Archive for the ‘In the News’ Category

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

Continue reading “Field Vole Population Increase” »

Mink ‘Safe Haven’ Project

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

The largest ever initiative to remove breeding American mink from the north of Scotland is under way.

The Scottish Mink Initiative aims to create a 20,000 sq km safe haven for native wildlife in rural Tayside, Aberdeenshire, Moray, the Cairngorms and the Highlands. Continue reading “Mink ‘Safe Haven’ Project” »

Job for June: Seal Observation Project

Saturday, May 7th, 2011

Loch Fleet harbour seal photo-identification assistant:

Over the last 5 years an individual-based study of harbour seals has been carried out in Loch Fleet National Nature Reserve by the Lighthouse Field Station (Line Cordes). These individual-based data are crucial for understanding population-level changes.

However, harbour seal haul-out sites are often inaccessible or easily disturbed, and Loch Fleet presents one of the only places in the world where individual-based data of harbour seals are being obtained. Harbour seals have suffered widespread declines across the UK for reasons that are not fully understood.

We therefore want to turn the work done in Loch Fleet into a long-term study of harbour seal survival and reproductive ecology to get a better understanding of the potential drivers of the declines. We are especially interested in continuing the data collection on harbour seal survival, birth rates and the timing of pupping. These data are collected through the sighting and re-sightings of individual harbour seals recognised through photographing and matching their pelage patterns.

We seek a field assistant to carry out daily photo-identification surveys in Loch Fleet during June, 2011.

Job description:

  • Photo-identification surveys to be carried out daily throughout the month of June
  • Surveys to be carried out during one low tide on each day
  • Surveys typically last 1-3 hours depending on the number of seals and activity
  • Photographs of the head and neck region (right and/or left) of all seals hauled-out on the main sandbank are to be photographed
  • Seals in the presence of a pup are to be photographed with the pup
  • Bellies of seals to be photographed when possible along with identification photographs to determine sex.jJob requirements:
  • Interest in ecology and biology
  • Enjoy being outside watching wildlife – in all types of weather conditions
  • Ability to work for 2-3 hours a day
  • Flexible to work all times of the day depending on the time of low tide
  • Comfortable carrying heavy camera equipment
  • Comfortable using an SLR camera and telescope (camera settings will be pre-determined)
  • Patience in waiting for seals to move in order to take a good quality photo
  • Computer literate


  • Live near Loch Fleet
  • Drivers license and own transportation


  • Yes – to be discussed

Regards, please contact:

Line Cordes & Paul Thompson
Lighthouse Field Station
Cromarty, IV118YJ
Phone: 01381600548

Bird Breeding Maps

Friday, May 6th, 2011

New breeding bird distribution maps online


New breeding distribution maps for the Bird Conservation Targeting Project (BCTP) are now available online. Click on the “view targeting maps” link to search the maps.

The maps show the 2005-2010 breeding distribution for a suite of rare and declining birds.

Many thanks for any contributions you’ve made to the project. Without the input of local experts, such as yourself, this project would not be possible.

If you have any questions or feedback, please get in touch.


Otter Alert Reflectors

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

The BBC reports that:

Reflectors have been installed at otter eye-level on a stretch of road in an effort to cut the number of the animals being killed by traffic at night. Continue reading “Otter Alert Reflectors” »

Aspen Trees

Friday, February 25th, 2011

At the new Hope Gate, the western entrance to The Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh, David and Heather spotted a local tree.

Well, it is an etching of two local Aspen trees.  Dornoch, Sutherland artist Ian Westacott has an exhibition of ‘Venerable Trees‘ now being displayed at the Hope Gate.

2AspenIanWestacottClick image to view

These Aspen trees are growing west of Ardgay, near a Champion Tree, also Aspen, as described by John Miller.  John Miller has lead two TDFC excursions examining local trees.

Betty Wright has kindly lent a photograph of Ian Westacott’s Aspen trees which gives insight into how they are an inspiring pair.

2AspenBettyWrightClick image to view

These trees can be seen growing in a fenceline by Dounie just west of Gledfield, Ardgay, in plain view of the road.

Another local tree is in Ian Westacott’s exhibition, this one is called the ‘No Worry Tree’.

NoWorryTreeIanWestacottClick image to view

This tree is in the Gearrchoille, Ardgay.  We have no photo of it.  Can you supply one?

Lunar Eclipse, Dec 2010 – watch from under your duvet

Monday, December 20th, 2010

Live webcast of Total Lunar Eclipse and Teide Shadow.

The eclipse and positioning of the shadow of Europe’s’ highest point will take place simultaneously on 21 December and will be broadcast from Teide if weather conditions are suitable. Continue reading “Lunar Eclipse, Dec 2010 — watch from under your duvet” »

‘Lost world’ of rare species in Highlands’ forest

Friday, December 17th, 2010

A forest in the Highlands holds a “lost world” of rare and endangered spiders, ants and flies, according the charity that owns the woodland. Continue reading “‘Lost world’ of rare species in Highlands’ forest” »

999 Emergency

Friday, December 10th, 2010

If you are out and about enjoying one of our local habitats,

New Comet – Ikeya-Murakami

Monday, November 8th, 2010

A new comet has been found by two Japanese amateurs.  Comet IKEYA-MURAKAMI is visible using a telescope or strong binoculars in the morning just before dawn.  Look east to where Venus is visible below Saturn.  The comet is moving downward and leftward very, very close to Saturn. Continue reading “New Comet — Ikeya-Murakami” »

Comet Hartley

Thursday, November 4th, 2010


For backyard stargazers, the next few nights are the best time to see green Comet 103P/Hartley 2 as it approaches Earth for an 11-million-mile close encounter on Oct. 20th. Continue reading “Comet Hartley” »

Loch Fleet Seals on the BBC

Sunday, August 29th, 2010

On Sunday morning 29th August 2010 Lionel Kelleway interviewed Line Cordes, among others, about seals and their Loch Fleet habitat.  Line spoke to the TDFC about these seals in December 2009. Continue reading “Loch Fleet Seals on the BBC” »

Beavers ‘in the wild’ in Scotland?

Sunday, August 8th, 2010

Aligning several news reports makes for a story we did not expect, regarding beavers.

From the BBC in April 2007

Beaver (generic)

The beaver had been gnawing through tree trunks

A beaver living wild in part of rural Perthshire for the past several months has been captured. Continue reading “Beavers ‘in the wild’ in Scotland?” »

Dragonfly Safari

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

West Ross is the location for a Dragonfly Safari (26/06/10)

Common Hawker Dragonfly

An invitation is being extended to people interested in dragonflies to join The Highland Council Countryside Rangers and members of the British Dragonfly Society on safari in the Ullapool area on 26 and 27 June.

The aim of the event is to celebrate National Dragonfly Week, which is run by the British Dragonfly Society and to survey some of the remote areas of Britain that are not already included in the Society’s five year survey of Britain’s dragon and damselflies.

On Saturday 26th, anyone with little knowledge about, or who has never seen dragonflies before can join Wester Ross Countryside Ranger, Lindsey Duncan and Jonathan Willet from the British Dragonfly Society to study the pools and ponds around Loch Achall near Ullapool. Seven species of dragonfly and damselfly have been already found at Loch Achall but there are at least ten more to find.

Jonathan Willet, Highland Biodiversity Officer and British Dragonfly Society member said: “Late June is a great time to see dragonflies as they are on the wing so it is a great time to get out and have a look for some of the 18 or so species that can be found in the Highlands.”

On Sunday 27th the safari will extend towards East Rhidorroch Lodge for more dragonfly searching. So far there are only four dragonfly species recorded here leaving plenty of opportunity to discover more.

Both events take place from 10am to 4pm. To book a place telephone: 01854 613904. The meeting place will be given out on booking. Each event is free event but donations will be gratefully received.

Lindsey Duncan, Highland Council Wester Ross Countryside Ranger said: “A warm summer day in June is perfect for spotting dragonflies. This is a great opportunity to join us and discover more about these attractive and vibrant creatures which are among the most ancient living insects in the world.”

Further information about dragonflies is available at the British Dragonfly Society website or a leaflet on dragonflies and damselflies is available from Jonathan Willet, Highland Biodiversity Officer at The Highland Council on tel: 01463 702274.

Butterfly Conservation Spring 2010 e-Newsletter

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

Read or download the latest e-Newsletter from Butterfly Conservation Scotland. Continue reading “Butterfly Conservation Spring 2010 e-Newsletter” »