Tayside Biodiversity e-news Summer 2019
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Tayside Biodiversity E-News Summer 2019

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.


Let us know where you have seen a swift this summer -

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

Dates For Your Diary

Dundee Food & Flower Festival
6th to 8th September
Come and visit us in the Woodlands4Yew marquee

Carse of Gowrie Orchard Festival
Megginch, by Errol
Sunday 20th October
13th Tayside Wildlife Recorders’ Day,
Perth Museum - Saturday, 21st March 2020.
Booking details will be available in the New Year

The Future of the Partnership
We have had very troubling news that Angus Council will be withdrawing its funding of the Partnership as of the end of March 2020; at the moment we are reliant on both Angus and Perth and Kinross Councils to fund the Co-ordinator post and supporting costs (such as the website, volunteer expenses, etc). 

We are all working together to try and avert this and we will have more information in the next E-News. We have been extraordinarily lucky to have had such a supportive duo of local authorities for the past 20+ years and we hope, in some way, to continue working with the enthusiastic staff and councillors from Angus in the future. In the meantime, we are researching the potential to set up an environmental charity – which may well be the first time a Biodiversity Partnership has had to consider such a way forward.

If anyone has any experience in funding or setting up such an organisation – which will be community-orientated and focussed on fulfilling the 600 actions listed in the current Tayside Biodiversity Action Plan - please contact Catherine at

Swift Projects in Perth & Kinross
The second phase of the Pitlochry Swift Champions Project has just come to an end. We would not have been able to achieve what we did over two years without the sterling help of the Andie Millar Trust.  A series of walks with swift recording was undertaken, community mapping sessions achieved in the local library, and a number of nestboxes put up following work with local tourism providers, local businesses and householders. There is even the start of a School Swift Twinning project with contact now made with a school in Uganda.

Tayside Swifts is also working closely with the Crieff Swift Group and there is hope of funding becoming available to run another Swift Conservation Project. In the meantime, Hillcrest Housing Association’s 2019 donation to the Partnership was used to purchase new nest boxes for Crieff.  Andrew Rodger and Catherine Lloyd were also recently invited by the first Crieff Swift Business Champion - Glenturret Distillery - to see where their new swift nest box has been sited.

Nestbox on Rosemont Hotel. © D. Muir

Swift Awareness Week
We pulled out all the stops to take part in the 2nd UK Swift Awareness Week in June. Daniele Muir ran swift walks in Kinross, Muthill and Pitlochry.  RSPB Loch Leven invited Catherine to have a Tayside Swifts stand for the whole week in their Visitor Centre’s foyer, and the Earn Valley Swift Conservation Group ran a Save our Swifts event in Bridge of Earn where swift nest box kits could be bought.

The Cairngorms Nature Big Weekend
Over 2,000 people attended events over a weekend in mid-May. The Partnership invented the Swift Race especially for the weekend and re-published its colourful ID postcard to publicise it. As the official Swift Species Champion in Angus, Provost Ronnie Proctor kindly launched the Swift Race andTayside Swifts ran walks in both Aberfeldy and Kirriemuir.

Swift Race - Catherine Lloyd & Provost Proctor -  (c) C A G Lloyd

Angus Coastal Festival 2019
We have just launched the new programme for our 2nd Coastal Festival. As before, there is a variety of walks, talks and beach clean events. New this year are two Coastal Flowering Plants walks, and there are butterfly walks, geowalks and the ever-popular Sea Weed and Eat It event. We are excited to welcome back Julia Barton who, this year, will be displaying her LitterCUBE at Arbroath Harbour. Check out the programme online HERE or go to Eventbrite to book your free places –

Montrose Basin Tern Raft Restoration
EB Scotland has funded the refurbishment of the Montrose Basin Tern raft with a grant of £10,085.  The original raft was decommissioned in 2017 but thanks to the Scottish Wildlife Trust and ANGUSalive rangers, together with the support of SWT volunteers, the new raft was completed on schedule during April.  The raft could not be towed out to the preferred location owing to the lack of a suitable craft. Instead, it was hauled out just a short distance from the shore.  Although 80 Common terns were observed prospecting the raft in mid-May they did not nest as bad weather led them to leave.  There have been no terns nesting in Montrose at all this year but there are hopes they will return to the raft in 2020.


Images © of Scottish Wildlife Trust

The Tayside Church Yew Tree Project
In May the Partnership and the Perth & Kinross Tree Wardens Network were warmly welcomed at Megginch Castle to plant the first yew tree sapling to launch the new project. Carefully grown on by Fortingall Tree Wardens Neil and Rosie Hooper, it was planted near the castle’s chapel. Cuttings from the Fortingall Yew are being nurtured at the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh and in due course we will be working with churches taking part in a new phase of the Tayside Green Graveyard Initiative. So far Greyfriars Churchyard in Perth, Cairnbrae Natural Burial Ground near Kellas, and Old St Michaels in Crieff have confirmed they would like to host a Fortingall Yew cutting. We will also be working with EcoCongregation Scotland to choose the best sites but if you would like to propose a graveyard, please contact Catherine at

The media interest in the project was phenomenal, just because the renowned Fortingall Yew was involved!  We were heard on Radio 5 Live, BBC and STV News, plus the Perthshire Advertiser, Scotsman, Herald, Times and Independent all covered the story. Worldwide the Fortingall Yew gained even more fans with a mention in Conde Nast, Atlas Obscura, Ancient Origins and CNN!  We also hope The One Show will visit Fortingall next spring.

Planting the Yew sapling at Megginch and Blessing the Yew sapling in the chapel at Megginch - © C A G Lloyd

Small Blue and Kidney Vetch
Thanks to the Carnoustie Food is Free allotment group, some 240 Kidney Vetch plants are being grown on to be planted out later this year along the Barry Burn to Barry Buddon corridor. We have had a busy year of surveying for Small Blue butterflies, especially during the Scottish Small Blue Week in early June – and we are planning future plantings of Kidney Vetch to expand the corridor of plants along the coast.
PKC Biodiversity Ambassadors
A new scheme to help local authority staff embed biodiversity into their everyday work has been launched within Perth and Kinross Council.  Monthly lunch time get-togethers have welcomed people from across the council to hear presentations from both the new PKC Tree & Biodiversity Officer and Catherine from the Partnership. Patrick Higgins from PKC Greenspace has also mooted the proposal for a “10% for Wildlife” initiative; more on this in the future.

The monthly drop-in sessions are proving very popular and advice on biodiversity issues is available not just at these sessions but also via email and Yammer; there are also opportunities to hear everyone’s ideas for projects. The Partnership has arranged a series of “Learn More about Wildlife” events for the Ambassadors with the help of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, Buglife Scotland, British Dragonfly Society and the Angus County Recorder for Moths. No prior knowledge of the subject is expected of the Ambassadors, just a willingness to give up an hour or so to go along and meet an expert. There has been an excellent uptake of the events so far – the Ambassadors have enjoyed a lunch time BeeWalk and explored the South Inch pond for dragonflies! A recent ‘Magical Moths at Breakfast’ event was hosted by the Perth Station Biodiversity Garden - a moth trap set up the previous evening revealed over 12 species of moths.

Anyone within the local authority who would like further details, please contact Patrick Higgins on

Images - Moth Breakfast, Moth Breakfast and South Inch Dragonfly Hunt - all images © C A G Lloyd
Angus Species Champions
Following in the footsteps of MSP Species Champions, Angus’ own Species & Habitat Champions now number fifteen local elected members who over the past year have pledged their support for local biodiversity and are engaging in the various projects taking place across the county.

The search for Schools Species & Habitat Champions to join the Swift and Small Blue School Champions is now underway. Ladyloan Primary School is the new Angus Marine Litter Champion and we hope Ferryden PS may become the Bottlenose Dolphin Champion. More information can be found via
Montrose Basin Saltpans Grazing
Following concern from Site Condition Monitoring of the saltpans undertaken by SNH, the area is now being grazed at a reduced level. Highland ponies are still believed to be the best suited to the habitat - two ponies are now on site and the grazing will be reduced from mid-June to end August.  It is accepted that continued grazing of the area is key to maintaining the habitat.
Tayside Recorders’ Bulletin
We had a very interesting Recorders’ Day at Camperdown last March and Edward Dillon, the past TBP Biodiversity Assistant, prepared the 2019 issue of the Bulletin to go in the delegate packs. There is plenty to read in this latest issue – which can now be downloaded via
A date for your diary – the 2020 Tayside Recorders’ Day will be held in Perth Museum on 21st March. Everyone welcome! Booking will be via Eventbrite again, so from the New Year, keep an eye open on the “What’s On” section of the TBP website for the programme.
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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