Tayside Biodiversity e-news Summer 2020
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Tayside Biodiversity E-News Summer 2020

Tayside Biodiversity
Tayside Biodiversity
Tayside Biodiversity
Tayside Swifts
Tayside Wildlife Recorders
Tayside Amphibian & Reptile Group


Who to Contact

Catherine Lloyd –

Tayside Biodiversity Partnership,
c/o Pullar House,
35 Kinnoull Street,
Perth, PH1 5GD.


Don’t forget to let us have your swift sightings from 2020 - Can’t tell a swift from a swallow? The same link will show you the difference!

Keep up to date with all the TayARG news via our Tayside Amphibian & Reptile Facebook page

Download your free BeeWild “Making Way for Nature” booklet via

Citizen Science in Lockdown

There is much we can all contribute even if our world has shrunk to our home, garden and local park or beach. Check these links to see if there is something for you to join in.


Our Tayside Wildlife Recorders' Day was cancelled in March, but we are discussing how best to run the event in the future. Keep in touch via the Tayside Wildlife Recorders Facebook page.

Wonderful Volunteers

Meetings moved online, more frequent phone calls and stacks of email correspondence – there has in fact been little change to our actual day to day work except that it is all home-based. However, with some of the projects necessarily on hold, it has been a wonderful opportunity to welcome a number of hard-working volunteers who might otherwise be at their own work or undertaking practical volunteering tasks outside.

One advert requesting help to update our Recorders’ Forum website introduced us and some of our partners to several new volunteers. A huge thank you to everyone who has kindly stepped forward. No names, but so far we have welcomed:
  • A University of Cumbria student who has updated the Recorders’ Forum Contacts List
  • Two furloughed ecologists who are helping Angus and Perth & Kinross Councils with desk-top research for the Local Nature Conservation Sites Review; one of the volunteers is now kindly reviewing the Marine Life website to bring it up to date
  • A volunteer based in England is researching contacts in Africa for our Swift School Twinning Project
  • Another volunteer in England is reviewing the Tayside Recorders’ Forum website pages
  • Our Swift survey data is about to be uploaded to a new national system by a local volunteer
  • And finally a volunteer will be looking into gullypot surveys in/around Errol and St Madoes as part of a future Amphibians in Ladder project.
New Survey

This year’s longer grass verges and wilder areas in public parks are getting lots of attention. There’s a new survey in Perth & Kinross gathering information on exactly what happens when we stop cutting. Please help by getting out and surveying your local area as soon as possible - abiding by COVID restrictions at all times of course! The survey form “Impact of Covid-19 on Biodiversity” can be downloaded here Click For PDF (there’s an information sheet here Click For PDF.  The results will help review Perth and Kinross Council’s management of these sites.
The Partnership welcomes examples of good verges and wildflower management from right across Tayside so either send photographs direct to or please add the information to the Social Pinpoint page here

Photo © C A G Lloyd
Perth Cathedral Garden Transformation

This project has been a long time in the making. Although there has been a wildlife corner at the cathedral for a number of years, once the roof restoration work was complete, John Blackie of Heritage Gardens could redesign the area.

A grant from the Mushroom Trust enabled the overgrown Leylandii trees to be removed and smaller ornamental trees to take their place. There is now a defined wildlife area welcoming visitors, especially children. Sturdy sleepers have been put all around the raised beds which are used by children from St Ninian’s Primary for growing vegetables and herbs. With the unstinting advice and encouragement from Catherine Lloyd from the TBP, a lovely new wildlife garden is now taking shape. Although there is still lots to do, and more money to be raised for new swift boxes, we are so happy to have reached this stage. 
Wendy and Jeremy Duncan
Photos © Christopher Dingwall
Scottish Small Blue Week

There has been excellent publicity across Scotland for our 4th Small Blue Week and social media has been veritably fluttering away daily with news and updates about Britain’s smallest butterfly! The events planned to train surveyors and raise awareness about early summer butterflies in general were of course shelved, but Anthony McCluskey from Butterfly Conservation Scotland did us proud by running three online Identification events. Over 100 participants joined in from across Tayside, northern Scotland, the Borders and even northern England – perhaps the way to go in the future in addition to on-the-ground survey site visits!

Photos © Stevie Smith (top - Small Blue adult; bottom – Small Blue egg)
Montrose Space for Nature

With 97% of Britain’s wildflower meadows lost since WW2 and the subsequent decline in many of our pollinators, this 3-year pilot project will see grass cut less frequently in the town which in turn will safeguard bees, butterflies and other insects. 

Green networks enhance the local communities’ quality of life, health and well-being but they also connect existing green corridors, especially through new developments.  With that in mind, the project will complement local active travel routes, focusing on a 2km stretch of cycle track running parallel to Montrose Golf Links. Changes in management will also take place at the Old Kirk Yard and the roundabout on the approach into the town. 

Brechin-based Scotia Seeds are kindly donating seeds and funding information panels to the project. Angus Council and the Tayside Biodiversity Partnership are encouraging residents (of all ages) to submit drawings of local wildlife and wildflowers for these panels. 

Angus Council has already reduced the overall quantity of chemicals applied in its parks and other open spaces to contribute towards Scotland’s Pollinator Strategy targets. The Council’s Meadow & Pollinator Champion, Cllr Beth Whiteside, said:
“The Council manages just under ten acres of sites as species-rich wildflower meadows.  By changing our grass cutting and grass collection regime, we can increase opportunities for nature. Where possible, we seek to restore grassland to wildflower diversity and allow new meadows to be created with nature leading the way.” 

Photos - Cycle Track, Montrose & Old Kirk Yard, Montrose © K A Dempsey

Student Project – ZoomIn2 Review

Every year a student steps forward from Dundee University to undertake a specially formulated 30-hour module. This year we welcomed amateur photographer Arjwan who undertook the task of reviewing our well-established time-lapse online project –  His observations and recommendations were passed to webmaster Clare who has started to update the website.

In the meantime, everyone is welcome to join in the project – find your favourite spot (a nearby tree, pond or garden view) and take a photograph every 4-6 weeks from exactly the same place and upload onto the ZoomIn2 website. After a year you will have a unique time-lapse!
PKC Biodiversity Ambassadors
Even though the group’s monthly lunch time meetings are in abeyance there has been no let-up in the interest shown by this lively group of just under seventy Perth & Kinross Council staff. Just before lockdown the garden sub-group regularly helped residents improve their courtyard at a nearby Sheltered Housing complex. Opportunities to take part in citizen science surveys are still shared and discussed, albeit within the Covid-19 restrictions. Plans are now afoot to introduce some online identification classes.
Forfar and Crieff Swift Conservation
Covid-19 is delaying plans for two of our Swift projects but we have a raft of swift nest boxes ready to be installed and a survey of Forfar’s town centre will hopefully take place as soon as possible. In Forfar we will be working with Angus Council’s Planning staff on the project and in Crieff we are working jointly with the Crieff Swift Project who are already rolling out a comprehensive survey.

Thanks are due to the Community Environment Challenge Fund without which we could not provide 30 swift nest boxes to sites in Crieff; the Town Centre Fund has given us a grant for the Forfar project.
Our original Programme of Events has had to be scrapped but all is not lost – we will still squeeze in a few walks and talks across Tayside before the swifts leave, so keep an eye open for details on our Tayside Swifts Facebook page.

As nest boxes need to be put up high on buildings, donations are urgently needed to pay for the hire of a cherry picker and operator.  We would be so grateful for any contributions, however small, to go towards this ongoing expense. Please help if you can!
New School BeeWild Project

With a new Perth & Kinross Council Food Growing Strategy being prepared,  the Tayside Biodiversity Co-ordinator was given the opportunity to liaise with 20 schools to see how best the Partnership’s BeeWild project could be shared. The aim of the project is to encourage pollinators in community and care home gardens, school grounds and allotments.

Catherine was keen to discover if any of the schools could include an orchard in their grounds as a Tree Council grant for fruit trees is about to be introduced. She will also be outlining a simple Action Plan to introduce herbs, vegetables, native trees and flowers with links to the Curriculum.  Although the Covid-19 lockdown has temporarily stalled the project, there will still be time to discuss the project later in the year. If your P&K school would like to be part of this please contact Catherine direct at

Photos © C A G Lloyd
Mind the Gap Hedgehog Projects
The Carnoustie & Barry Mind the Gap Project will start up again as soon as restrictions are eased, and the Forfar Hedgehog project is also on target to expand later this year.  In the meantime the Partnership has been working with A & J Stephen builders to plan an ambitious hedgehog highway through a new housing development at Scone, by Perth.

The TBP will be providing new Householder Packs to encourage not just making room for hedgehogs, but also urban wildlife in general. There is also an opportunity for the Partnership to work with the development’s show house gardener to demonstrate that wildlife gardening can be neat and tidy, and still create a home for nature.

If you have seen a hedgehog recently or have made a gap in your garden fence to let hedgehogs roam freely, please register with the UK Hedgehog Street project - and share your news on the Tayside Biodiversity Facebook page.
St Madoes – Our First Biodiversity Village
It was quite something to think that around 15 people would be turning up for the launch event of the new Biodiversity Villages project in February and then welcoming 90 people to pore over maps and hear ideas for transforming both Glencarse and St Madoes in the years to come! This is the pilot project for a much larger and all-encompassing initiative that will fit well with Perth & Kinross Council’s Perth Offer, the proposed new way of working more closely with citizens and communities.

Funding of £5k from the Community Investment Fund is helping the group purchase a number of trail cameras and enhance their village with biodiversity in mind. The group is currently drawing up its Action Plan, deciding which citizen science projects to get involved in, and TBP volunteer Julia Henriksson is helping improve the village’s media presence. This is only the beginning of this far-reaching project, so watch this space!

Photos © C A G Lloyd
With thanks to all the contributors for sharing their news. This edition has been compiled by Catherine Lloyd.
Feedback and contributions are very welcome (max 100 words) : please email here.
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