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

We are very grateful to the 700 plus landowners who have given their permission for our team to access their land and lay the trap network across Orkney Mainland and the islands. As of Friday 8 November, 1244 traps have been laid. The trap laying is spreading from the south and east to the west mainland, with the aim to lay all traps before the next stoat breeding season in the spring.

The island biosecurity networks are now established on Hoy, South Walls, Graemsay, Rousay, Egilsay, Wyre, Shapinsay, and Flotta due to the generous permissions of 74 landowners on these islands and the project volunteers helping to check traps and wildlife monitoring cameras. A total of 257 traps are now also operating on the coastal edges of islands close to Mainland. The 171-strong biosecurity trap network is still in operation in five locations on Mainland Orkney – Evie, Stromness, Rendall, Orphir and Kirkwall.  

Biosecurity trap network

We are continuing to check biosecurity traps on the inner isles regularly, with visits at least once per month to Flotta, Graemsay, Rousay, Shapinsay and Wyre. Frequent visits are also made to Hoy due to a heightened level of vigilance but, so far, there is no evidence of stoats on the island. Possible stoat sightings have led to traps and cameras being installed on Stronsay recently, but again, no proof of a stoat incursion has been found. We will be deploying tracking tunnels on some of the islands from November.

We have begun holding informal meetings on each of the islands from late October, where our Biosecurity Officer, Chris Bell, has been giving an update on the project’s progress so far. He is keen to hear from local people on the best way to keep the islands stoat-free and to secure Orcadian native wildlife for future generations. Thank you to everyone that came to the meetings in Flotta, Hoy and Walls. The last one before Christmas is next week on Rousay.

Island

Date

Time

Location

Rousay

20 November

7 pm

Community Room, Rousay Primary School


These gatherings are part of a series of informal events in the islands over the coming months and Chris looks forward to meeting everyone over tea and biscuits.

If you want to know more about biosecurity, please contact Chris Bell directly on 01856 881448, or by emailing chris.bell@rspb.org.uk.

Vole surveying

The Orkney vole surveys for 2019 have now been completed! A huge thanks to everyone who helped us complete these in time, even though the weather made this quite a battle!

We will be recruiting more volunteers again in the Spring, so if you fancy being an Orkney vole surveyor, helping us to work out how the population is faring across the islands, please keep an eye out for details in the New Year. If you can’t wait until Spring, you can contact Amy King now for more information.

There is still the opportunity to get involved in the future, as there will be another round of surveys and training in the Spring. You do not need any previous experience, as we will provide training, but you do need to be physically fit (surveys involve walking over mixed terrain), enjoy being outdoors, and be keen to learn more about native wildlife! If this interests you, send Amy a message and she can give you more details!

Email Amy at Amy.king@rspb.org.uk or tel. 01856 881454/07719 991096

Amy on her final survey this year. One of the sites was filled with the last of the heather in bloom, beautifully-set against the surrounding lichen, and giving a very autumnal feel to the day!

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 881453 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 Monitoring Officer directly on 01856 881454, by emailing  stoatsightings@rspb.org,uk or through the ‘Stoats in Orkney’ Facebook page.

 Remember, if you have any comments or concerns please contact 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

Anonymous