A few pictures from the recent SWT Lothians visit to Aberlady Nature Reserve.
In February SWT had a presence at Linlithgow’s Seed Potato Day. Burgh Beautiful and Transition Linlithgow are promoting the use of peat-free compost and calling on gardens to help protect the environment. From June TL will have a bed in the centre of the town ‘Protecting our Peatlands’. Do visit the town and see its excellent hanging baskets, all with peat-free compost, and its many colourful and creative barrels and beds. Burgh Beautiful has taken on all of West Lothian Council planters and beds and is always looking for more volunteers to help add to the wildlife aspects of this historic town.Averil Stewart
On retiring in 2002 it was a great delight to linger over dishes when really watching birds at our feeders in the back garden. I wrote then for LT about the joy of watching a tree creeper on our splendid Betula albo-sinensis.
In September 2015 these delights were surpassed by what became almost daily sightings of a Nuthatch. It made frequent visits at different times of day and was last seen in late October.
Checking out with the Scottish Ornithologists Club reveals that the recently published 2013 Lothian Bird Report says there were only six Nuthatch reported for West Lothian that year, five of which were at Hopetoun House. In East and Midlothian it is widespread. But in West Lothian, Allan Finlayson of Lothian Bird News confirms the Nuthatch is still a rarity, although he heard one calling in Wester Shore Wood, Blackness, on 24 August. Gavin Stewart also heard one at Abercorn on 1 October.
Please keep your eyes open for this delightful little bird with slate back and buff belly, sharp beak and eye-stripe. Be enchanted by the way it hangs upside down when feeding, and do note that sunflower hearts seem to be irresistible.
This is a major campaign supported by SWT, the Marine Conservation Society, the National Trust, RSPB, and WWF. So far the campaign has resulted in the designation of 30 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) around Scotland’s coasts. The next phase, up for public consultation until January, is to decide how these MPAs will be managed. The most damaging practices affecting the marine environment are fishing by trawling and dredging. I have been a scuba diver in Scotland for 28 years and have seen the results – imagine a bulldozer working over your favourite wildlife reserve – that is what trawling and dredging does to the marine environment but of course almost no one including fishermen, sees the damage. Experience in England shows that unless the conservation bodies strongly resist the fishing lobby, these damaging practices will continue in MPAs so the ‘protection’ will be meaningless.
Please take time to look at the Save Scottish Seas website and sign up to the campaign. Even better would be to email/write to your MSP.
Gordon Swann , Secretary SWT Lothian Group.
Tom Inglis is a keen walker and observer, he writes regular notes on the interconnections between the local environment, history, weather and wildlife.