Thursday 30 September 2010

Lapland Buntings

There have been a number of sightings of Lapland buntings on Islay in September.  They are not the world's easiest birds to identify.  I saw what i thought were a group of three or possibly four at Ballinaby a few days ago in very poor light and they flew off calling before disappearing down onto some rough pasture.  I was not familiar with the call - so found this very useful site with audio files for confirmation...

Photo - Dave Smith


Coccinella septempunctata - The Gardener's Best Friend

I learnt today that your average 7 spot ladybird (Coccinella septempunctata) eats 5,000 aphids during the course of its year-long life.  That's a lot...


New moth

Because of the poor weather, my moth trapping has been at a standstill through most of September, but last night was, at last, fine and dry, so out went the trap to garner a catch of just eight moths. However, among the eight was one I hadn't caught before, the Green-brindled Crescent Allophyes oxyacanthae. It appears to be a new species for the island, though some further checking is needed on that point and I'll update this in a day or two. It is not an unexpected species to catch here, because its range extends through much of Scotland, but as it only flies late in the year, September to November, this may explain why no-one has caught it before, as most visiting moth-trappers come here in the summer.


Later. Yes, it has been confirmed as a Green-brindled Crescent and therefore a new species for Islay. Thanks to Danny Arnold for confirming this.

Wednesday 29 September 2010

White-legged Snake Millipede (Tachypodoiulus niger)

Found this Millipede while I was out feeding the chickens this morning.  There are apparently around 60 species of Millipedes in Britain, with 43 in Scotland (plus a couple which can only survive in glass houses). I think this is probably the white-legged snake millipede Tachypodoiulus niger, which is very common, but millipedes are difficult to identify without a university degreee in millipede ID, a handy electron microscope and an interest in the close examination of the anus areas of Diplopodae.  I have none of those things.


'Eating the Wildlife' - tonight at the Field Centre

Just a reminder that it is the September talk this evening at the INHT Field Centre.  Carl Reavey will be looking at Islay's first human settlers and the animals and plants they may have been sharing their world with -and eating for dinner!

Entitled  'Eating the Wildlife' the illustrated talk will also feature a short presentation of Mesolithic flint tools found on Islay by local archaeology enthusiast Susan Campbell.

Tuesday 28 September 2010

INHT Membership Subscriptions

We are now able to collect membership subscriptions on-line, using PayPal.  This is an ultra-secure system that is familiar to many, particularly those of us who regularly use Ebay.
We hope that this new method will be convenient both for our existing membership and those of you who may wish to join us.  If you would prefer not to pay on-line then we will of course also continue to accept payment in which ever way you have previously chosen.
Best Regards
Carl Reavey

Wildlife Photography Competition - Vanessa Fuery

Many thanks to Vanessa for this picture of a Buzzard out hunting near Black Rock.

Scottish Invertebrate Species Checklists Published

Buglife - The Invertebrate Conservation Trust - has published the first 15 Scottish Invertebrate Species Knowledge Dossiers. These documents provide summaries of existing information for groups of invertebrates known to occur in Scotland.

'The Handbook of British Birds' - donated by Jane Dawson

Jane Dawson has also kindly donated 'The Handbook of British Birds' a pioneering bird guide by H.F. Witherby, Rev. F.C.R. Jourdain, Norman F. Ticehurst and Bernard W. Tucker, published in five volumes by H. F. & G. Witherby between 1938-1941.

The Handbook, as it was often cited, was itself a much enlarged and revised version of H.F. Witherby's Practical Handbook of British Birds (published between 1919 and 1924 as two volumes in three parts).
Some of the plates were by Marinus Adrianus Koekkoek and were licensed after they were painted for Ornithologia Neerlandica, de vogels van Nederland by Eduard Daniel van Oort (published 1922-1935).

It was this volume of work that was to eventually evolve into the modern standard reference work 'The Birds of the Western Palearctic' for which Malcolm Ogilvie was one of the editorial team for the first six volumes.

Once again, we are very grateful to Jane for this generous donation, a very significant addition to the Trust library.

Trust receives gift of books from Jane Dawson

Jane Dawson, who founded the INHT in 1984 in memory of her late husband Rod Dawson, has kindly donated a number of very beautiful books to the Trust library.

Included among these are a complete set (twelve volumes) of "Birds of the British Isles"  by David A. Bannerman illustrated by George F Lodge

These were first published in 1958 by Oliver & Boyd of Edinburgh.

The books were an important addition to the ornithological lexicon in their time.  The reproduction of the paintings of George Lodge are very high quality. 

Also included in the gift is a complete set of the beautifully illustrated "Waterfowl of the World" by Jean Delacours illustrated by Sir Peter Scott
Jean Thodore Delacour (1890 - 1985) was an American ornithologist of French origin. He was renowned for not only discovering but also rearing some of the rarest birds in the world. One of the birds he discovered was the Imperial Pheasant, later found to be a hybrid between the Vietnamese Pheasant and the Silver Pheasant.

Delacour was born in Paris into a wealthy family and grew up on the family estate in Picardy where he became interested in aviculture and established a private zoo. He attended good schools and achieved a doctorate in biology from the Universit Lille Nord de France. He served in the French Army during the First World War, a war which devastated the family estate, as well as killing his only surviving brother. Moving to Chateau Clres in Normandy, he created a second zoo, eventually donating it to the Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle in 1967. He went on numerous scientific expeditions to Indochina, particularly Vietnam, as well as to Venezuela, the Guianas and Madagascar.

During the Second World War Delacour lived in the USA, working as a technical adviser at the Bronx Zoo as well as on avian systematics at the American Museum of Natural History. In 1952 he became director of the Los Angeles County Museum of History, Science and Art, retiring in 1960. Thereafter he divided his time seasonally, spending summer at his estate at Clres in France, and wintering in the United States, mainly in Los Angeles.

The volumes have been illustrated by Sir Peter Markham Scott (1909 1989) British ornithologist, conservationist, painter, naval officer and sportsman. He was one of the founders of the World Wide Fund for Nature (formerly called the World Wildlife Fund), and designed its panda logo. His pioneering work in conservation also contributed greatly to the shift in policy of the International Whaling Commission and signing of the Antarctic Treaty. The latter inspired by his visit to his father's base on Ross Island in Antarctica.

Jane has also donated a set of one of the most famous bird books of all time, being "The Birds of the British Isles and their Eggs" by T A Coward.  Originally published in 1920 the three volumes are illustrated by Archibald Thorburn and probably did more than any other book published to popularise the study of birds in the early part of the 20th century.

Thorburn's paintings were later used to illustrate the Observers Book of British Birds

The Trust has an important collection of reference works and periodicals in its library and we are absolutely delighted to have received this latest gift from Jane.

Monday 27 September 2010

September sunshine...

I don't need to tell any of you on Islay what a brilliant day it was on Sunday, the island was looking glorious in the late September sunshine. A great day for raptor spotting - out and about around Loch Gorm and Gruinart looking for the newly arrived Barnacle Geese I saw 3 Peregrine Falcons, 4 Buzzards, 2 Hen Harriers and a Sparrowhawk.

The white goose that Ian mentions on the mighty Islay Birds blog as being on the wee loch next to Loch Gorm is pictured below, I don't know if it's some kind of hybrid or an albino, but either way I don't recognise it! It seemed to be a fair bit larger than the Greylags it was swimming around with.

A quiet day for caterpillars (isn't every day?) though I did see what I think is a fully grown Fox Moth caterpillar crossing the road at no great speed near Saligo, kindly giving a grub/larvae of some description a lift...

Friday 24 September 2010

Come a little bit closer...

Last night was the Harvest Moon, which would have been a time of great significance to our predecessors but for many people now only registers as the title of that accoustic album Neil Young did in the 90's that wasn't as good as Harvest.

The Harvest Moon (as above. Not my picture!) is the name given to the nearest full moon to the Autumn Equinox, which is where the sun rises due east and sets due west in the Northern Hemisphere. Both these events occured on the same day yesterday, for the first time since 1991. It can be one of the great sights for night sky-watchers, as the moon often appears closer than normal to the earth and can have a reddish hue in early evening, due to the lower than usual angle it rises at in the evening sky. Once the cloud cleared away later last night the moon was dazzlingly bright, especially in Bruichladdich where Loch Indaal reflected much of the light on. Farmers would have used these extra hours of light to continue bringing in the harvest. I shudder to think what our local farmers use the extra light for now!

It will be interesting to see if any geese took advantage of the good Northerly wind and the bright light...

Thursday 23 September 2010

The INHT September talk! - Wednesday 29th Sep

This month's talk at the Natural History Centre is from our very own Carl Reavey. Carl will be taking a night off from his prolific blogging to talk to us about Eating The Wildlife - A look at what may have been on the menu for Islay's first settlers.

Carl's long-promised talk will look at the kinds of food and animals that our ancestors would have been hunting and gathering here on Islay and the surrounding islands as far back as the Mesolithic era, which I think is when this talk was first proposed. I've had a sneak preview and can promise a bit of everything, some  archaeology, paleontology, anthropology and geography accompanied by some of Carl's terrific photos.

The talk will take place at 7:30pm on Wednesday 29th September at the Natural History Centre in Port Charlotte, and INHT members continue to get free admission. There's a small entrance charge for non-members, but refreshments are included. Hope to see you all there.

Wildlife Photography Competition

Here's another couple of photos from George Robertson, the judge of our 2010 Wildlife Photography Competition. Many thanks to him. We've been really pleased by the response to the competition, a whole host of excellent images have found their way to us via post, e-mail and in person at the Natural History Centre. The closing date is 29th October, so still plenty of time to get your entries in!

Sunday 19 September 2010


This is a BIG one!
Photo by Paul Howells, off south-west Wales

Fiona MacGillivray saw one of these amazing fish in the Sound of Islay yesterday. She could only see the dorsal fin sticking out of the water, but this is a sufficient identification character.  They have an almost circular body as they seem to have forgotten to grow a tail when they evolved. Fiona couldn't say how large the one she saw was, but the very largest can grow to about 3 metres across and weigh hundreds of kilos! They are regular in the waters round Cornwall, but get scarcer as you come north. The really huge ones are in warmer waters, but specimens up to 1.5–2 m across and weighing up to 50 kg have been reported from Cornwall and south-west Wales. It was too far away for her to photograph, but here are a few images from the internet. They often seem to swim on their sides, as in the middle photo, with the dorsal fin flopping about.

Saturday 18 September 2010

Foam at Saligo

Further to Malcolm's earlier post about naturally occuring foam on beaches, I took this photo of a foam-filled gully at Saligo in March 2007.

Goose Barnacles on a Glass Bottle - George Robertson

Many thanks to George for this shot of an encrusted bottle on the beach.

Friday 17 September 2010

Combining at Octomore

The combining of the barley has gone reasonably well.  It was rained off last night, but somehow they managed to miss the showers today - there was torrential rain at Uiskentuie this morning while they were combining at Octomore in glorious sunshine.  The rain and wind of the past week has resulted in some losses of yeild - but it could have been a lot worse.

There were clouds of birds to accompany the men and machinery.  Around a hundred pure Rock Doves and a large flock of Starlings were perhaps the most spectacular, but there were uncountable numbers of Meadow pipits and Skylarks rooting about in the straw - I watched them diving right into the piles, presumably to catch insects.  About fifty Grey-lags went overhead at one point, probably sussing out their evening meal, and there were goodness knows how many Swallows hawking low over the stubble.


Wildlife Photography Competition - Mark and Sally Johnson

This shot of a Turnstone is one of a number of lovely entries to the competition from Mark and Sally.

Grey-Lag Geese (Anser anser)

Numbers of Grey-lags breeding appear to have been high this year, and the population is now being boosted by the arrival of birds from other sites, though I am not sure it is known exactly where these late summer birds come from.  Anecdotal evidence from personal experiences on yachts off the west coast would suggest that there are Grey-lags nesting on most of the small islands, even tiny skerries often have a pair.

These shots were taken yesterday evening as flocks flew in to feed on grain stubbles at Octomore.

Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia)

This Rowan is pictured just off the Kilchoman road, looking over Loch Gorm topwards Carnduncan.

Rowan is a fast-growing tree, characterised by its brilliant red berries at the end of summer.  It grows at a higher altitude than any other tree in the country and occurs at elevations of almost 1,000 metres in parts of the Highlands when it is frequently stunted in form.

In Scotland today, rowans are often found growing in inaccessible locations, such as cliffs, steep stream-sides and on top of large boulders. However, these are not the preferred locations for the species, but rather are the only places where it has been able to grow out of reach of herbivores such as red deer (Cervus elaphus) and sheep.
Leaves are up to 20 cm. in length, and are comprised of 9-15 leaflets, which are serrated with small teeth.

Rowan is a deciduous tree, with the new leaves appearing in April, and they turn a bright orange-red colour in autumn before being shed.
The flowers blossom after the leaves have appeared, usually in May or early June, and are creamy-white in colour. Individual flowers are about 1 cm. in diameter and they grow in dense clusters or corymbs, each containing up to 250 flowers, and measuring 8-15 cm. across. The strong, sweet scent attracts pollinating insects, including many species of flies, bees and beetles.

Thursday 16 September 2010

Beachwatch - This Weekend

What is Beachwatch?

The MCS Adopt-a-Beach and MCS Beachwatch are coastal environmental initiatives organised by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS), involving local individuals, groups and communities in caring for their coastal environment. The MCS Beachwatch project is now in its 18th year with thousands of volunteers taking part every year, making Beachwatch the most influential fight against marine litter in the UK.

The annual MCS Beachwatch Big Weekend event takes place on the 3rd weekend of September every year and the data collected is used for the annual MCS Beachwatch report.

MCS Adopt-a-Beach extends the monitoring to 4 times a year, one of which can be the Beachwatch Big Weekend event.

Beachwatch Big Weekend 2010 is on the 18th and 19th September.

The Islay event is organised by Re-JIG - contact Polly on 810880

Scottish Invertebrate Habitat Management Advice Documents

The first four Scottish Invertebrate Habitat Management Advice Documents have been published online, and are a major step towards implementing the Strategy for Scottish Invertebrate Conservation. The first four cover Cereal Field Margins, Coastal Vegetated Shingle, Blanket Bogs and Lowland Raised Bogs.

The first four advice documents can be downloaded here:

And you can download the Strategy for Scottish Invertebrate Conservation here:

The Scottish Invertebrate Habitat Management Advice Documents provide management advice for landowners and managers, as well as details of agricultural grants and subsidies that may be available to help support this work, such as SRDP.

Additional Scottish Invertebrate Habitat Management Advice Documents will be published online as they are completed.

National Amphibian and Reptile Recording Scheme

NARRS is a national wildlife-monitoring project to measure trends in the conservation status of all UK species of frog, toad, newt, lizard, snake, turtle and terrapin.

It will rely upon the efforts of many trained volunteers, but also the help of the general public taking part in recording campaigns.

NARRS is currently being developed by The Herpetological Conservation Trust (the HCT) in partnership with many other organisations.

We aim to implement national roll-out of the surveys and monitoring programmes in 2007.

Voluntary surveyors will be recruited from the Amphibian and Reptile Groups of the UK, but also from other networks and organisations. Volunteers will be trained in field recording techniques and protocols, and will be given sites to survey. These will include a sample of randomly selected sites, but probably also local authority and wildlife trust nature reserves.

People will also be able to get involved in other ways by contributing to other mass participation campaigns that will be launched from time to time; for example, recording amphibians and reptiles in their gardens and allotments, and through school and community projects.
NARRS aims to raise awareness and appreciation of amphibians and reptiles, by providing education and memorable experiences for all who take part. In turn, we hope that this will benefit the conservation of amphibians, reptiles, and their habitats

Wednesday 15 September 2010

Peregrine Falcons

I have seen three Peregrines recently, the first was at Carn Farm on the Rhinns, just south of Port Charlotte. A typical sighting, it was hanging in the air above the road, and then lazily swung away over the hill, finally coming to rest on a rocky outcrop.  Then a couple of days later I had stopped to check the flocks of duck and waders which congregate on the rock just offshore from the Gaelic College in Loch Indaal.  All was calm for a few minutes, then there was a sudden explosion and they all headed off.  It was obviously a raptor, and sure enough, a Peregrine landed on the rock itself, in full sunshine.  It had killed a small bird and after a minute or so of looking around to check that the coast was clear, it started to pluck and eat it.  I could not tell what the hapless victim was - probably a small wader such as a Ringed plover.  I watched it scatter feathers on the breeze for quite a while, and eventually I left, while it was still eating.
Earlier today I saw another bird, flying low over the Uiskentuie Strand, beating hard into the wind.  The wind was so strong that it wasn't making much headway, and as I had the wind behind me, it was soon out of sight.

Photo: Mary Malec

High winds

We have had very high winds on Islay for the third day in succession.  Gusts last night and this morning have been more than 50mph.  We have Swallows and House martins massing under the sycamores at Lorgba, hoovering up any midges that dare to brave the wind.

Oystercatcher - George Robertson

Thanks to George for this unusual portrait of an Oystercatcher

Tuesday 14 September 2010

Water Mint - (Mentha aquatica)

Growing near Crosshouses at the top of Loch Indaal.

Monday 13 September 2010

The Portnahaven run

Coming back from Portnahaven this evening after a game of badminton was an action packed journey on the wildlife front.  First out of the hedgerows were a couple of Brown rats who will have been having a hard time today because it has been raining heavily.  This seems to mean more rats out in the open - presumably because their burrows become flooded.
Hot on the heels of the rats were a group of Red deer hinds with at least one well-grown calf who were in their usual place just south of An Gleann.  Quite what it is that attracts them to the road is not clear - but they seem to like trotting about on the tarmac and then elegantly vaulting the hedge when they feel it is necessary.  They are very tolerant of cars.
The heavy rain meant that there were good numbers of frogs crossing the road as well - mostly immature individuals.  Presumably they simply get lost while wandering through the grass and suddenly find themselves on this large sterile black thing.  Once on it, I guess it is simply a lottery as to whether they are able to get off it again before getting squashed.  One tries to avoid as many as one can, but cars are brutal things if you are a frog.
We saw a momentary Barn owl too, again close to An Gleann, which is usually the busiest location.  It was sitting on a fence post, but did not stay, as they sometimes do, instead flying off across the field and quickly out of sight as we drew closer.  A Hedgehog competed the party.

Common Pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pipistrellus) or Soprano Pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pygmaeus)

There was a tiny Pipistrelle flying around the streetlights and into the sycamores this evening when I came back from Portnahaven.  They are only fairly common here in Port Charlotte.  We put a bat box up in the lodgepole pines in the garden two or three years ago to see if we could attract them, but there has never been any of the tell-tale droppings that would let us know that they are taking advantage of our hospitality.

There are two species of Pipistrelle, both of which I understand occur on Islay, the Common Pip and the Soprano Pip, which are distiguished through the frequencies at which they use echolocation, being 45khz and 55khz respectively.  Both of these frequencies are well out of the range of human adult hearing which usually rolls off at less than 20khz (unless you have had a misspent youth mixing pop groups in which case you will be lucky if you can hear above around 12khz!).

One of the 'must buy' items for the INHT prior to next year has to be a bat detector.  There is also a larger bat which can be seen around Lorgba occasionally, almost certainly a Long-eared, but it would be great to get confirmation.

Bats are also one of the many groups (i.e. virtually everything except birds) that are massively under-recorded on Islay - so if there is someone out there who fancies becoming Batman (or Batwoman), then please get in touch.

Photo - Hugh Clark - The Bat Conservation Trust

Sunday 12 September 2010

Kingfisher on the Sorn - image Fritz Haen

Mark from Octomore, who is working as a keeper on Islay Estates, reports that he has seen a Kingfisher on the River Sorn on two occasions during the past month.

Barley for Bruichladdich

Photo - George Robertson

It would be hard not to have noticed that much more barley has been grown on Islay during the past two summers - largely because Bruichladdich have created a market for it.  They wish to make as much whisky as possible using barley that is grown on the island.  Growing barley for distilling is quite a high-risk business, but things have actually gone rather well so far, and the hope is that this year the yield from Islay should top a thousand  tons. 
The harvested grain is being shipped to a new drying and storage facility at Octofad, and inevitably this has led to small spillages en-route, which have in turn led to increased numbers of birds, particularly House sparrows feeding on the roads.  The entrance to Octofad has a seriously impressive flock at the moment!!

Thursday 9 September 2010

James and Eleanor are starting to paddle tomorrow

INHT Management Committee member James How and his daughter Eleanor are starting their trip across Scotland tomorrow - in an inflatable kayak.  They will be setting out to paddle the length of the Caledonian Canal from Fort William to Inverness - full details are on their blog.

Bruichladdich Distillery have kindly donated twelve special kayaking bottles, eleven of which have been snapped up by sponsors, but bottle number 1 is to be auctioned by sealed bid.  The bottle is on display at Debbie's Mini-market in Bruichladdich - so please consider putting in an offer - this is of course a unique opportunity.

The two charities chosen by Eleanor for support are the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and Marie Curie Cancer Care

Please go to

For details of how to bid, sponsorship details, and news on how the trip is going!!

'Scotland’s seabird numbers stabilising' - says SNH

A new report by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) reveals that Scotland’s seabird numbers appear to be levelling off, after a steady period of decline since 2000.

Between 1986 and 2009, the number of seabirds in Scotland has fluctuated, but declined overall by 28 percent. Now, a recent study confirms that overall numbers may have stabilised since 2007.

The decrease was likely due to food shortages, weather conditions and predation by non-native species such as brown rats and mink. A likely major cause was a drop in the number of small fish, such as sandeels, which are an important food source for many seabirds. These fish are probably being affected by rising sea temperatures because of climate change, as well as other factors.

A range of measures has been put in place to help combat pressures on the seabirds. Voluntary reduction in sandeel fisheries means that very little if any sandeel fishing now takes place within foraging range of kittiwakes, a species which, in recent years, has seen a particularly sharp drop in numbers. Intensive trapping and removal of non-native predators, such as the brown rat and the American mink, has also been carried out on various parts of the Scottish coastline and islands and is now starting to show some benefits, with terns recolonising some areas.

The Scottish Government’s recent Marine Bill also includes measures to improve marine nature conservation to safeguard and protect Scotland’s unique habitats.

Andy Douse, SNH ornithologist, said:  “The apparent halt of the decline since 2007 is encouraging. This may be an early sign that the various measures, and a lot of effort from many different people and groups across Scotland, have made a difference to seabird populations which are possibly beginning to stabilise. However, it is too early to say for sure that seabird numbers have stopped declining. Some sites in Scotland, particularly in the Northern Isles and some east coast colonies, have continued to decline. The data from the next few years will help us to better understand the changes.

“Thanks to the huge effort from volunteers and professionals, we are now able to monitor seabird numbers much more effectively than in the past, and respond quickly when action is needed.”

Scotland’s seabirds are internationally important with around four million breeding seabirds of 24 species. The recent drop in numbers follows two decades of occasional years of poor breeding – but poor years have happened more often and with more severity since 2000.

Wildlife Photography Competition - Jan Walmsley

Thanks to Jan for sending us this picture of a Moon Jellyfish (Aurelia aurita)


Residents of Argyll and Bute are being urged to give their views on the latest draft of the area’s Local Biodiversity Action Plan (LBAP), which has already delivered many benefits in protecting and enhancing local habitats and species.

The plan was originally launched in 2001. This is its first review, and the Argyll and Bute Local Biodiversity Partnership hopes it will result in agreement on a series of far-reaching conservation activities over the next few years.

The partnership has already been working with RPS Consultants in reviewing the current plan. Now the general public is being given the chance to have their say on what is planned over the next four years.

The consultation focuses on threatened habitats and species through adopting the nationally-accepted ‘ecosystem’ approach as a means of ensuring cohesive conservation activities.

There are six work programmes under the scheme - Freshwater and Wetland, Marine and Coastal, Lowland and Farmland, Woodland, Upland and the Built Environment . Each programme contains a number of habitats and associated species for which projects will be developed in a bid to ensure their sustainability.

The consultation will concentrate on exploring these programmes, and how best to deliver them.

Councillor Bruce Marshall, Chair of the Argyll and Bute Local Biodiversity Partnership, said: “As this is International Year of Biodiversity, it is fortunate that we are carrying out a review of the Argyll and Bute Local Biodiversity Action Plan and publishing a new set of actions to be delivered over the next four years.
“It is essential for the success of the latest plan that we encourage people to comment on our new approach to delivering biodiversity benefits. We are very fortunate in Argyll and Bute to have the accolade of having some of the best examples of biodiversity in Britain, and I urge people to become part of this process.”

The LBAP has already involved many partners, and has motivated a significant number of local communities across the area to take up the challenge of the Community Action for Biodiversity initiatives.

Information events served to raise awareness as well as promote the integration of biodiversity into many land, freshwater and marine and coastal management activities.

The plan has also influenced agricultural environment schemes, river basin and catchment management plans, protected marine and coastal habitats and species and encouraged people to be more proactive in their community.

The proposed work programme takes account of the potential impacts of climate change and our ever-changing economy.

The partnership has stressed that the effort community groups and individuals put in now will reap great benefits in ensuring that what is important to Argyll and Bute is protected and enhanced for the future.

The consultation period runs from 20 September 2010 to 29 October 2010 and can be viewed by following the link at
Comments can also be sent to Simon Zisman at RPS, 7 Clairmont Gardens, Glasgow G3 7LW or at

The Argyll and Bute Local Biodiversity Partnership was established in 1997, with the first tranche of the LBAP launched in 2001. The partnership has thirty members.

Wildlife photography competition - Amy Hilton

Thanks very much to Amy for this lovely entry to our competition - a classic view of the Paps of Jura taken from across the Sound at Bunnahabhain

Adder (Vipera berus)

Tony Cowan sent us this picture of an adder found upside down and dead on the road just north of Claddach at the end of August. Nigel Hand from Herefordshire Nature Trust's Amphibian and Reptile team was able to identify it for us and thinks it is most likely to be a female, due to the thickness of the body and short tail from vent to tip. Although it's a sad sight, it's a rare chance for most of us to get a glimpse at the underside of an adder, and it's interesting to see the contrast in markings and scale patterns between the topside and underside. We are far more used to seeing adders as they appear below, in one of Gordon Yates's photographs...

Wednesday 8 September 2010


We received these pictures of caterpillars found at various points around the island from Mary-Ann Featherstone, following her recent visit. I think the first two are Fox Moth caterpillars in their various stages, but I'm not sure of the third, which was found at Loch Gorm. Any suggestions?