Welcome to the sixty-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 and this one too.

Orkney Native Wildlife Project

We have  been very busy shortlisting candidates for the first round of interviews. However, there are still four days left to apply for the other 13 posts – the Trapping Team (10 posts), Community Engagement OfficerEducation Officer and Monitoring Officer who will look after the citizen science and research parts of the project – as applications are open until midnight on the 10th of December.

You’ll remember that the tender document for the 10,260 wooden housings boxes is now live here. We have circulated it to all the joiners in Orkney that have been involved in the project so far along all the others we could find listed online. Please share the link with anyone you think might be interested. We will be judging the bids on experience, service quality and price.

We have had a slight hiccup with the order for 19,292 DOC 200 traps in that we need to provide further evidence to the funders for why we have to go through a single supplier rather than put this large contract out to tender. We are hoping to resolve this very quickly so that we can get this order in.

Last Friday morning, we were at the St Magnus Centre as part of the Orkney Local Access Forum Conference giving folk an update of the project’s progress and an opportunity to ask questions. There is a short write up and some photos in The Orkney News here.

You may have seen that we have put out an appeal for landowners and homeowners to get in touch on the radio and in the paper. We’ve been really pleased with the response so far and want to say a BIG thanks to everyone who has been in touch. Please bear with us while we process all the emails and please consider encouraging friends, family and neighbours to get in touch too. And if you own land or a house in Orkney, and we haven’t spoken to you, please email us at ONWP.landaccess@gmail.com as soon as you can.


Trapping Trial

Carmen and Rebecca have been finishing off collecting in the trapping trial traps this week and there are now just a handful still out. We also want to collect in all the monitoring equipment, but this might take a little longer to do due to competing demands for the team’s time.

The landowner letters are also in the post, so if you were kind enough to agree to have trapping trial traps on your land for the summer and autumn trials, you should discover how they did soon.

Biosecurity trap network

Mainland: Rebecca is checking the Orphir traps today despite the hideous weather along with a new volunteer. On Monday, Heather was training an SNH team member who will be helping us one day a week to check some of the Evie traps. Lindsey did the Rendall trap checks on Friday last week, was also in Evie on Monday and will be in Stromness tomorrow.

High-risk islands: The next checks of the Shapinsay traps are due on or around 21 December, but please continue to report any potential sightings as soon as you can as stoats could arrive at any time and could move between the islands and Mainland too. The Graemsay traps are also due their monthly next week.


Incursion responses

Hoy: Heather, Carmen and Rebecca checked some of the traps in Hoy on Tuesday and yesterday. No stoats have been caught yet and the volunteers are still working through the camera trap footage. 

South Walls: You’ll remember that the weather scuppered our plans to go to South Walls last Friday, but Heather, Carmen and Rebecca went out on Tuesday and Wednesday this week to check the traps in South Walls along with some of the Hoy traps.


Answering your concerns…

Remember, if you have any comments or concerns please contact north@nature.scot or orkney@rspb.org.uk, or call 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.