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HIGHLAND BIODIVERSITY - Caithness & Sutherland

Nature & Environment Index

Links and Information

Where Did "Biodiversity" Come From?

Highland Biodiversity News - September 09
Minutes Of Caithness Biodiversity Group
Biodiversity Photo Collection
Caithness Biodiversity Plan
Sutherland Biodiversity Plan
The Distribution of the Water Vole in Caithness

Highland Biodiversity
National Biodiversity Network (NBN)
Species and habitat data.
Peatlands Partnership - Caithness & Sutherland
The National Biodiversity Network search engine allows users and recorders to share information about UK biodiversity.
Species 2000
Indexes the world's species and allows data searches on scientific name, status and classification.

Green Facts
Interpreting information from the Millennium Assessment with final reports due in September 2005.  Lots of factual information about our planet and what is going on in ecosystems.  Links to many other web sites. 

Highland Biological Recording Group

British Trust for Ornithology (BTO)
Game Conservancy Trust (GCT)
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB)
Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT)
Birds - Lots of links on Caithness.org

British Bryological Society (BBS)
Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH)
Kew Gardens
Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC)
Tree and Forest Links on Caithness.org


Earth Heritage
British Geological Survey (BGS)
English Heritage
European Association for the Conservation of the 
    Geological Heritage
Geological Curator's Group (GCG)
Geological Society of London (GSL)
Geologists' Association
Natural History Museum (NHM)
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)

Australian CHM
Belgian CHM

European Environment Agency (EEA)
European Environment Directorate-General (DG Environment)
IUCN: The World Conservation Union (IUCN)
Land Use Policy Group (LUPG)
United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC)
US Department of the Interior (DOI)
US Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS)
Wetlands International (WET)
Nature And Conservation
Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH)
Countryside Council for Wales (CCW)
English Nature (EN)
Environment Agency (EA)
Environment and Heritage Service, Northern Ireland (EHS)
Falklands Conservation
Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA)
Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH)

See Also
UK Biodiversity
Department for Environment & Rural Affairs
Joint Nature Conservation Committee
Agenda 21 Links

Plants In Caithness
Whales Survey
Conservation Links
Ecology Links
Environmental Groups
Environmental Links
Natural History Links
Nature & Environment Main Index

Discuss Issues Or Share Information In Our
Biodiversity Forum
or the Bird Watching Forum

What's Flying In July? - Caithness Moths Web Site Can Help Identify
Magpie Moth From www.caithnessmoths.org.uk
If you have ever wondered what is flying around your garden or home in Caithness but never could find out then there is fantastic resource web site www.caithnessmoths.org.uk that can help.  The Caithness Moths web site has photos and descriptions of a huge range of moths in Caithness The web site is still growiing and asks for help in obtaining more good photographs of moths not yet photographed.  So if you want to know what is flying around in Caithness in any month of the year just check the month.  This site has an amzing amount of infomration on an area of biodiversity that is all around us and often overlooked.  You can also add your items to the Biodiversity section in our forum on moths or any other apsect of nature in Caithness.

21 September 09
Views Sought On New Plan To Help Highland Wildlife
Views are being sought on a new plan to help wildlife across Highland. The draft Highland Biodiversity Action Plan was drawn up by the Highland Biodiversity Partnership, and goes out to public consultation today (Monday 21 September 2009).

Chairperson Councillor Audrey Sinclair said: “The Partnership is made up of representatives of around 30 local groups and organisations committed to understanding, safeguarding, restoring and celebrating biodiversity within Highland. Our purpose is to provide guidance and support to the existing network of Local Biodiversity Groups, and to make progress on the main issues facing wildlife in the Highlands. It is this last point that we hope to address through this Plan.

“The Plan lists the key strategic biodiversity issues that have been brought to our attention since the Partnership started in 2005, states what we have done so far to address them, and proposes a range of future actions that we’d like to undertake in the next three years. We are of course bound by limits on the budget and resources that our partners can muster in these difficult times, but nonetheless we are confident that we can achieve a lot by working together and planning ahead.”

The draft Plan can be viewed by visiting www.highlandbiodiversity.com and clicking on the Highland Biodiversity Partnership tab. Paper copies are available at Council Service Points, Museums and Libraries, or by contacting Biodiversity Officers Jonathan Willet and Janet Bromham, tel 01463 702274 e-mail janet.bromham@highland.gov.uk

The closing date for comments is 31 October 2009.

27 July 09
Highland Dragonfly Is Top Of The Ponds
A dragonfly in Highland has reached new heights as it was discovered breeding in a pond at 830 metres above sea level, a UK record, below the summit of Tom a’Choinich just north of Loch Affric. A female of the dragonfly in question, a Common Hawker, was seen egg laying at the pond and on further investigation a larva was found along with an adult that had just emerged that morning. The previous highest recorded dragonfly breeding in Scotland was at 650 metres.

Common Hawkers are widespread throughout the Highlands and live on the wing from June to October. The male has blue and yellow markings on a black background and is often seen flying far away from a ponds or lochans. It is the second biggest dragonfly found in the Highlands. The biggest is the Golden-ringed Dragonfly, which is 7.5cm long and as its name suggests it is black and yellow.

Jonathan Willet, The Highland Council’s Biodiversity Officer, who found the pond said: “Being a bit of a dragonfly enthusiast this was a really exciting find, I always have an eye out for dragonflies and was really surprised to see a female egg laying in this pond. Being so high up this must be close to the height limit for breeding in the UK.”

Jonathan added: “This species does breed very high up in continental Europe, up to 2700 metres in the Swiss Alps, but the summers are a lot warmer there! The pond is found in a sheltered location in a south facing corrie, so this must create a warm microclimate within the pond allowing the larva to develop, but it may spend 5 years as a larva before it is fully grown and ready to emerge as an adult, which may only live for 3 to 4 weeks.”

Councillor William Ross, Chairman of the Planning, Environment and Development Committee said: “This is a fascinating record and it is surprising that such a heat-loving insect can be found so high up. It just goes to show that there is still much to learn about the natural world of the Highlands.”

For those wanting to learn more about the 18 species of dragonflies and damselflies found in the Highlands a leaflet on these insects has just been produced by The Highland Council and the British Dragonfly Society. This leaflet is available in all the Highland’s libraries, Service Points and Tourist Information Centres, or you can request a copy from Jonathan Willet at jonathan.willet@highland.gov.uk or 01463 702274.

Dragonflies and damselflies very are closely related. Damselflies are about the size of a matchstick with eyes at the side of their head and when at rest they hold their wings closed at the sides of their abdomen. Dragonflies are about twice the size and much chunkier, they have large eyes that meet in the middle and when at rest hold their wings open at right angles to their body.

The British Dragonfly Society is encouraging volunteers to participate in survey work to compile an Atlas of the distribution of dragonflies and damselflies in the UK. The Atlas will be produced in 2011. For more information see www.dragonflysoc.org.uk

6 July 09
Forsinain Trail - A Four Mile Circular Route
Sitting on the edge of Caithness & Sutherland’s high quality bogs, the four mile Forsinain Trail is self-guided and takes in farm fields, bog pools, riverside and woodland allowing an insight into conservation management and exciting wildlife.  It starts on The Flows National Nature Reserve, part of RSPB Forsinard Nature Reserve, continues through Forestry Commission Scotland’s Forsinain Forest and returns along the privately owned River Halladale salmon river. This circular trail which rises 100m to the bog begins at the roadside car park on the River Halladale before ascending the farm road through fields used intensively by feeding and breeding peatland bird species.

15 June 09
Biodiversity Partnership To Help Local Groups

The Highland Biodiversity Partnership has just launched an Agreement setting out its aims and working procedures, which has been signed by all 30 members.

The Partnership was set up to provide guidance and support to a network of local biodiversity groups, and make progress on the key strategic biodiversity issues in Highland.

Funding has been secured to help the Partnership's network of local groups undertake wildlife projects across the Highlands. Over the next three years, £100,000 will be spent on a capacity building project to help local biodiversity groups in Caithness, Sutherland, Wester Ross, Ross & Cromarty (East), Skye & Lochalsh, Lochaber, and Inverness & Nairn.

Highland Councillor Audrey Sinclair who chairs the Highland Biodiversity Partnership said: "The groups are very dependant on the goodwill of volunteers and local council and agency staff. This project will help them broaden their membership and build their capacity by raising awareness and spreading good practice. It will help the groups identify and work up new projects that help local people understand, safeguard, restore and celebrate biodiversity in their area."

The capacity building project is funded with assistance from the Highland LEADER 2007-13 Programme, The Highland Council, Scottish Natural Heritage and RSPB Scotland.

Councillor Sinclair added: "The groups are already all working on projects ranging from biodiversity competitions and growing native trees in primary schools in the north, to wildlife counts projects and green space audits in the south; from the control of invasive, non-native species in the west, to the provision of advice on improving habitats for grey partridge to farmers in the east."

These projects form the 'Communities Project for Highland Biodiversity' which is a three year programme put together by the Highland Biodiversity Partnership to provide funding for 24 local projects. It is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund, and receives match funding from Highland Council, Scottish Natural Heritage, Highlands & Islands Enterprise and RSPB Scotland.

Anyone wishing to get involved should contact biodiversity officers Janet Bromham or Jonathan Willet at the Council headquarters in Inverness (tel: 01463 702274), or visit the website www.highlandbiodiversity.com  for more information.

29 May 09
Great Yellow Bumblebee Blog - Can You Report Sightings and Send Photos
Bob Dawson the Scottish Conservation Officer with the Bumblebee Conservation Trust has been in touch to ask for help from everyone in notifying sightings or sending photos of this rare bee. Caithness and Sutherland are the last places on the UK mainland where this rare bee can be found, so are particularly special. It would be great to reach as many people as possible to raise awareness of the bee and encourage people to look out for it, as it will visit gardens.  He said, "I was up in Caithness at the start of Scottish Biodiversity Week and did a talk at the Park Hotel in Thurso. I will be up again in the summer."
The blog is at

28 April 09
Caithness Biodiversity Group is a collection of people who work with or care about our countryside.

Members include the Highland Council countryside rangers, representatives from:- Scottish Natural Heritage, R.S.P.B., Forestry Commission Scotland, The Environmental Research Institute, and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.

As well as the professionals, we have members who are enthusiastic skilled amateurs and they provide inspiration to all the group.

What do we do?
1.We support and encourage the countryside rangers in their valuable work with schools.
2. We monitor and collect information about species in our area e.g. Moths, water voles, and native Aspen Woods.
3. We encourage the planting and caring for small areas of wild flowers, by research and growing local wild flower seed.
4. We liaise with other groups around Scotland and exchange information e.g. on non-native invasive species (Himalayan balsam for example) .

In 2009 we are continuing our work with schools, wildflower habitat enhancement and are focusing on Bumblebees.
All of these projects rely on the help of willing volunteers.

Biodiversity week 16th - 24th May 2009
The very rare Great Yellow Bumblebee has been seen along the coast of Caithness and this year we want to learn more about this bee and we need your help!
We need volunteers who can spend a few days in June, July , and August looking for and identifying bumblebees along the coast from Reay to Dunnet head.
If you are interested in helping with this important project, there will be two training days. The first day is May 2nd when Tony Bradford has agreed to lead a basic session . The second day is Sunday May 17th at the start of Biodiversity week when Bob Dawson from the Bumblebee Conservation Trust will lead a training walk for volunteers. Bob Dawson will also give a public talk on Monday 18th at 8pm in the Park Hotel, Thurso

For times and venues and to register your interest, please contact:- The secretary, Caithness Biodiversity Group tel: 07724989423 or email: phyllidaq@btinternet.com

17 February 09
Northern Aspen Woods Surveyed - Sutherland’s Fairy Glen Aspens

A group of keen aspen enthusiasts spent their Valentine’s Day in Woodland Trust Scotland’s Fairy Glen wood at Spinningdale on the hunt for rare aspen trees. The day was part of Golspie based North Highland Forest Trust’s Northern Aspen Woods project, which aims to show local people how and why they might encourage and manage aspen in the woods of Sutherland and Caithness. The aspen project is one of 24 separately funded projects being undertaken in Highland with assistance from the Highland Biodiversity Partnership. The project is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund, and receives match funding from The Highland Council, Scottish Natural Heritage, Highlands & Islands Enterprise and RSPB Scotland.

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