Archive for the ‘TDFC Affairs’ Category

Planning Objection to Coul Links Golf Course Proposal

Thursday, December 21st, 2017

TDFClogo_noshadow
Tain & District Field Club

20th December 2017

The Head of Planning and Building Standards

ePlanning Centre

The Highland Council

Glenurquhart Road

Inverness

IV3 5NX

Tain & District Field Club (TDFC) wish to lodge an objection to the following development:

Planning Reference: 17/04601/FUL

Development of 18 hole golf course, erection of clubhouse, renovation of existing buildings for maintenance facility, pro-shop, caddy hut, workshop, administration building, information booth, formation of new private access from C1026

Land 1700M NW Of Embo Community Centre School Street Embo

TDFC is a natural history society established in 1980 and based in Tain.  It draws its membership mainly from East Ross and East Sutherland.  Several members of the Club have read various aspects of the developers’ submissions; our objections below are based on a summary of their observations.

  1. Coul Links has a number of national and international designations:it is part of the Dornoch and Loch Fleet RAMSAR site.
    it is part of the Dornoch and Loch Fleet Special Protected area.
    it is part of the Loch Fleet Site of Special Scientific Interest.

    Only the best sites in the UK and Europe are accorded such designations. This development is unnecessary within our coastline already dominated by existing golf courses.  Furthermore, the case presented in the Environmental Statement of ‘no harm’ to the interests of the SSSI is seriously flawed, as has been very cogently put by specialist commentators.

    Coul Links provides a mosaic of habitats:

    the beach.
    the mobile dunes.
    intertidal sands & gravels connecting to the dune slacks.
    grey dunes with dune heaths including juniper heaths.>

    Each of these provides it own complex of sub-habitats with characteristic plant and animal species.  Such a dynamic system with its patchwork of biological habitats is dependent on sand movement, hydrology and micro-climatic conditions and is therefore very vulnerable to changes in drainage, enrichments from fertilizers and diffusion of pesticides through the system.

  2. The proposed development would cover a considerable area of the protected land outlined in §1.  As Coul Links is a dynamic system it is impossible to alter one area without detrimental effects throughout the system.
  3. Biological surveysThe biological surveys are inadequate:
    1. inappropriate and ill-timed
      the major duck migration period (late August to early October) is not covered
    2. techniques are at best poorly described
      Breeding bird survey techniques are not fully described.
    3. inadequate
      1. bat surveys are inadequate
      2. while there is discussion of some lepidoptra and of Fonseca’s Seed Fly (Botanophila fonsecai), the vast majority of invertebrate groups are inadequately dealt with or totally ignored.
      3. non-vascular plants and fungi are largely ignored.  Many of the rarer plant species are even ‘scoped out’ because we are told they will not be affected by the course layout. This is prejudging the assessments.
  4. Mitigation procedures are inappropriate, two examples being:
    1. It is suggested that the mitigation procedure for the Fonseca’s Seed Fly depends on the funding of a PhD.  This implies retrospective “mitigation”.  Mitigation must take place before a development, rather than just monitoring the damage after it has taken place.
    2. The proposed “translocation” of dune heath.
      The present distribution of this habitat depends on dune mobility, hydrological and other habitat factors.  Moving turfs will translocate heather and some associated plants but cannot move a habitat with its terrestrial and hydrological conditions or its total assemblage of plants, vertebrates and invertebrates. Failure of this supposed mitigation is inevitable.
  5. Socio economic claims:The socio-economic case is optimistic in the extreme.   The business basis for such a seasonal activity seems flawed in the current climate of falling member numbers of golf clubs. The so-called benefits to other golf courses are speculative, and the claims of support, it suggested, not as wholehearted as claimed.There are other ways that the locality, and not just for Dornoch and Embo, can be made more attractive in order to draw in greater numbers of visitors to the area – and year round, not just in the summer.  The lure of a seasonal game of golf, is of very little interest to a large proportion of the local and visiting population.  Give us something we can all use – but not on a precious SSSI.

In summary: Tain & District Field Club members feel that Coul Links is a unique habitat which is too valuable to be destroyed for an unnecessary golf course which has unsubstantiated claims of employment and visitor numbers.  There is no evidence that any jobs created will go to local people.

The area attracts many visitors and its loss would have a detrimental effect on both local visitors and ecotourism in the Highlands and will probably have a detrimental effect on some of the 30+ golf courses already existing within a 30 mile radius.

An unnecessary golf development should not be permitted to destroy an area which is nationally and internationally significant.  Even more importantly the links provides locals and visitors with a peaceful environment to contemplate, study and relax in a truly wild environment in the Highlands all year round.  It’s a wonderful place to enjoy being outside and see some of the amazing birds, butterflies, amphibians and plants Scotland is home to.  It’s one of our club’s favourite places.  We are very worried about what impact the golf course would have here, not only with the loss of the Coul Links, but also how much disturbance would be created in adjacent areas once the golf course is up and running.

David W McAllister

(Chairman, Tain & District Field Club)

For TDFC Committee & Members

Original statement of objection to the Coul Links Golf Course Development

Endangered White-rumped Vultures in Nepal

Monday, November 20th, 2017

The big moment: Nepal releases its first ever captive-reared vultures

Six captive-reared Critically Endangered White-rumped Vultures have ventured out into the wild. This comes at a time when the world is finally waking up to the plight of vultures.

A captive-reared White-rumped Vulture takes its first unrestricted flight © Jyotendra Thakuri
A captive-reared White-rumped Vulture takes
its first unrestricted flight © Jyotendra Thakuri

By Jessica Law

The moment has finally arrived. Bait is placed outside the entrance of the pre-release aviary, and the door is opened from a remote hide. As wild vultures descended to feed, five out of our six yellow-tagged protagonists are lured outside to join in in the scrum. Soon they are squabbling and interacting with them as if they’d always been part of the gang. And, in a way, they had – in the weeks before their release, they had been socialising with wild vultures through the wire while exercising their wings.

Satellite-tagged newcomers gorge on their first wild meal alongside wild vultures © Rajendra Guring

Satellite-tagged newcomers gorge on their first wild meal
alongside wild vultures © Rajendra Guring

It’s been a fantastic couple of months for vultures. In October 2017, the ambitious Multi-species Action Plan to save 15 vulture species over 128 countries was endorsed with enthusiasm at the Convention on Migratory Species Conference of Parties in Manila. At almost exactly the same time in India, the Madras high Court ruled to uphold the dosage restriction on vulture-killing drug diclofenac. And last week, in Nepal, six captive-reared White-rumped Vultures were finally released into a wild that, for the first time in decades, could be truly vulture-safe.

On the 9th of November, scientists and officials gathered to watch conservation history being made, with South Asia’s first ever release of captive-reared Critically Endangered birds. For years, Bird Conservation Nepal (BCN, BirdLife in Nepal) and RSPB (BirdLife in the UK), working as part of the SAVE (Saving Asia’s Vultures from Extinction) consortium, had been working tirelessly to rid the area of painkiller diclofenac. This drug, if used on livestock, is fatal to the vultures that clear up the carcasses. But now the area is finally deemed safe enough to release individuals reared in captivity, giving the Critically Endangered wild population a much-needed boost.

Vulture population declines in South Asia have slowed and possibly reversed

“Within the provisional Vulture Safe Zone, we conduct undercover surveys of pharmacies and have found no diclofenac in the last four years,” said Krishna Bhusal of BCN. “We also conduct surveys of vulture populations and have found that the population declines have slowed and possibly reversed.”

And so it seems the perfect time – and the release process went off without a hitch, with five out of the six youngsters emerging from their enclosure. Their first unrestricted flight was slightly more difficult – partly due to the novelty of the activity, and partly due to the enormous meal they’d just consumed – but all of them managed to find a suitable perch for the night. Only one cautious vulture remained inside the aviary – but by the morning, she, too, had plucked up the courage to venture out into the wild. (RSPB’s Alison Beresford gives a great first-hand account of the release day here.)

So what happens now? Well, each of the vultures has been fitted with a solar-powered satellite tag that will track their movements.

“It is time to assess whether the provisional Vulture Safe Zone has become a true Vulture Safe Zone, but only the vultures can show us that,” said Toby Galligan, Senior Conservation Scientist, RSPB (BirdLife in UK) Centre for Conservation Science. “So, we are using satellite telemetry to track wild White-rumped Vultures remotely and in the field. If any die we can recover them, examine them for cause of death and prevent other vultures dying from that cause.”

The tags will also be very useful in discovering whether the captive-reared birds behave normally in the wild. Since this is the first experiment of its kind, such findings will prove vital in future programs.

Vulutres cross the border to India to forage

In the months prior to the release, SAVE had also tagged and tracked several wild vultures. All of them currently remain alive and well, which bodes very well for our six captive-reared novices.

But vultures in this area have been known to cross the border to India to forage. The ability of vultures to transcend national boundaries is what makes global partnerships like SAVE and the Multi-species Action Plan so vital to ensure their safety in the coming years.


For more on the African-Eurasian Vulture Crisis, see www.birdlife.org/savevultures

BirdLife Shop Donate Who we are What we do Where we work Support us Data Zone Like most websites we use cookies. If you’re happy with that, just carry on as normal (close this bar) – otherwise click here to find out more. 20 Nov 2017 The big moment: Nepal releases its first ever captive-reared vultures Watch as conservation history is made: six captive-reared Critically Endangered White-rumped Vultures venture out into the wild. This comes at a time when the world is finally waking up to the plight of vultures. A captive-reared White-rumped Vulture takes its first unrestricted flight © Jyotendra Thakuri A captive-reared White-rumped Vulture takes its first unrestricted flight © Jyotendra Thakuri By Jessica Law The moment has finally arrived. Bait is placed outside the entrance of the pre-release aviary, and the door is opened from a remote hide. As wild vultures descended to feed, five out of our six yellow-tagged protagonists are lured outside to join in in the scrum. Soon they are squabbling and interacting with them as if they’d always been part of the gang. And, in a way, they had – in the weeks before their release, they had been socialising with wild vultures through the wire while exercising their wings. Satellite-tagged newcomers gorge on their first wild meal alongside wild vultures © Rajendra Guring Satellite-tagged newcomers gorge on their first wild meal alongside wild vultures © Rajendra Guring It’s been a fantastic couple of months for vultures. In October, the ambitious Multi-species Action Plan to save 15 vulture species over 128 countries was endorsed with enthusiasm at the Convention on Migratory Species Conference of Parties in Manila. At almost exactly the same time in India, the Madras high Court ruled to uphold the dosage restriction on vulture-killing drug diclofenac. And last week, in Nepal, six captive-reared White-rumped Vultures were finally released into a wild that, for the first time in decades, could be truly vulture-safe. On the 9th of November, scientists and officials gathered to watch conservation history being made, with South Asia’s first ever release of captive-reared Critically Endangered birds. For years, Bird Conservation Nepal (BCN, BirdLife in Nepal) and RSPB (BirdLife in the UK), working as part of the SAVE (Saving Asia’s Vultures from Extinction) consortium, had been working tirelessly to rid the area of painkiller diclofenac. This drug, if used on livestock, is fatal to the vultures that clear up the carcasses. But now the area is finally deemed safe enough to release individuals reared in captivity, giving the Critically Endangered wild population a much-needed boost. Subscribe to Our Newsletter! Vulture population declines in South Asia have slowed and possibly reversed “Within the provisional Vulture Safe Zone, we conduct undercover surveys of pharmacies and have found no diclofenac in the last four years,” said Krishna Bhusal of BCN. “We also conduct surveys of vulture populations and have found that the population declines have slowed and possibly reversed.” And so it seems the perfect time – and the release process went off without a hitch, with five out of the six youngsters emerging from their enclosure. Their first unrestricted flight was slightly more difficult – partly due to the novelty of the activity, and partly due to the enormous meal they’d just consumed – but all of them managed to find a suitable perch for the night. Only one cautious vulture remained inside the aviary – but by the morning, she, too, had plucked up the courage to venture out into the wild. (RSPB’s Alison Beresford gives a great first-hand account of the release day here.) So what happens now? Well, each of the vultures has been fitted with a solar-powered satellite tag that will track their movements. “It is time to assess whether the provisional Vulture Safe Zone has become a true Vulture Safe Zone, but only the vultures can show us that,” said Toby Galligan, Senior Conservation Scientist, RSPB (BirdLife in UK) Centre for Conservation Science. “So, we are using satellite telemetry to track wild White-rumped Vultures remotely and in the field. If any die we can recover them, examine them for cause of death and prevent other vultures dying from that cause.” The tags will also be very useful in discovering whether the captive-reared birds behave normally in the wild. Since this is the first experiment of its kind, such findings will prove vital in future programs. Vulutres cross the border to India to forage In the months prior to the release, SAVE had also tagged and tracked several wild vultures. All of them currently remain alive and well, which bodes very well for our six captive-reared novices. But vultures in this area have been known to cross the border to India to forage. The ability of vultures to transcend national boundaries is what makes global partnerships like SAVE and the Multi-species Action Plan so vital to ensure their safety in the coming years. Read SAVE’s full press release here. For more on the African-Eurasian Vulture Crisis, see www.birdlife.org/savevultures Worldwide Nepal Migratory Birds and Flyways – Asia Love Vultures#lovevulturesreleasenepalcaptive-breeding Top Stories The big moment: Nepal releases its first ever captive-reared vultures Guyra Paraguay celebrates 20 years of science and conservation The Bird Bulletin: Europe & Central Asia Did Sierra Leone mudslide uncover a forgotten conservation promise? 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2016 Frog Spawn; Gearrchoille Wood, Ardgay

Tuesday, March 8th, 2016

Betty Wright spotted big clumps of frog spawn in the old curling pond in Gearrchoille Wood.

Frog Spawn seen by Betty, 3rd March 2016

David reckons there may be as many as 13 separate clumps in this photo.

Please let The Field Club know if you see local frog spawn in February or March.

Reelig Glen- 13 February 2016

Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

The sun shone in a nearly clear sky most of the morning and early afternoon, but on the forest footpath at the base of Reelig Glen while the light above was welcome there was very little heat penetrating down to the shadows beneath the very tall trees.  Seventeen TDFC members took the short path, anti-clockwise, round the deepest part of the glen.

John Miller led us and explained the interest, the biology and the physics of some of Scotland’s, and Britain’s, tallest trees.  The depth of the glen and the protection this offered and the natural prevelance for the trees to stretch up toward the light, and the fashion for planting favoured tree species over the past 140 or so years has made Reelig Glen the calm place we now enjoy, and the fruitfulness for

The species list below demonstrates the variety Reelig offered even in mid-February.

13/02/16 Reelig Glen
NH 54 NH 55 42 NH 55 43 Notes

Birds
Erithacus rubecula Robin
Milvus milvus Red Kite
Buteo buteo Buzzard
Certhia familiaris Treecreeper

Mammals
Talpa europaea Mole Mole hills
Sciurius vulguris Red Squirrel Drey & cones

Fungi
Xylaria carpophila Beechmast Candlesnuff Fungus
Sparassis crispa Cauliflower fungus
Exidiopsis effusa Hair ice fungus B.Ing – Lots of hair ice seen
Eutypa scabrosa B.Ing
Melanomma pulvis-pyrius B.Ing
Propolis versicolor B.Ing

Ferns
Asplenium (Phyllitis) scolopendrium
Asplenium trichomanes
Blechnum spicant
Dryopteris affinis agg
Dryopteris dilatata
Dryopteris filx-mas
Polystichium aculeatum Shield-fern, Hard

Conifers
Abies alba Fir, European Silver
Abies procera Fir, Noble
Larix decidua Larch, European Champion
Picea abies Spruce, Norway Champion
Picea jezoensis Spruce, Hondo
Picea sitchensis Spruce, Sitka
Pseudostuga menziesii Fir, Douglas Dughall Mòr ;  tallest in Scotland
(66.4m, 4.56m circumferance)
Taxus baccata Yew
Tsuga heterophylla Hemlock-spruce, Western

Flowering Plants
Calluna vulgaris Heather
Chrysosplenium oppositifolium Saxifrage, Opposite-leaved Golden
Fagus sylvatica Beech
Geranium robertianum Herb-robert
Hedera helix Ivy
Ilex aquifolium Holly
Juncus effusus Rush, Soft-
Luzula sylvatica Wood-rush, Greater
Oxalis acetosella Wood-sorrel
Ranunculus repens Buttercup, Creeping
Rhododendron ponticum Rhododendron
Rubus fruticosus Bramble / Blackberry
Rubus idaeus Raspberry
Rumex obtusifolius Dock, Broad-leaved
Tilia europaea (x) Lime Tallest in Britain
Vaccinium myrtillus Bilberry
Veronica montana Speedwell, Wood
Viola riviniana Dog-violet, Common

Nacreous Clouds, February 2016, Near Tain

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016

The early evening of 1st February was a good time for seeing NACREOUS CLOUDs.  Storm Henry was all around us with heavy rainfall and high winds, but for a time in the late afternoon  areas of clear sky were seen.

The date and the time were right for a very low sun when people were out and about, and as DISCUSSED HERE the presence of stormy weather and jetstream activity may have helped these clouds to form.

Near Tain Nacreous Clouds were seen by Russell who sent us this picture, taken on 1st February and by Pat who saw them on the 29th of January.

Nacreous Cloud, by RussellClick to view

Pat_Rae_Noctilucent_P1110196Pat_Rae_Noctilucent_P1110198Pat_Rae_Noctilucent_P1110201<>

Field Trip to Reelig Glen

Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

Tain & District Field Club has been to Reelig Glen before and we have been fortunate enough to have John Miller lead us as he will on Saturday, 13th February.

Reelig is always a pleasure to visit.  The ultra-tall trees are a mark of the protection afforded by the deep and narrow ravine and they are not the only interest found along the footpaths.

Keep checking this site and the TDFC Facebook page for the latest information about the meeting point.

Winter may still be with us in February so all caveats about apparel and nourishment apply.

Forestry Commission Scotland entry.
Woodland Trust entry.
A BBC entry.
Monumental trees entry.

Strathrory Burn – 12 September 2015

Monday, September 14th, 2015


The Tain & District Field Club enjoyed the prospect of beating the forecast rain while searching for wolf spiders along the sandy / gravelly banks of this burn. The forecast proved about right so it was wet weather gear all-round, but the specific target species Arctosa cinerea did not appear. Of course, lack of evidence does not provide evidence of non-existence, so future searches may be worthwhile.

TDFC members, as ever, observed and recorded many species which will add to the known assemblage in our area.

Here is a species list :

Strathrory spider hunt 12 September 2015
Place Grid Ref Species Name Habitat
Mammals
Strathrory forestry track NH 6708 7746 Meles meles Badger Scat on road edge.  Not in pit.
Birds
Strathrory Bridge NH 660 776 Hirundo rustica Swallow
Strathrory Bridge NH 660 776 Troglodytes troglodytes Wren
Strathrory NH 67 77 Anthus pratensis Meadow Pipit
Amphibians
Strathrory forestry track NH 4523 5802 Bufo bufo Common Toad Crossing road
Strathrory forestry track NH 452 580 Rana temporaria Common Frog
Insects
Strathrory Bridge NH 660 776 Forficula auricularia Common Earwig
Strathrory NH 67 77 Bombus jonellus Heath Bumblebee
Strathrory forestry track NH 6707 7745 Sawfly leaf-miner Aspen leaves burrows & leaves stuck together
Arachnids
Strathrory Bridge NH 660 776 Crab spider Swept from veg by river
Strathrory River ford NH 674 774 small Wolf Spider River gravels obeside ford.
Plants
Strathrory forestry track NH 659 776 (Equisetum plastre) Marsh Horsetail
Strathrory forestry track NH 6707 7745 Populus tremula Aspen Leaf miner & rust fungus
River above Strathrory Bridge NH 659 776 Ranunculus repens Creeping Buttercup River bank
River above Strathrory Bridge NH 659 776 Succisa pratensis Devil’s-bit Scabious
Strathrory River ford NH 67 77 Succisa pratensis Devil’s-bit Scabious
Fungi
Strathrory forestry track NH 6707 7745 Melampsora larici-tremulae? Aspen rust fungus ? Aspen leaves

..

Some photos from the day:

P1010120_E_palustre_PAT
P1010105_red_blob_PAT
P1010106_red_blob_PAT
P1010105_red_blob_PAT
P1010108_yellow_blob_PAT
unknownSpider-DSC09150-2_PFO
unknownSpiderWeb-DSC09141_PFO
IMG_9395_2_Rivergravelspidersearch
Wet weather spider search
Aspen Leaf-Miner Damage
Badger poo on the track
Toad going nowhere on the track

Fungal Survey – please contribute data

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

HELP NEEDED WITH ROSS-SHIRE FUNGUS SURVEY

by Mr B. Ing, Ullapool

Since 2004 I have been compiling records of fungi (all groups) from Ross-shire, v.c. 105 and 106. Historical records,
from literature and herbaria, have been augmented by a systematic programme of fieldwork.

With 98 whole or part 10km grid squares covering the area I am aiming at geographical as well as mycological
coverage. A ‘target’ of 100 species per 10km square has been adopted, although the better-worked squares have far
more than this. 72 squares have now reached their target! 10 of the remaining 26 are difficult of access.  (Note – for
hectads only partly in VCs 105 and 106 the target is <100 species – actually the number of 1km squares in the VCs.)

The list below is arranged as follows: grid square/target/number of species recorded/ species required/notes of likely
sites, accessibility etc. Any help with records, whether macrofungi; mushrooms, brackets, puffballs etc., plant
pathogens: mildews, rusts, smuts, leaf spots etc, or ascomycetes on soil or wood, will be gratefully received and duly
acknowledged in the proposed publication.

hectad

target
no. species

recorded
no. species

remaining required
no. species

comments

NG64 7 1 6 Along coast road N of Applecross Bay, no woodland.
NG65 10 1 9 NW Applecross coast road, no woodland.
NG75 85 12 73 N Applecross, along Shieldaig road, woodland.
NG86 100 5 95 Upper Diabaig, woodland, Beinn Alligin.
NH91 70 10 60 Kintail, Shiel Bridge, Glen Shiel, 5 Sisters, woodland on A 87.
NG92 90 4 86 L Duich, Camas Luine, Strath Croe, Inverinate, woods on A 87.
NH00 20 0 20 Cluanie Forest, track S of Cluanie Lodge, no woodland.
NH01 50 2 48 Glen Shiel along A 87, Beinn Ffada (Attow), woods on A 87.
NH02 85 0 85 Track to Glomach Falls, woodland by Loch na Leitreach.
NH03 70 0 70 No obvious sites, mountainous, many tracks, all distant, no Munros.
NH07 100 0 100 Long tracks from Kinlochewe and Dundonnell, 3 Munros, little woodland E of Beinn a Chladheimh.
NH10 20 0 20 Inaccessible except via Cluanie Lodge in W. woods S of L. Cluanie.
NH11 20 1 19 A 87 W of Strath Cluanie, mountains to N, woods near road.
NH12 15 0 15 Inaccessible, land S of L. Mullardoch, little woodland.
NH13 50 7 43 Land S of L. Monar, ? accessible from Monar Dam via Strathfarrar.
NH14 95 0 95 Inaccessible other than by tracks from end of Strathconon or from Craig on A 890.
NH16 100 1 99 Mountains W of L. Fannich, 2 Munros, part accessible from A 832 in Strathbran, small area of woodland.
NH23 3 0 3 E and SE of Monar Dam, accessible via Strathfarrar, no woodland.
NH24 70 0 70 Around Monar Lodge, via Strathfarrar, 5 Munros, also from Inverchoran from Strathconon, some woodland at N access.
NH25 100 10 90 Strathconon and L. Beannacharain, woods by road and side valley.
NH34 30 1 29 S of Orrin Res. ?accessible from E end of Strathconon at Marybank.
NH38 100 0 100 Freevater & Trollmuick Forests, mountains, long tracks from Alladale Lodge and Strathvaich. No woodland.
NH47 100 5 95 Kildemore & Wyvis Forests, via Strath Rannoch (A 835)  in SW, or around Wyvis Lodge, via Glen Glass.
NH57 100 6 94 Strath Rusdale, Boath, woodland!
NH58 100 1 99 Forest SW of Oldtown, near Ardgay.
NH87 70 31 39 Loch Eye, Rhynie NR, Balintore, Hilton, Shandwick, Nigg, Fearn.

Please send records and/or dried specimens to me at the address below. Please do not use plastic wrapping – use plain paper – as fungal material reacts poorly with plastic.

Later stages of the survey will concentrate on unworked squares plus specialised habitats and substrates.

Many thanks.

Bruce Ing, Tigh na faoileige, Rhue, Ullapool, IV26 2TJ.

theings(”AT”)btinternet(”DOT”)com.

Who has seen what? May and July 2015

Friday, July 17th, 2015

Our comon friends, the Juniper and the Hawthorn, share a fungal pest which requires both these plants be present and near enough to each other to allow transport of fungal spores from one to the other.

JuniperGall#1-DSC08556Click image to view

Gymnosporangium spore forming bodies on Juniper seen each spring at Ardgay.

Gymnosporangium juniperi-virginianae is the fungal pest which in turn attacks Juniper, then Hawthorn.  Juniper is infected in mid to late summer by spores created within galls on Hawthorn.  After over-wintering spring moisture causes Gymnosporangium galls to form on the Juniper.  Spores from the Juniper infect the Hawthorn.  This heteroecious cycle repeats.

HawthornGall#1-DSC08886Click image to viewGalls which form each summer on Hawthorn at Ardgay.

HawthornGall#2-DSC08924HawthornGall#3onLeaf-DSC08937

Heteroecious: noun/adjective, parasites (esp rust fungi) undergoing different stages of the life cycle on different host species. Compare Autoecious.

Who has seen what? 30/06/2016

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

Seen beside a local road – Roadkill ?

Coming back home from the Struie Road; a dead bird to one side. It was medium size-ish but colourfull yet whiteish under-neath.  Curious as to what it was, this is what I found to photograph:-
DSCF3211cFront

DSCF3215cBack View

What is it?
Why it’s a young Cuckoo.
The first I have ever seen in the hand as it were. Sadly dead probably hit by a car.
DSCF3214cBack View
DSCF3212cFront
What struck me though was the beautiful colouration of the bird, I knew they were brownish but not how lovely. Lets hope that some more fledged and are able to come and brighten up our spring next year.
Russell.
June 2015
DSCF3276cFeather

List of Speakers and Talk Titles

Monday, February 16th, 2015


Speakers who have given a talk to the Tain & District Field Club.

Tain and District Field Club

Speakers Topics
James Aitken Scottish Mountains and their Wildflowers
Sandy Anderson Birdwatching Offshore
Dr. Rebekka Artz Peatland Restoration
Cath Bain Tales of a Marine Mammal Medic
David Balharry Pine Martens
Dick Balharry Pine Martens and Wildcats
Brian and Barbara Ballinger Three Woods and a Pond
Allan Bantick Wildlife of Spey Valley
David Barbour Highland Moths
Tim Barton Island Life on South Georgia
Zul Battia Insh Marshes
Dave Battie Eastern Birchwods
Dr. Alan Bennell Fungi,
Plant Hunters
Stewart Birks St. Kilda Working Party
Brian Boag New Zealand Flatworms
Dr. William Bodles Montane Scrub
Dr. Alan Bowman Ticks
Roger Broad Fair Isle
Janet Bromham Highland Biodiversity
Hugh Brown Pine Martens,
Glenstrathfarrar
Duncan Bryden Integrated Land Use in Rothiemurchus
Gwen Bush Highland Flowers
David Butterfield Sahara Desert Top of List
Nigel Buxton Wildflowers in Outer Hebrides End of List
Glen Campbell SWT Northern Reserves
Neil Campbell Freshwater Fishes
Lois Canham Mink
Kenna Chisholm RSPB in Ross-shire
Tim Clifford Beinn Eighe
Julian Clokie Seaweeds
Ian Collier Highland Red Squirrels
Ray Collier Dragonflies
Jim Conroy Shetland Otters
Martin Cook Wildlife of Moray,
Crested Tits
Andrew Cooper Scotland’s Peat Bogs
Sandy and Brian Coppins Atlantic Hazel
Dr. Line Cordes Harbour Seals in Loch Fleet
Roger Cottis Highland Badgers
Colin Crooke Red Kites and Sea Eagles,
Ospreys and Peregrines
Andrew Currie Inner Hebrides
Skye
Mike Daniels Wildcats
Dr Tom Dargie Origin and Ecology of the Morrich More
Roy Dennis RSPB,
Birdwatching in Northeast Greenland and Spitzbergen,
Wildlife Adventures,
Restoring the Highland Ecosystem
Becks Denny Water Voles
Des Duggan Abernethy Forest Top of List
Peter Duncan Creag Meagaidh End of List
Bob Dunsmore Forestry and Climate Change,
Forestry and Conservation
Chris Eatough Woodland Restoration on Rum
Dr. Mary Elliott ESA’s in the Uists
Brian Etheridge Hen Harriers,
Kites
Ian Evans Wildflowers of Assynt
Dr. Peter Evans Dolphins in the Moray Firth
Donald Fisher Sutherland Geopark
Dr. Kathy Fletcher Ptarmigan
Simon Foster Studies of Coastal Waders
Dr. Tony Fox Greenland Whitefronted Geese
Mark Foxwell SWT Northern Reserves
Dr. Martin Gaywood Climate and the Highlands
Dr. Dave Genney Lichens
Diana Gilbert Highland Birchwoods
Alison Gill Whales and Dolphins in the Minch
Dr. Con Gillen Geological Evolution,
Geology of the Highlands
Dr. Mauvis Gore Basking Sharks
Martin Gorman Otters
Kenny Graham Corncrakes,
Justin Grant Sea Eagles,
Golden Eagles
Dr. Paul Griffiths SEPA’s Environmental Work
Rachel Harding-Hill Moray Firth Partnership Top of List
Dr. Dan Harries Lochalsh Flameshell Reefs End of List
Mike Harris Seabirds and Sandeels
Malcolm Harvey Highland Birds of Prey
Dr. David Hetherington Cairngorm National Park and Lynx Reintroduction
Raymond Hewson Mountain Hares
Tony Hinde Managing Woodlands for Wildlife
Kesiah Hobson Pine Marten Recovery
Dr. Peter Hollingsworth Willows
Dr. Felicity Huntingford Feeding Behaviour in Salmon Parr
David Jardine Birds in Colonsay
Simon Jones Beaver Reintroduction in Argyll
Terry Keating Blanket Bogs
Kenny Kortland RSPB in Ross-shire
Ian Langford Barn Owls
Colin Lesley Woodland Management for Birds
Sir John Lister-Kaye Nature’s Child
John Love Rum,
Sea Eagles,
Uist Machairs
Philip Lusby British Orchids
David Mardon Ben Lawers Alpine Plants
Tony Mainwood Storm Petrels,
Migrants on Foula
Birds of Nepal
Mike Marquis Crossbills
Katy Martin Merkinch LNR
Susan Masson Badgers
Sean Meikle World Tour
David Miller Beinn Eighe
John Miller Trees in the Highlands Top of List
Keith Miller John Muir Trust End of List
Pete Moore Insh Marshes
Stephen Moran Grasshoppers
Prof. Jenny Mordue Midges
Dr. Robert Moss Capercaillie
Mary Macdonald Botany
Dr. Murdo Macdonald Bees Ants and Wasps,
Lichen,
Ling and Lousewort,
Highland Bumblebees,
Anne Mackay Seals and Dolphins,
Alaskan Adventure
Sandy Maclennan Conservation in the Highlands Native Woods,
25 Years of Change In the Highlands
Lea Macnally Red Deer,
Golden Eagle,
Torridon
Finlay Macrae Caledonian Pine Forest
David McAllister Foula,
Summer Isles,
Galapagos
Derek McGinn Natural History Sound Recording
Neil McIntyre Wildlife’s Wildplaces
Simon McKelvie Alien Invaders
Maggie Nelson Taxidermy
Dr. Scott Newey Mountain Hares
Andrew Nolan Heather Moorland Ecology
David O’Brien Amphibians in Scotland Top of List
Eddie Orbell Highland Wildlife Park End of List
Dr. Chris Parsons Whales and Dolphins
John Parrott Aspen
Dr. Iain Patterson Crop Damage by Wild Geese
Dr Sandy Payne Merlins
Dr. Iain Pennie Spitzbergen
Dr. Nick Picozzi Hen Harriers
Peter Pitkin Mosses and Liverworts
Tom Prescott Highland Butterflies
Becky Priestly Red Squirrel Reintroduction
Polly Pullar Fauna Scotica
Donald Omand Landscapes and Antiquities of the Northern Isles
Stuart Rae Cairngorms
Bob Reid Sea Mammal Strandings
Elspeth Reid Geology in Easter Ross
Dr. Jane Reid Ringing Choughs and Shags
Murray Roberts Coral in Deep Water
Ben Ross Wildlife Crime
Norrie Russell Birds and Bogs of Forsinard
Alex Scott Wildlife Past and Present in Inchnadamph
Kirstin Scott Ecology of Peat Bogs,
Salt Marshes
Ro Scott Otters and Wildcats,
HBRG Mammal Atlas
Michael Scott Birds and Flowers of the Algarve
Sue Scott Marine Biology
Dr. John Shearer Salmon Smolt Farming Top of List
Adrian Shine Ecology of Loch Ness End of List
Bob and Betty Smith Dragonflies
Tilly Smith The Real Rudolph
Sarah Smyth Alien Invaders
Brian Staines Deer in the Highlands
Jenni Stockan Sawflies
Dr. Tim Stowe Corncrakes
Sheila Street Lichens
Bob Swann Bird Atlas,
Canna,
Wader Studies in The Moray Firth,
Goose Catching in Iceland
Dr. Susan Swift British Bats
Richard Sutcliffe Butterflies
Dr. Chris Sydes Effect of Global Warming on the Flora
and Fauna of the Highlands
Fraser Symonds Wildlife of South Africa,
Hawaii,
Peatbogs and Mudflats
Dr. Andy Taylor The Forgotten Kingdom – Fungi
Dr. Kenny Taylor Puffins,
Gulls on St. Kilda,
Cairngorms and Wildlife,
Beavers
Stewart Taylor Loch Garten
Valerie Thom Birds in Scotland
Patrick Thompson Farmland Waders Top of List
Dr. Paul Thompson Seals in the Moray Firth End of List
Dr. Peter Tilbrook Antarctica
Dr. Mel Tonkin Red Squirrels
Willie Towers Soil – the Forgotten Asset
Bobby Tulloch Shetland Wildlife
Alan Vittery Cephalonia Spring
Alan Watson-Featherstone Dundreggan Estate
Dr. Jeff Watson Wildlife of the Seychelles,
Golden Eagles
John Watt Highland Natural History Records
David Whitaker Northern Forest and Their Wildlife,
Highland Wildlife
Jonathan Willet Dragonflies
Andrea Williams Ospreys at Loch of the Lowes
Doug Willis Hedges, Verges and Dykes,
Natural History of the Black Isle
Hayley Wiswell Spiders
Prof. Steven Woodward Forest Fungi,
Why are our Trees Dying?
Peter Wortham Botany of the Highlands
Dr. Mark Young Pearl Mussels,
Butterflies and Moths
Anne Youngman Bats
Dick Youngson Deer Management in the Highlands
Paul Yoxon Otters Top of List
Please Note some speakers have given several talks to the Field Club with only a partial list given here.

This is the end of this list.

2015 – New Year Walk

Monday, January 12th, 2015

In fine New Year weather Tain Field Club members walked from Portmahomak to Tarbat Lighthouse along the west shore of the peninsula.

Strong sun – almost warming – between big snow showers seen over Sutherland and blowing in from the north set the scene overhead.  Long, clear, visibility helped  but soil conditions were about as wet as expected and did not impede progress too much.

Apart from enjoying the New Year from its third day there were three objectives TDFC members hoped to observe.

  • The carcass of a dead Sperm Whale
  • Sight of Iceland Gulls
  • Re-visiting the “dinosaur tracks” in the shoreline sandstone surface

All three were seen.  The whale was unmissable and a bit smelly.  The clean air of the strong wind reduced the feared smell of decay, though Herring and Black Backed Gulls walked over the whale’s surface hoping for some tasty morsel.

Though a keen watch had been kept for passing, or standing, Iceland Gulls it was not until reaching the shore near the Tarbatness Lighthouse that the birds gave us a confirmed sighting.  They were simply standing on some rocks and milled about among birds more ‘local’.

The animal tracks were seen, mostly, as David had a photo of the sandstone slabs to help with locating the correct one.  This shore has been subject to very energetic wave action and either that or the hand of man had removed a portion of the slab containing some of the footprints.  TDFC learned that David had pointed the Natural History Museum, London to this site.  It has been visited by Cambridge paleontologists who confirmed the tracks are of tetrapod origin and given the 380 – 410 million year old age of the rocks fits in with being among the five oldest examples of terrestrial animal activity anywhere.  As in Anywhere.  But surely this animal precedes the dinosaurs by no small margin.  The tracks slab has had a cast made and an analysis of the footfall pattern gives rise very clearly to two possible modes of tetrapod locomotion.

After completing the walk TDFC walkers were pleased to accept the invitation for hot tea and coffee, and cake!, from Mary.

New Year walks can be quite frigid affairs, but this day was bright, light, windy, not frosty, and comfortable to experience all the while seeing the Tarbat plants and animals at their annual nadir.

There are other comments on the TDFC Facebook page.  And, here are some photos below.

The Tarbat peninsula; the dead whale at the leftClick image to view

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Surfing Otter?

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

An otter has been photographed running into the waves on a beach on Sutherland’s far north coast. [See HERE]

Gavin Ward captured the image while having a picnic with his wife Pam at Torrisdale Bay, near Bettyhill, on Saturday.

Several surfers were out in the sea at the time.

Surfing Otter at Torrisdale BayClick image to view

Scotland's North Coast

Mrs Ward said: “I saw something running down the beach towards the sea. It was absolutely a surprise, and a brilliant one at that.”

Mr Ward managed to get some shots of the otter before it reached the water and disappeared.

Torrisdale Bay is a hotspot for UK surfers.

Whooper Swans near Fearn Aerodrome

Sunday, November 2nd, 2014

A huge build up of Whooper Swans (Cygnus cygnus) at the moment in the Loch Eye area. 2726 counted today. Around 2400 are on the Clay of Allan, along with a Black Swan and lots of geese. Another 130 down towards Kildary and 190 near Portmahomack. Thanks to Bob for the info.

Whooper Swans near Nigg, Nov 2014Click image to view

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Migdale Loch Autumn Field Trip – 2014

Saturday, October 18th, 2014

On Saturday (18th October) in warm autumn sunshine 12 TDFC members had a most enjoyable walk along Loch Migdale through Woodland Trust’s “Ledmore & Migdale” reserve.

Although this hasn’t been an autumn of spectacular colours, after a few days of sunshine and cool evenings many of the trees were beginning to show us a fine autumn display.

TDFC walk by Loch Migdale, October 18; photo RussellClick image to view

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We spent some time looking at fungi and galls although this stretched our knowledge to its limits and beyond! We greatly miss Philip Entwistle’s encyclopaedic knowledge of such things.

After three hours in the woods we returned for a barbecue lunch at the Torroy croft, recently refurbished by the Woodland Trust. Thanks to Gavin, Pam, Marion, Pat and Fay for stalwart work on the barbecue.

BBQ at Torroy Croft, in warm sun; photo GavinClick image to view

While we were at Torroy Jimmy caught a very late flying dragonfly. It was very faded and almost translucent so identification was difficult. Jonathan Willet identified it from photos as a very late flying female Black Darter (Sympetrum danae).

Dragonfly (Black Darter) caught by Jimmy at Torroy; photo DavidClick image to view

Thanks to all who made this a very enjoyable day.

Species List

Walk in Migdale Woods & Torroy      18/10/2014

NH 64 90
NH 65 90
NH 66 90

Species Common Name Grid Ref Count
Recorder ID
Fungi
Calocera viscosa Yellow Stagshorn NH 65120 90628 TDFC
Melampsorella sp. Pine Witches Broom gall NH 6637 9088 TDFC
Nectria cinnabarina Coral spot NH 6624 9085 TDFC
Cantharellus cibarius Chanterelle NH 6515 9060 TDFC
Candlesnuff type fungus NH 6577 9061 TDFC on birch
Amanita sp. Amanita-type NH 6586 9070 TDFC Possibly Tawny Grisette S.fulva
Amanita sp. Amanita-type NH 65120 90628 TDFC


Ferns
Blechnum spicant Hard Fern NH 65 90 TDFC
Polypodium vulgare Common Polypody NH 65 90 TDFC
Pteridium aquilinum Bracken NH 65 90 TDFC


Flowering Plants
Juniperus communis Juniper NH 6665 9083 TDFC
Bellis perennis Daisy NH 66 90 TDFC
Betula pubescens Downy Birch NH 66 90 TDFC
Calluna vulgaris Heather NH 66 90 TDFC
Hedera helix Ivy NH 66 90 TDFC
Ulex europaeus Gorse NH 66 90 TDFC
Vaccinium myrtillus Blaeberry NH 66 90 TDFC
Succisa pratensis Devil’s-bit Scabious NH 65 90 TDFC


Invertebrates
Vespula vulgaris Common wasp 2 JMcK
Epirrita Sp. November, Pale November or Autumnal Moth 2 JMcK Photo to be checked
Oligotrophus juniperinus Junirer Tulip Gall Fly NH 6665 9083
Phytomyza ilicis Holly Leaf Gall Fly NH 6600 9076
Geotrupes stercorarius Dor Beetle NH 653 906

Dragonflies & Damselflies
Sympetrum danae Black Darter NH 667 908 TDFC Jonathan Willet (record sent to BDS)


Vertebrates

Birds No. Breed
Buteo buteo Buzzard NH 65 90 1 TDFC
Buteo buteo Buzzard NH 66 90 1 TDFC
Aegithalos caudatus Long-tailed Tit NH 66 90 TDFC
Troglodytes troglodytes Wren NH 66 90 TDFC
Erithacus rubecula Robin NH 65 90 TDFC
Erithacus rubecula Robin NH 66 90 TDFC
Turdus merula Blackbird NH 66 90 TDFC
Turdus pilaris Fieldfare NH 66 90 TDFC
Turdus viscivorus Mistle Thrush NH 66 90 TDFC
Regulus regulus Goldcrest NH 66 90 TDFC
Parus ater Coal Tit NH 65 90 TDFC
Parus caeruleus Blue Tit NH 65 90 TDFC
Pyrrhula pyrrhula Bullfinch NH 66 90 TDFC

Mammals No.
Cervus elaphus Red Deer NH 65 90 RW, MCT, PO Roaring on S side of loch