Welcome to the sixty-eighth 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.


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 are continuing to finalise the paperwork to get contracts issued, but all the first 19 roles are now confirmed. We are also now advertising for the four seasonal research jobs – one senior research assistant and three research assistants – that will be doing the wildlife monitoring for waders and voles this spring and summer. The closing is 11 Feb and interviews on 21 and 22 February.


The Programme Manager, Mike Partridge, and the first Eradication Operations Manager, Sarah Atkinson, both start tomorrow but both were in the office today to go for lunch with some of the RSPB Scotland team.


New team members Sarah (colourful scarf) and Mike (cake cutting duty) are welcomed to the team

The cake

Our new project administrator, Sarah Kelly, then starts on Monday. Sarah has been working in the RSPB Office in Newcastle as a venue booker looking for events for colleagues to attend.

Amy is now in her second week and she is splitting her time between identifying the best locations for undertaking wader productivity monitoring and vole surveys and securing land access permission, particularly focussing on areas where wildlife surveys need to take place this spring. If you are happy for this important wildlife monitoring to place on your land, please email ONWP.landaccess@gmail.com to help us get permissions in place as quickly as we can.

In the meantime, the biosecurity and incursion trap checks continue, as does the other preparation work for the eradication.

The 10-day standstill is now over and yesterday we officially offered the contract to Orkney Builders to build the 10,260 wooden housings for the traps. These will be constructed to match the timing of the arrival of the traps.  



Trapping Trial

We have now sent out letters to everyone that was involved in just the winter part of the trapping trial and these should arrive imminently. We want to once again thank all the landowners that took part in the trials and encourage everyone to send the feedback forms that were included in your letters back to us. We are also happy to receive feedback at any time by email or phone so we know where we can make improvements.


Biosecurity trap network

Mainland: Lindsey checked the Kirkwall traps last Friday and the Rendall traps on Monday. Nothing was caught. She will be checking the traps in the Stromness area tomorrow. Meanwhile, Marina checked some of the Evie traps on Tuesday and Heather and Carmen some others on Wednesday. Marina’s traps caught no rats or stoats, but Heather found a large ermine stoat. Marina was delighted at how different the landscape looked under a blanket of snow. They all took nice snowy pictures…

Carmen’s photo from Evie

Heather’s photo from Evie

Marina’s picture from Evie


High-risk islands: The Graemsay and Shapinsay checks are not due for another few weeks.

The trap network will be placed on Rousay next week, if the weather allows. This will involve approximately 25 traps spread along the SW coast of Rousay that’s nearest to Mainland.



Incursion responses

Hoy: Most traps in Hoy were checked yesterday by Marina and Rebecca. They found five rats. It was snowing quick heavily when they arrived and the landscape got snowier and snowier as the day progressed which made finding the traps under the snow a bit tricky at times.


South Walls: These traps are due to be checked again next week.




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 01463 701 670, by emailing north@nature.scot or through the ‘Stoats in Orkney’ Facebook page.

And to keep up-to-date with the project,