16 October 2018 by Chris Cathrine | Comments: 0
Share this article:
Back in August we were lucky enough to be invited to assist with bryophyte (moss and liverwort) recording on the Woodland Trust Glen Finglas estate. The recording day was instigated and lead by Jane Jones (Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland) and Gwen Raes (Woodland Trust Estate Ranger). We were also joined by Jack Ravenscroft (Woodland Trust Ecological Research volunteer) and bryophyte expert Gordon Rothero (British Bryological Society).
Gwen skilfully drove us along the long, steep track north east of Glen Finglas reservoir to Creagan nan Sgiath and the lower slopes of Ben Vane, which would otherwise have been a 27km round trip on foot from the Glen Finglas car park! I have experienced this particular walk (otherwise known as the Mell circuit) on a previous jaunt and can vouch it is long and gruelling and would certainly leave limited opportunity to search the upper crags for bryological treasures….although I was treated to spectacular close views of a golden eagle on that occasion…swings and roundabouts!
Getting a lift to the site meant we could focus our efforts on recording our target location…the calcareous montane crags Creagan nan Sgiath, where we recorded 99 species of moss and liverwort at heights of 450m to 650m a.s.l. The most interest was present on the highest calcareous crags where nationally scarce Encalypta ciliata, Scapania cuspiduligera, Scapania degenii and Bryum dixonii were recorded. The bryophytes recorded overall are a distinctive and reasonably diverse group which are localised but fairly typical of this habitat type - upland calcareous crags. There are frequent cushions of Grimmia funalis and occasionally occurring Anoectangium aestivum, Molendoa warburgii, Ditrichum gracile, Orthothecium intricatum, Thuidium delicatulum, Mnium marginatum and Plagiobryum zieri. One species, Racomitrium elongatum, was recognised as being a first for the vice county in which the site occurs (West Perthshire). This was recorded on gravelly soil on the lower slopes.
With a little time to spare on the drive back round the Mell circuit we climbed up towards a small incised ravine on the lower slopes beneath Creag a Mhadaidh north west of Ben Vane. The greatest interest was recorded in flushes below the ravine, not least from a splendid display of dozens of peacock butterflies amongst rushes and devil’s bit scabious, but with the addition of an assemblage of base demanding species including Campylium stellatum, Scorpidium cossonii, Scorpidium revolvens, Sphagnum contortum and Sphagnum inundatum. Their presence which indicates some base rich flushing spurred us on with promise for potentially interesting species in the ravine, but alas it would only be the precipitous climb into the ravine that got my heart going!
A good day of recording thanks to the team. There is still more scope for further recording in the glen with more unexplored crags to conquer!
27 April 2018 by Chris Cathrine | Comments: 0
Share this article:
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 April 2018 by Chris Cathrine | Comments: 0
Share this article:
A new guidance document for reptile survey and mitigation in peatland habitats has been published by Amphibian & Reptile Groups of the UK (ARG UK), supported by Froglife, the Herpetological Society of Ireland (the HSI), and Amphibian & Reptile Conservation Trust (ARC Trust). The publication of this document is significant, as there has long been a guidance vacuum for reptiles – this goes a small way to filling that gap.
All native reptile species are legally protected in the UK and Ireland, and so consideration should be given to mitigation to avoid committing an offence under the relevant nation-specific legislation (note that wildlife protection law is devolved and varies between individual UK countries).
The document, authored by Caledonian Conservation Ltd Director Chris Cathrine, focuses on Scotland where peatland habitats are extensive. However, it could be applied to England, Wales, Northern Ireland, or Ireland where peatland habitats also occur. The guidance is intended to assist in designing mitigation for impacts on reptiles during peatland restoration works but the methods described may also be suitable for the construction phase of some developments on these habitats. Similarly, some of the approaches described could be adapted, with care, for reptiles occurring on other habitats.
The guidance provides information on peatland reptile ecology, potential impacts, survey methods, and approaches to mitigation to avoid harm to reptiles and construct hibernation features. A decision tree flow chart is also provided, to help site managers to consider reptiles while planning works.
The new Reptile Survey and Mitigation Guidance for Peatland Habitats document can be downloaded at: https://www.arguk.org/info-advice/advice-notes/414-10-advice-note-10-reptile-survey-and-mitigation-guidance-for-peatland-habitats
23 January 2018 by Chris Cathrine | Comments: 0
Share this article:
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/