Tag Archives: nature

Nàdair Thiriodh – Tiree Ranger Service

Erosion Repairs / Damage

erosion_controlledWork has now been completed at Balephetrish and Crossapol. It looks like a great job has been done considering that we have been limited by the restrictions placed upon us and the fact that we could only use existing materials. Only time will tell how long the repairs last.

All involved are hoping for a less severe winter this year to allow the work to stabilise and bed in. Could I ask that people refrain from running down the newly established dune fronts for the foreseeable future to allow marram grass and other plants to re-establish themselves as these are what help strengthen and bind the dunes together.

dune_tunnelWhilst on the subject of erosion, I was called to Balevullin to investigate damage to the dunes. It appears that children had been digging caves into the dune front (see picture).

They probably did not realise the damage they were doing, but in the process of digging these caves they disturbed nesting sand martins and added considerable damage to the already badly eroded dune front. The only way to make these safe was to collapse the dune top.

There is also the matter of the children’s own safety and the parents should have known better. If the dunes had collapsed on them whilst digging we could have had quite a serious incident to contend with.

Beach Parties

party_garbageTwo beach parties have taken place at Balevullin and Sorobaidh. Unfortunately substantial amounts of broken glass and rubbish were left behind (see picture).

We don’t want to stop people enjoying the great weather but please act responsibly and clear up afterwards and don’t break glass on the beaches. I cleared up the mess at Sorobaidh and I would like to thank Suds, Lorna MacDonald and others who spent over four hours clearing up the mess left at Balevullin. I must also thank PC Tanner for talking to the individuals concerned and I hope that this matter is now closed.

RSPB Info From July 2011

common Redpoll

Common Redpoll at Carnan Mor

Corncrakes continued to call all over the island during the month. The finalised count total this year for the island was 385 calling males, which was very similar to the 2010 figure of 391 birds. The weather was mostly good throughout July, so hopefully breeding success will again be high, thanks once more to all the Corncrake friendly techniques employed by the island’s crofters and farmers.

Other birds

Most of our birds seem to have had a reasonably good breeding season, although numbers of young raised were no doubt knocked back by the gales in late May.

Mute Swans for example only managed to rear two broods totalling 7 young from at least 11 nesting pairs in April. The waders, gulls and starlings all appeared to produce plenty of young, with large mixed flocks building up once more on the first cut silage fields.

Wildfowl also did well given the wet spring and many broods of Mallard, Shelduck, Red-breasted Merganser, Pintail and Tufted Duck were noted on the island’s wetlands, as well as a Gadwall brood at Kilmoluaig and a fledged Shoveler brood at The Reef.

The total number of Greylag broods was down on previous years as a result of the on-going goose management scheme, although many broods were still to be seen at their favoured lochs.

As in 2010, seabirds benefited from an abundance of sand eels throughout the month and 32 Little Terns plus over 100 Arctic Terns fledged from colonies around the island. The other seabirds had mixed results: at Ceann a’ Mhara, Shags produced a fair number of young as always, as did the Razorbills, whilst Guillemots fledged some 260+ young. However, numbers of young Fulmars in their nests dropped steadily through the month, whilst the very low count of 200 pairs of Kittiwake at Ceann a’ Mhara managed to fledge a respectable total of 205 chicks.

Smaller birds also appeared to do well, with many scattered families seen around the island of Linnet, Twite, Sedge Warbler and Wheatear. Scarcer species also did well – a pair of Chiffchaffs fledged 4 young for the second year at Balephuil, Greenfinches fledged young at 4 sites and Common Redpolls fledged young at 2 sites.

July is not normally a good month for scarcer migrants, as birds are mostly still on their breeding grounds. However, failed breeders and younger birds started moving once more during the month and there were a few notable records. The most unusual sighting was that of a juvenile Blackcap at Balephuil (4th), the first mid-summer record of this species from the island and presumably a wandering youngster from the increasing population on the Argyll mainland.

Other good birds included an adult Sea Eagle at Traigh Bhi (12th), the long-staying Golden Eagle again at Ceann a’ Mhara (23rd) and an early Sooty Shearwater off the south of the island (20th). Return wader passage picked up during the month and included 5 Whimbrel (from 11th), 4 Common Sandpipers (from 13th), 13 Blacktailed Godwits (from 13th), 121 Sanderling at Gott Bay (18th), a Ruff at Loch a’ Phuill (28th) and up to 10 Greenshanks daily on the larger lochs (from 20th).

Up to 10 Whooper Swans, two Great Northern Divers, 2 Pink-footed Geese and a lone Barnacle Goose summered on the island, whilst 3 Hen Harriers, including a fine male, returned (from 19th). Offshore, there were moderate numbers of Basking Sharks all around the coast, regular pods of Harbour Porpoises and occasional exciting sightings of Orcas.

Many thanks to those of you who have kept me posted with your latest observations. If anyone would like to report unusual sightings of birds or other wildlife on Tiree, please contact me at the address below: John Bowler, Pairc na Coille, Balephuil, Isle of Tiree PA77 6UE. Tel: 220748

Looking For Scotland’s Top Nature Photos

camera lens

The hunt for Scotland’s best nature pictures is on, as part of a Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) contest to celebrate Scottish Biodiversity Week.

The fifth annual Nature Photography Competition is open to both amateur and professional photographers. First prize is a one-to-one tutorial with a professional photographer; second prize is a Olympus E-450 Digital SLR camera; and third prize is a Panasonic Lumix F245 Digital Camera and a Hama Star tripod.

This free contest celebrates Scottish Biodiversity Week, which runs from 21 to 29 May. For more information on the week’s activities throughout Scotland, see www.snh.gov.uk/biodiversityweek.

This year’s theme is the gifts which nature gives to us all. SNH is looking for pictures which show these gifts, whether they are practical gifts like oxygen, food and water, or more spiritual gifts like awe, serenity or inspiration. Scottish Biodiversity Week organiser, Zeshan Akhter, said:
“Nature gives us so many gifts every day – actually, every moment and every breath we take. But it’s easy to take nature for granted. I think that’s the reason why pictures of wildlife move us so much: because we are reminded of our connection to the natural world. I always look forward to seeing what inspires people about nature, so I hope to see lots of terrific shots again this year!”

Entrants should email their pictures of animals, plants or landscapes to bit{@}snh.gov.uk by 17 June 2011,as an attachment with “Photo Contest” in the subject line. Entries must be original, have a title, information on how the image shows the gifts of nature, where in Scotland the photo was taken, and the entrant’s name and contact details. Each person may submit up to two entries. SNH will notify winners in August and the winning entries will be posted on the website and highlighted in the Scottish Biodiversity Forum’s quarterly newsletter.

For more information, see www.snh.gov.uk/biodiversityweek.

Destruction of Caoles Dunes

caoles_beachAn Tirisdeach finally went to Caoles to find out what all the brouhaha was all about regarding the dunes at Caoles.
Indeed, it is a shocking sight to behold.
The sand in the picture is not a beach, but where the marram grass used to be. The 9,000 year old dunes were destroyed in the construction of two holiday homes.
A phone call to Andrew Montgomery the factor for Argyll Estates elicited the following response:
“ I am furious about what has happened. I have insisted the dunes have to be reinstated with netting on top of the dunes and marram grass re-planted. I will be keeping a close eye on the situation as it needs to be exactly as before.”
Mr. Montgomery informed An Tirisdeach that work will start immediately.
At time of going to press, all endeavours were being made to rectify the destruction that has taken place.