

Ranger Guided Walks – 2011

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Highland Council will lead walks in various rural areas as described in the brochure below:

ScreenHunter_01 Jun. 15 09.15Click image to view

Biodiversity – Why is it attractive?

Monday, June 13th, 2011

Insights from a Recorder

“What gets me out of bed in the morning?  Well, lots of things.  But the excitement of learning more about Highland wildlife, and enthusing others with its wonders, is high on the list.”

Murdo Macdonald

Murdo Macdonald is the Open University Biodiversity Mentor for Scotland, and manages the taxon database for the Highland Biological Recording Group.

Storm hits wild birds

Sunday, May 29th, 2011

Wild bird breeding hit by Scotland’s storm

Slavonian grebe. Image: RSPB
Click image to view
Slavonian grebe nests made in sedge beds have been washed away.

Recent stormy weather could have impacted the breeding success of some wild birds, experts have warned.

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) Scotland staff have been surveying damage caused by gale force winds that hit the country on Monday.

According to the charity, initial reports suggest some ground-nesting birds and those who nest on or near water may be among the worst affected.

Bird of prey nests are also feared to have fallen victim to the conditions.

Heavy rain and winds left more than 1,000 nests on the Insh Marshes nature reserve in the Highlands submerged underwater, including those of wading species such as lapwing, snipe, redshank and curlew

Karen Sutcliffe, RSPB Scotland site manager at Insh Marshes, said: “Waders were already struggling in Strathspey so this is a disappointing blow to the local population.

“A flood mid-April washed away many early nesting attempts.

“Around two-thirds of the birds tried again and, before this bout of bad weather, we had been expecting chicks to be hatching in next few days.

“The water levels are receding now but with the breeding season so far advanced it looks unlikely that many birds will make a third attempt.”

Nests washed away

Experts working on monitoring projects have recorded problems with rarer species too.

Staff studying the Slavonian grebe, a bird whose UK population is restricted to northern Scotland, found evidence that nests made in sedge beds have been washed away.

Meanwhile, a research programme radio-tagging 16 ring ouzel chicks lost almost half of its subjects due to bad weather.

RSPB reports also paint a concerning picture for some birds of prey, with nests and eggs of red kites, ospreys and eagles damaged or blown from trees.

In one case near Callander in the Trossachs, a red kite nest had been blown about 200ft (60m) out of a wood on to farmland and a dead chick was found on the ground.

Keith Morton, RSPB Scotland’s species policy officer, added: “For birds that are already under pressure because of chronic threats to their habitats, or because they are just numerically very scarce, this sort of event is more worrying.”

Many surviving chicks and fledglings, including birds of prey, found by members of the public after being blown from their nests during the storm were taken to the Scottish SPCA’s Wildlife Rescue Centre in Fife for care.

Related story.

Field Vole Population Increase

Monday, May 16th, 2011

Scottish field vole plague reaches record level

By Christopher Sleight Tayside & Central reporter, BBC News website

Field vole. Pic: Andy Sands/naturepl.comClick image to view Field voles thrive under snow cover as it protects them from raptors

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