• Missed opportunities for wildlife: the Scottish Government’s Forestry Strategy

    Anne McCall shares RSPB Scotland's recommendations to the Scottish Government for a stronger Forestry Strategy
    • 27 Nov 2018
  • On the Islands

    Some reflections on the Islands Act and how it will be important to our wildlife and environment.

    On the Islands

    On the 6th July 2018, the first ever Scottish legislation focused exclusively on islands entered the statutes. This is a significant milestone - and a major achievement - for island communities across Scottish archipelagos. It signals a refinement of political representation, and further devolution of powers…

    • 15 Oct 2018
  • Celebrating Scottish nature champions

    Anne McCall takes a look over our Ntaure of Scotland Awards which began in 2012. 

    Celebrating Scottish nature champions

    One of the highlights of my job is getting to sit down and read through all the applications we receive for the Nature of Scotland Awards each year – something I had to do fairly recently in preparation for our judging panel discussions on 31 July. Each year it becomes a bigger job, as we get more and…

    • 31 Jul 2018
  • Scotland's future rural policy

    Anne McCall takes us through RSPB Scotland's vision for future rural policy in Scotland and how you can have your say on it through a Government consultation.

    Scotland's future rural policy


    The debate around the future of farming and rural policy in Scotland post Brexit has been well underway for some time now. You can find RSPB Scotland’s views here in a paper co-authored with our conservation partners…

    • 11 Jul 2018
  • Working together for nature’s recovery

    “EU institutions have played a pivotal role over the past forty years in ensuring that our environment laws have been enforced, and giving a voice to citizens and civil society like ourselves who speak up for nature. The loss of EU oversight will result in gaps in our environmental protections and threaten Scotland’s unique and special natural heritage. This issue must be addressed. That’s why we have been working with…

    • 29 Mar 2018
  • Scotland’s Forestry Bill

    Anne McCall takes a look at what’s being proposed in the ‘Forestry Bill’ currently working its way through the Scottish Parliament.

    Scotland’s Forestry Bill


    The subject of governance arrangements and organisational structures is never one to set the world alight. But these things do matter. As the ‘Forestry Bill’ works its way through the Scottish Parliament, there are some who have raised…

    • 23 Feb 2018
  • World Wetlands Day 2018

    In this blog Anne McCall, Director of RSPB Scotland, celebrates this year's World Wetlands Day. 

    World Wetlands Day 2018

    You probably aren’t aware – unless you are obsessed with bogs and swamps - that February 2nd is World Wetlands Day. Here are just a few reasons why we should all be celebrating these fascinating and diverse habitats, not just today but all year round.

    One benefit of our frequent wet…

    • 2 Feb 2018
  • Non-native invaders: could we become world leaders in biosecurity post-Brexit?

    This is my last blog wearing my RSPB hat and I have decided to look again at the impact that Invasive Non Native Species (INNS) are having on biodiversity in the UK and across the globe. This is one of the hidden killers of native wildlife-and a by-product of man’s ability to cross oceans and inadvertently transport species to new environments. Trade and carelessness have been the downfall of many island species already…

    • 19 Oct 2017
  • How to have the best Birdfair ever

    In my last blog post, I gave my top five recommendations for things to see and do at Birdfair – in this post, I’d like to offer some practical advice to help you get the most out of your experience.

     

    1 Check the weather

    If it rains, the Birdfair site can get rather wet and muddy underfoot. And in full sunshine, the marquees are hot. I recommend checking the forecast before you come, and make sure you’re…

    • 17 Aug 2017
  • Top five things to see at this year’s Birdfair

    When you look at the Birdfair programme, it can feel a little overwhelming – there’s so much to see and do! How do you decide?

    Here are my top five recommendations to add to your list:

    1 Go see some art

    At the art marquee, you’ll find some of the best wildlife artists in the UK. Not only do you get to see their paintings, you get to meet them in person, and even see some of them working. It’s wonderful…

    • 11 Aug 2017
  • How your Birdfair ticket helps save the rarest birds in the world

    When you walk through the gates into Birdfair, you feel an enormous sense of pride and purpose. This happens because the money your paid for your ticket is doing something very special. It’s not going into the pocket of a corporate events organiser, but helping save some of the rarest and most threatened birds in the world.

    Every year, the RSPB and BirdLife International identify an overseas project that could…

    • 8 Aug 2017
  • To Birdfair and back again, and again, and again.

    I’ve been to 18 Birdfairs spread over 25 years so far, and I will keep coming back. So why do I keep returning to Rutland Water, in Oakham, every August?

    There’s so much to see and do here: the fascinating talks from bird experts, the world-class wildlife art, the hilarious celebrity quiz events and the international birding tour stands. It’s all good. But there’s one thing that makes Birdfair very special.…

    • 28 Jul 2017
  • Birdfair will brighten the summer!

    Golden Eagles at a nest in Scotland. I will be hosting a talk on the Friday to summarise the results of the 2015 national survey of this species. 

    With the rain sheeting down outside, all our minds naturally turn to the British Birdwatching Fair! This tented city with its lecture tents, stands thronged with Conservation NGO’s, optics marquees, and travel companies big and small; is the must be place for mid-August,…

    • 13 Jun 2017
  • RSPB Scotland Patrons has launched

    I’ve recently found myself reflecting on how the conservation movement ─ created, funded and underpinned by the actions of extraordinary individuals has delivered huge benefits in terms of the common public good and wider environmental progress. The deep connections between the people of Scotland and its wildlife have inspired them to dig deep in their pockets and support transformative actions. However, despite enabling…

    • 20 Apr 2017
  • Remembering Tam Dalyell's contribution to nature conservation

    Stuart Housden and Des Thompson remember a special contribution to nature conservation made by the late Tam Dalyell.

    The many warm tributes to Tam Dalyell, who died on 26th January 2017, having been a Labour MP for 43 years, have not mentioned his important and strategic contributions to nature conservation policy and legislation.

    During the passage of the Wildlife and Countryside Bill in 1980-81, Tam was indefatigable…

    • 27 Feb 2017
  • A tribute to my friend and colleague Eric Meek

    I was extremely saddened earlier this week when I learned of the unexpected and untimely death of my former colleague Eric Meek who passed away on the afternoon of Thursday 16th February after a very short illness. 

    I first met Eric in 1980, and he then became RSPB Scotland’s Orkney Officer from early 1981 until retiring in 2012.  His encyclopaedic knowledge of Orkney, especially its wildlife and in particular…

    • 17 Feb 2017
  • Offshore wind in the Forth and Tay

    Last year we blogged about the Court’s decision here to overturn Scottish Ministers' consent for four offshore wind farms off the east coast of Scotland and explained why we felt that the risk posed to thousands of seabirds every year from these projects was just too great. With reluctance, it left us with no option but to challenge the decision through the courts.

    The Court’s decision has been appealed by…

    • 14 Feb 2017
  • Two Cheers for the Scottish Government’s Climate Change Plan

    Scotland’s rich and varied land and how it is used by us as a society has a big impact on the climate. Rural land use accounts for nearly a quarter of our greenhouse gas emissions, which as a sector, is only exceeded by electricity generation and transport. However, land uses, like forestry, and habitats, such as peatland, also have great potential to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in soils and…

    • 30 Jan 2017
  • Save the Scottish Uplands – A call on Scottish Government to produce a strategic vision for the uplands

    Wild.  Atmospheric.  Rugged.  Natural. Special.  Just some of the words that may come to mind when you think of the Scottish uplands.  The mountains, moorlands and heath which cover half of Scotland contain 90% of the UK’s montane habitat and one of the largest areas of blanket bog in the world.  These iconic landscapes provide the water we drink and mountains to climb.  They are steeped in folklore, have a rich cultural…

    • 16 Dec 2016
  • A busy week for energy policy in Scotland

    Pictured above: RSPB Scotland's Skinflats reserve, near areas where unconventional gas applications have previously been considered.

    It has been a busy week for energy policy and new developments in Scotland (and the UK), with reports and a consultation on fracking in Scotland, and a new funding round for renewable energy projects across the UK. The RSPB takes a keen interest in how our energy is produced because…

    • 21 Nov 2016
  • Short-term future for wildlife friendly farming schemes guaranteed

    A little while ago, I highlighted the uncertainty surrounding the future of funding for wildlife friendly farming schemes in Scotland if we leave the EU in the next few years. Some assurances about short-term funding had been provided at UK level by the Chancellor, Phillip Hammond, but the devolved nature of agriculture policy meant we needed similar reassurances from Scottish Ministers. So much of our precious wildlife…

    • 17 Nov 2016
  • Maintaining wildlife friendly farming post Brexit

    As the Brexit debate unfolds, some clarity at a UK level has been provided by the Chancellor, Phillip Hammond, on the short-term funding available to support farming and rural investment, including that for conservation management. The RSPB believes public funding should support the delivery of public goods or benefits, such as wildlife, woodlands and wetlands, clean rivers and carbon storage.

    Leaving the EU will mean…

    • 21 Oct 2016
  • All change in Scottish forestry

    Commercial forestry plantation of pine and larch by Andy Hay (rspb-images.com)

    Earlier this week I wrote about RSPB Scotland’s vision for forestry and the opportunities presented by Brexit to ensure that nature gets the best deal from future policy in this area. Whilst the bigger European changes are playing out, the Scottish Government is continuing to seek to make changes to the way forestry operates in Scotland…

    • 14 Oct 2016
  • Our vision for Scottish forestry

    Red squirrel by Ben Andrew (rspb-images.com)

    It’s an interesting time in the world of forestry, with a number of changes underway. Forestry is an important industry in Scotland, supporting jobs and investment in our rural areas. Home grown timber offers sustainable opportunities in construction, and more besides. Woodlands also provide valuable habitat for some of our most iconic species such as capercaillie and red…

    • 10 Oct 2016
  • A chance to give nature a bigger and better home on the Solway Firth – Mersehead appeal

    RSPB Scotland Mersehead by Andy Hay (rspb-images.com)

    Today we are launching an appeal to supporters to raise funds for an important piece of land on the Solway Firth.  Our reserve at Mersehead is already famous for its wintering geese and ducks, breeding waders like lapwing and its colourful array of farmland birds including yellowhammers and tree sparrows.  And it has a spectacular setting, with easy access trails…

    • 3 Oct 2016