Welcome to the fifty-third stoat snippet!

These snippets are a short update on 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

Ange and Macca have spent most of the last week in the north of Hoy. Intrepidly covering as much land as possible, up steep hills and glens and across some tough terrain – see photos below. Here is their latest tracking map up until 24th September. No stoats or confirmed signs of stoats have been found to date.

  

 

 

Tomorrow Ange an Macca will be at the North Walls Community School between 10.30 and 12 where you can drop by to meet them and see demonstrations of how the dog works in the landscape. Details can be found on our Facebook event page

The first-round check of the trapping trial was completed on Friday with a further five rounds to go. Five stoats were trapped in total in this first round, all of them in double-set DOC150 traps. Four of these had smoked mackerel as bait and one stoat was caught using a 100% dried rabbit dog treat! The second check of the traps will start on 1st October as Carmen and Rebecca (and the other members of the team) are on Lewis and Harris for a conference to celebrate the end of one of the UK’s successful eradications, the Shiant Isles Seabird Recovery Project. We covered this project a little in a previous snippet when Amy, our Project Development Officer, was out there with the Shiants Auk Ringing Group back in July (see here). The conference will allow us to share experiences from the ONWP, and learn from others around the UK and the world as it is bringing together experts in the field.

We are still looking to gather land access permissions to allow trapping and use of stoat detection dogs during the future planned eradication. So, if you own land in Orkney, even if it’s just your garden, and we haven’t spoken to you, please email us at ONWP.landaccess@gmail.com.

Orkney Mainland Predator Invasion Biosecurity Project

This week Marina is holding the fort and continuing the trapping work in Evie and Rendall for this project, whilst the other members of the team are at the Shiants project conference as mentioned above.

Sarah and Bea also were out in the field in Stromness and have now added another 10 traps to the network so that there is a defensive line of traps along the coast between Ness Point and Warebeth and secondary line of traps further inland. We will be in touch with the landowners that have already provided us with permission to trap on their land very soon regarding the new trap locations.

Incursion responses

Shapinsay: Last Friday, Heather was on Shapinsay as per usual to check the traps. Again, no stoats were caught. However, due to the recent heavy rains, a couple of traps had been flooded so had to be re-positioned.

Hoy: Heather was out on Hoy last Thursday. Again, we haven’t yet caught any stoats in the traps and the camera cards are still being processed with help from several keen volunteers – thanks to them! So far, no stoats have been spotted on the cameras (since the probable one last year). However, we have had some great footage of some greater black-backed gull chicks out in the moorland from the summer, which you can view on our Facebook post.

Heather also came across this small wainscot moth on one of the trap boxes.

  

 Answering your concerns…

Remember, if you have any comments or concerns please contact north@nature.scot or orkney@rspb.org.uk, or by calling RSPB Scotland on 01856 850176 or SNH on the number below.

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@nature.scot or through the ‘Stoats in Orkney’ Facebook page.

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

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