Welcome to the 78th stoat snippet!

These snippets are an update on the Orkney Native Wildlife 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

The trapping team have been progressing land access, as well as checking Mainland biosecurity trap checks.

The first meeting of the newly reconstituted goose management forum went ahead with some positive discussions on all sides. A report in last week’s Orcadian gives a flavour of the progress. In the meantime, Alan Corrigall, the current president of Orkney NFUS has signed the ONWP land access agreement to help us conserve Orkney wildlife.

For more details on the goose management forum contact the organisers, Scottish Natural Heritage on 01463 701670 or the Orkney NFUS committee.

Since the last Stoat Snippet we welcomed our canine colleagues for a team visit. The dog handlers from Kryus made the journey up from near Liverpool bringing with them Max, who is fully trained squirrel sniffing dog.

Max made the journey to demonstrate to us the potential of the springer spaniels, Calli and Thorn, who came with their handlers Frank Holmes, Rachel Cripps and Sian Perry. They were taken on a tour of the mainland to introduce them to the habitat they can expect if they successfully pass their training. For the time being though they were more interested in their toys, as you can see from the photo.

High-risk islands: No stoats were found in the routine monthly check of the 32 traps in the network on Shapinsay. You can just about see Stuart in the photo as he checked the traps along the shoreline with Kirkwall in the distance.

Monitoring programme

The monitoring team has been out and about across the county continuing with their bird surveys and nest monitoring of waders such as curlew and lapwing.  There have been small, fluffy chicks hatching over the past couple of weeks, but the heavy rains have affected some nests.  One of the wader nest cameras captured some footage of a colour-ringed redshank, which was originally ringed in Chichester Harbour back in October 2015 and has this year decided to come all the way to Orkney to breed!

The first meadow pipit and skylark surveys were all completed just before the wet half of May began resulting in plenty of birds singing away in the early morning hours. 

The team will be heading to do their last upland surveys over the next few weeks – hopefully they’re not hit in the head by too many territorial bonxie’s!

Alex took this photo of a curlew with one of her three chicks, South Ronaldsay.

Answering your concerns…

We would really appreciate folk who own land and are happy for wildlife monitoring and/or trapping to take place getting in touch. Please email ONWP.landaccess@gmail.com or call us on 01856 881451 as soon as you can.

Don’t forget to keep reporting any sightings of stoats (dead or alive), as soon as possible, by contacting our biosecurity team directly on 01856 881451 ext 456, by emailing north@nature.scot or through the ‘Stoats in Orkney’ Facebook page.

Remember, if you have any comments or concerns please contact north@nature.scot or orkney@rspb.org.uk, or telephone Orkney Native Wildlife Project on 01856 881451.

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