27 April 2018 by Chris Cathrine | Comments: 0
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On 17th March 2018, Director Chris Cathrine presented the results of Site Condition Monitoring invertebrate surveys at Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) in Tayside, at the Tayside Recorders’ Day, in Perth. Some of the results of these surveys, completed between 2011 and 2017 under contract to Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), have not been made publicly available before, other than as records on NBN Atlas.
Caledonian Conservation Ltd has completed Site Condition Monitoring of invertebrate features for 56 SSSIs in Scotland between 2011 and 2017 under contract SNH. Of these SSSIs, five were located in Tayside: Barry Links (2011), Black Wood of Rannoch (2013), Den of Airlie (2015), Dollar Glen (2013), and Methven Woods (2015).
Among the stand out finds were the rediscover of the extinct flutter-wing fly Palloptera laetabilis and finding other rare invertebrate such as the lichen running-spider (Philodromus margaritatus).
The conference presentation and article in the Tayside Recorders’ Bulleting which includes the conference proceedings can be downloaded via the Caledonian Conservation Ltd publications page.
For more information about Tayside Biodiversity Partnership, who organised the conference, please visit: http://www.taysidebiodiversity.co.uk/
For more information about SNH and their work, please visit: https://www.nature.scot/
Photo: The lichen running-spider (Philodromus margaritatus) - one of the rare species found during surveys of SSSIs in Tayside.
23 January 2018 by Chris Cathrine | Comments: 0
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While surveying for flies and butterflies during Site Condition Monitoring at Morrich More Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in 2015, Director Chris Cathrine made a surprising discovery when a big female Northern bear sider (Arctosa cinerea) ran on to his sweep net!
This is not only the most northerly record for the Northern bear spider in the UK, but is also the first documented example of the species using sandy habitats – in this case on a stabilised dune system. Although it has been found to use this habitat for some parts of its life cycle in Europe, it is typically found under stones in shingle in the UK.
You can read more about this discovery in an article in the latest issue of the latest issue of the Newsletter of the British Arachnological Society. The article is also available to read here, via the Caledonian Conservation Ltd publications page.
The Site Condition Monitoring surveys at Morrich More SSSI were completed under contract to Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH). For more information about SNH and their work, please visit: https://www.nature.scot/
For more information about the Newsletter of the British Arachnological Society and the British Arachnological Society in general, please visit: www.britishspiders.org.uk
Photo: Arctosa cinerea © Steven Falk. For more information on Steven Falk’s work and photography, please visit: http://www.stevenfalk.co.uk/
15 November 2017 by Chris Cathrine | Comments: 0
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A rare flutter-wing fly, Palloptera laetabilis, not seen in the UK for over 100 years has been found at Den of Airlie Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), a woodland in Angus. This is also the first time this fly has ever been found in Scotland.
The rare fly was presumed to be extinct, but was found during site condition monitoring surveys completed by Caledonian Conservation under contract to Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) in 2015. The discovery has since been confirmed and published by Steven Falk (the fly expert on the project team) in the most recent issue of Dipterists Digest.
Den of Airlie SSSI is only the fifth site that this species has been recorded at in the UK, and the only one in Scotland. The other four sites are all located in England, with the last record being from Oxfordshire in 1907.
Chris Cathrine, Director of Caledonian Conservation and project leader for the 2015 invertebrate site condition monitoring project said: “Finding a species last recorded over a century ago is very exciting. That this is also the first record for the species in Scotland makes this all the more special. We found a great number of rare species during our surveys across Scotland. While Palloptera laetabilis is undoubtedly the most exciting, we hope to publish records from all 25 sites, including the Isle of Rum, in the future.”
The invertebrate records collected by Caledonian Conservation during these surveys (including Den of Airlie SSSI) are available on NBN Atlas at: https://registry.nbnatlas.org/public/show/dp4
Learn more about SNH’s work in Scotland at: http://www.snh.gov.uk/
Steven Falk’s paper on Palloptera laetabilis is available on the Caledonian Conservation publications page, or directly here.
Steven Falk was contracted by Caledonian Conservation to complete surveys for this project through his previous role at Buglife – the Invertebrate Conservation Trust. For more information on Steven Falk’s work and photography, please visit: http://www.stevenfalk.co.uk/
For more information about the Dipterists Digest visit: http://www.dipteristsforum.org.uk/sgb_dipterists_digest.php
Photo: Female Palloptera laetabilis from Den of Airlie Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) © Steven Falk
23 June 2017 by Chris Cathrine | Comments: 0
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Senior ecologist and company bryologist Julie Smith reports from amongst the fallen trees of the Black Wood of Rannoch.
In January 2017 Caledonian Conservation Ltd undertook a surveillance survey across the Tay Forest District for a rare bryophyte listed under Annex II of the EU Habitats Directive which occurs on deadwood, green shield moss (Buxbaumia viridis). The aim was to survey suitable habitat to improve understanding of the distribution of the species in Scotland.
During a recent Native Woodland Discussion Group (NWDG) meeting a member had noted that there appeared to be a lack of deadwood across the Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) element of Black Wood of Rannoch, one of the largest extents of ancient Caledonian Pine wood in Scotland. While our winter survey there had indeed found limited quantities there was locally frequent deadwood of good size and stage of decay along the Dall Burn and its tributaries to the east. Buxbaumia viridis was not recorded within the SSSI, but it was on neighbouring Forest Enterprise (FE) land, by the Kilvrecht campsite, again to the east.
In spite of the long term use of the Black Wood for timber extraction up until the wartime felling of the 20th century, the ancient pinewood has persisted and is now managed by Forest Enterprise (FE) under non-intervention. It is expected there will be an increase in deadwood across the SSSI in future years, which means more suitable habitat for Buxbaumia viridis. FE staff and other visitors to the woodland should be encouraged to familiarise themselves with this distinctive little moss and its preferred microhabitat, as it may very well turn up there soon!
At the end of the NWDG meeting Julie revisited the mature fallen Kilvrecht birch tree where the moss was found and became reacquainted with the impressive capsules, albeit at a different growth stage!
The photo below shows a Buxbaumia viridis capsule on mature fallen birch tree in early June 2017 (capsules have reached maturity and are golden brown in colour).