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Lots of news in today's [email protected] (1 Viewer)

El Annie

Conservation is the caper’s only hope
A multi-million-pound programme to save Scotland’s dwindling population of capercaillie has been launched in Badenoch and Strathspey. Delegates from Scotland and around 11 European countries met at the Coylumbridge Hotel for a two-day conference to discuss methods of saving the beleaguered bird as part of the initiative. A recent survey by the RSPB and Scottish Natural Heritage showed that numbers of the capers have dropped to around 1,000 in Scotland. The capercaillie is the most rapidly declining bird species in Britain. Poor breeding success, in part linked to changes in spring weather affecting food quality for caper hens, is a major reason for the decline.
More information - Strathspey and Badenoch Herald

Early risers catch the bird at reserve
Capercaillie have been putting in quite a show at the RSPB’s Loch Garten reserve by Boat of Garten. As well as this year’s unfolding osprey saga, the early morning caper-watch has started, too. The centre is currently open daily from 5.30am to 8am until May 20 for capercaillie viewing and there have already been a flurry of activity despite it still being early days. Loch Garten site manager Richard Thaxton said: “On Sunday early risers were treated to simply stunning views of two female capercaillie in the ospreys’ nest and a male capercaillie perched in the immediately adjacent tree, bringing visitors quite literally face to face with these birds.”
More information - Strathspey and Badenoch Herald

Twitchers delighted at return of an old friend
Olive the osprey has returned to her home at Loch Garten for the tenth successive year and is now waiting for a suitor. RSPB staff spotted an osprey at 8.57am on Sunday spiralling directly down towards the Loch Garten nest by Boat of Garten. Other ospreys usually cautiously circle the nest area a few times before approaching but the new arrival headed straight for the nest and started to get ready for the breeding season. Staff were able to compare the osprey with footage of Olive from last year to confirm her identity.
More information - Strathspey and Badenoch Herald

Undercover hedgehogs defy execution squads
The doomed hedgehogs of the Western Isles appeared to be putting up a valiant fight last night after only four of their number were lost to a team of executioners. With an estimated 4,996 still at liberty, it could be many years before Scottish Natural Heritage finally despatches the last remaining mammal. So far, conditions have been good for the hedgehogs - on the first night of the cull, which began on North Uist, the weather was so bad the animals sensibly opted to stay under cover rather than venture out into the cold and wet. Yesterday, as the weather warmed, undercover troops from the Uist Hedgehog Rescue - who are leading the opposition to the cull - saved 31 from certain death.
More information -

Minister grants landfill extension on site of rare species
A decision taken by the Minister for Social Justice, Margaret Curran, to extend an existing landfill site looks almost certain to consign the bog bush cricket to Scotland’s wildlife dustbin, the Scottish Wildlife Trust (SWT) stated today (8 April 2003). The granting of planning permission for an extension to the landfill site at Aucheninnes Moss, near Dalbeattie, has come in the wake of representation from Dumfries & Galloway Council and the site owners, Shanks plc. It raises the real possibility that the only Scottish outpost of the bog bush cricket could be totally wiped out.
More information - Scottish Wildlife Trust

Farmers threaten to kill badgers over TB
Farmers’ leaders say their members are likely to break the law to kill badgers in areas where bovine tuberculosis is rife after MPs refused to support an emergency cull to control spread of the disease. Jan Rowe, vice-chairman of the National Farmers’ Union animal welfare committee, said that he did not condone such action but added: “It is probably inevitable, given no sensible action is being taken to prevent the disease.” He said that many farmers would be frustrated and upset by the attitude of MPs. A parliamentary committee told farmers that they should do more to protect their cattle from the disease by improving standards of care for the animals.
More information -

Sheep enlisted to protect flower
A "flying flock" of sheep has been enlisted to help protect one of Scotland's native wild flowers. Conservation charity the Scottish Wildlife Trust (SWT) will send the sheep out to pasture at Hermand Birchwood nature reserve in West Lothian in an attempt to protect and nurture the Scottish Primrose (Primula Scotica). The organisation owns a "flying flock" of 110 Shetland sheep in Fife, so called because they are moved around six nature reserves in the area. SWT's senior conservation manager for the south of Scotland, Alan Anderson, said he hoped the sheep, which were first used on Orkney 10 years ago, would go out to graze in September.
More information -
Scottish Wildlife Trust

Slow start for swallows
Despite the glorious weather in Britain and Ireland over the last couple of week, cool and damp weather further south in Europe is hampering migration. According to the BTO’s Migration Watch, the breeding season for Swallows has already been shortened by two weeks. Birdwatchers throughout Britain and Ireland are reporting their sightings of spring migrants to the Migration Watch website and it appears that Swallows are arriving in much smaller numbers this spring, compared to the same time last year (Fig 1.). It may be that poor weather further south is slowing up their journey and that they will arrive with a rush when the weather improves – let’s hope so.
More information - BTO

Wetland plans are given boost
A bid to recreate a major wetland landscape near Huntingdon is to be given a £40,000 boost by the Environment Agency. The money will be used to fund research into the management of water in the project area. Paul Woodcock, regional director of the Environment Agency, is to present the cash to Nick Hammond, director of the Wildlife Trust, for the Great Fen Project, on Thursday. This project will restore more than 7,400 acres north of Huntingdon to its former wetland glory and link Holme Fen and Woodwalton Fen, two of the only remaining fragments of the area's natural fenland heritage, to create the site.
More information - Cambridge News





Well-known member
Quite a selection of mixed news there Annie, good and bad. Although I saw my first swallow of this Spring on Tuesday (8th) I still havn't seen any Sand Martins which are usually here by the last week in March, 2 years ago I had my first on the 18th March. A couple of years ago I read a report which put a lot of the blame on Capercaillie decline on Deer fencing.

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