Linlithgow Seed Potato Day

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

22nd & 23rd January Collections

Dear Volunteers
I am delighted to report that 22nd & 23rd January collections at Tesco Colinton brought in the grand total of £857.38.  The Friday was such a filthy day not surprisingly there were fewer shoppers and donations less (£388.92).  However the following day was so much milder that there was almost £80 more (£468.46).  A few membership leaflets were given out and the hand puppets certainly entertained many of the shoppers besides children.  A very worthwhile couple of days.
A big thank you to those who gave up a couple of hours to raise much needed funds which help sponsor the lecture programme and help with management on local nature reserves such as Bawsinch and Petershill, Bathgate.
I hope to receive a couple more dates from Tesco HQ and elsewhere and will be in touch again.
Meantime we have held 11 days in this financial year and raised £4641.96, a marginal average drop from last year.
Again many thanks, warm regards and all the best for 2016
Averil Stewart

Linlithgow’s Nuthatch – is this a first?

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.

Averil Stewart

Save Scottish Seas Campaign

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.

Thank you,

Gordon Swann ,   Secretary SWT Lothian Group.