Welcome to the seventy-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.

 

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 now appointed the Senior Research Assistant, Thomas, and the three Research Assistants, Alexandra, Katherine and another Sarah (Sarah B). They will start on 25th and 27th of March. These roles will be doing the wildlife monitoring for waders, voles, meadow pipits and skylarks this spring and summer.

Meanwhile, the four newest trappers started on Monday this week – Roddy, Richard, Stuart and Brian – and have got stuck in helping make the 25x25 cm quadrats we need for the vole surveys as well the usual induction activities. To survey voles, you walk a transect and every forty metres you put down a quadrat and look for signs of vole activity including vole poo and grass clippings.

We are really keen to hear from everyone who is happy for this important wildlife monitoring to take place on their land. Please email ONWP.landaccess@gmail.com or call 01856 850176 as soon as you can.

  

We are still looking for help from local schools and youth groups to inspire the design of our new logo by creating drawings of some of our native wildlife such as hen harriers and the Orkney vole. For more details check out last week’s snippet here.

 

We received some exciting photos from the trap manufacturers of our traps being made.

     

      

I think it helps you appreciate the scale of the task. The first delivery should arrive with the company making the trap boxes late next month.

 

We have reviewed the bids for the supply of six conservation detection dogs for the project and should be able to announce the successful company soon. These dogs will play a key role in the project to help check “high-risk” islands to make sure that stoats don’t spread during the eradication and towards the end of the eradication to search and pinpoint areas where stoats remain so that trapping efforts to catch them can be targeted and intensified. You can read more in this previous snippet.

 

All the kit we have been ordering has started arriving in Orkney – OS maps, cameras for monitoring etc.. too. And the biosecurity and incursion trap checks are also continuing.

 

Trapping Trial

We hope to have the final trapping trial report finished soon and will continue to bring in monitoring tubes whenever get a chance.

 

Biosecurity trap network

Mainland: Checks of the traps in Evie and Rendall happened today, but the other mainland biosecurity traps will be checked next week as the whole team was out checking the traps in Hoy and South Walls.

High-risk islands: The Graemsay traps were checked by Carmen and Sarah last Friday, they caught nothing but did meet some very curious cows. We are hoping to get over to Shapinsay next week, if the weather stays OK, for the next checks. The biosecurity trap network on Rousay will be put out soon.  

 

Incursion responses

Hoy: The traps in Hoy and South Walls were checked this week, with Heather, Marina, Carmen, Rebecca, Graham, Anita and Bethan all going out to help complete them in a record two days and to become more familiar with the network or traps. No stoats were caught, just a handful of rats. It’s still crucial that folk in Hoy and South Walls remain vigilant and report any potential stoat sightings immediately. Marina took these lovely photos of fulmars flying off the coast and a rainbow.

       

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 701670, 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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