Welcome to the thirty-sixth stoat snippet!

These snippets are a short update on progress with both the Orkney Native Wildlife Project and the Orkney Mainland Predator Invasion Biosecurity Project, as well as addressing any concerns that folk have raised with Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and RSPB Scotland.

If you are new to these snippets and want to know more about the project, check out this blog.


Orkney Native Wildlife Project

We are still up to our eyeballs in documents for the HLF funding bid for submission in June, but starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Just!

This photo of a stoat on route to take an egg from an oystercatcher nest in Yesnaby was shared on the Orkney Wildlife Facebook Group. We’d like thank photographer for sending it to the project to use to show the threat our native wildlife faces. If you take similar photos, please send them to us by email or share them on the Orkney Native Wildlife Project Facebook.


Carmen and Rebecca, who we introduced in Snippet 34, have started reopening a subset of the trapping trial traps in three locations. This will give us data from more seasons and we are also more rigorously testing more bait types to inform our trapping methodology. We are trialling five baits – eggs, smoked mackerel, beef off cuts (from a local butcher), dehydrated rabbit (dog treats) and wet pet food (fish flavoured). We’ll keep you updated with what we find out.


A trap in position

We’d like to once again thank all the landowners that have helped with the trials.


Orkney Mainland Predator Invasion Biosecurity Project

We now have the data from the May checks of these traps. Five stoats were caught; two in the Kirkwall area and three in Orphir.

Incursion responses

Shapinsay: Carmen and Rebecca were out on Shapinsay last Friday checking the 24 traps. No stoats were caught in the traps, just one rat. They plan to be back on Shapinsay today or early next week to check the traps again. All traps are on roadsides and RSPB Scotland land at the moment. We are still trying to work out who owns other land on Shapinsay so that we can get further cameras and traps out in prime locations soon.

If you own land on Shapinsay, we would really appreciate it if you could get in touch via orkney@rspb.org.uk to help us speed up how quickly we can get these permissions in place.

In fact if you own land on Hoy, Rousay, Flotta, Graemsay and Wyre we would like to hear from you too.

We are taking these sightings extremely seriously and really need people to be as vigilant as possible and as quick as possible at reporting any potential sightings. Stoats are more active at this time of year, so please keep an eye out when out and about.


Hoy: We are planning to do a full check of all traps and cameras in the week commencing 11 June and will also be looking to meet landowners to get permission for the next stage in the incursion response which will involve using other methods to seek out signs of stoats. This is because, despite having some cameras out since September and traps since early December, we have only had the one probable stoat sighting on a camera in November and have caught no stoats in the traps.

Please remember, if you think you’ve seen a stoat on Hoy or South Walls please report it immediately by phone or email.

Can you help on Hoy?

We are currently looking for people from Hoy, or anyone who can access Hoy easily, to volunteer to be part of a local team skilled in finding stoat sightings! Suitable volunteers will be trained to use our thermal imaging camera and in other techniques. Do get in touch if you are interested.


Answering your concerns…

Remember, if you have any comments or concerns please contact north@snh.gov.uk or orkney@rspb.org.uk.

Once again, don't forget to keep reporting any sightings of stoats, as soon as possible, to SNH by calling 01856 886163, by emailing north@snh.gov.uk or through the ‘Stoats in Orkney’ Facebook page.

And to keep up-to-date with the project, please follow our Facebook page