Fun Fact Friday!

Small and furry, this weeks #factfriday is all about the great yellow bumblebee (Bombus distinguendus).

Historically, this bee was found through most of the UK but now it can only be seen in the far North of Scotland and a few areas of Western Ireland.

They are distinguished by their mustard-yellow bodies with a wide black band inbetween the wings.

The Great yellow bumblebee emerges late in comparison to other bee species. Queens are usually seen from mid-June and will feed onnectar before searching for a suitable nest.

Queens will use old mouse nests, rabbit burrows and other holes under grass tussocks as nest sites. Nest density is estimated to be no more than 1 to 2 nests for every square kilometre of suitable habitat.

Fun Fact Friday

This week’s #FactFriday is all about the Hen Harrier (Circus cyaneus).

The Hen Harrier is one of the UK’s most threatened raptors due to declines in their habitat and persecution from gamekeepers as a crucial part of their diet comes from grouse chicks.

Males are a blue-grey colour with a pale underside and black tips to their wings. Females are a mottled brown colour and are often called ‘ringtails’ due to the distinctive banding on their long tails. They have a large wingspan of up to 1-1.2 metres and feed mainly on vertebrates such as voles and small birds.

They can be found on upland heather moorlands of Scotland, including many of the Hebridean islands, Wales, Northern Ireland, Northern England, and the Isle of Man.

During the 19th century, Hen Harriers were eradicated on Scotland’s mainland due to the popularity of game hunting estates, but in recent years there has been greater protection of these magnificent birds of prey. However, not enough is being done to protect these birds and numbers are continuing to decline.

The Hen Harrier is currently included on the Red List meaning that they are of the highest conservation priority.

Born Free Talk on the 26.11.20

Join us for this talk from Ian Redmond OBE, who will talk about the different roles within Born Free and the projects they work on as well as touching on his experiences as a ‘reluctant conservationist’.

Check out the link below to see the kind of work they are involved with:

The link will also be sent out closer to the time

Fun Fact Friday

This weeks #factfriday we’re getting slimy and introducing the slow worm (Anguis fragilis)!

While slow worms may look exactly like a snake, they are in fact legless lizards through which convergent evolution has acted, making them look so similar! They can be identified as lizards through the ability to shed their tails and blink.

These reptiles can live up to 20 years and are found in heathland, tussocky grassland and woodland edges.

Slow worms are smaller than snakes and have smooth, golden-grey skin. Males are paler in colour and sometimes have blue spots, while females are larger, with dark sides and a dark stripe down the back.

Love the Oceans Talk Tonight @6pm

Come join us to learn about getting involved with Love the Oceans! Love The Oceans is a non-profit marine conservation organisation in Guinjata Bay, Mozambique. We use research, education and diving to drive action towards a more sustainable future. We offer a cutting edge volunteer program that gives individuals the chance to work alongside our marine biologists and the local community helping with conservation and research.Volunteers gain experience through our research and community outreach over the space of 2 – 6 weeks (plus an optional extra week including 5 nights in the world famous Greater Kruger Natural Ecosystem!).

As a volunteer, you form an essential part of our team. You will rotate around our principal activities of:
– Fisheries data collection
– Megafauna surveys
– Coral reef surveys
– Teaching and painting at the local schools
– Teaching swimming lessons to local children and adults

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity that will not only give you hands on practical experience that you will not get elsewhere, but also a leg up in the world of conservation careers!Visit the website to learn more before the talk!

Fun Fact Friday

Is it a bird? Is it a butterfly? No its a six-spot burnet moth for this weeks #factfriday !

These little guys are part of a group of many burnets including the five spot burnet and the new forest burnet which look very similar, however, they are the only British burnet with 6 spots. They are more rarely found with yellow spots.

They are common in Scotland and you can spot them in the daytime when the sun is out, in grasslands or meadows, feeding on flowers like thistles, knapweeds and scabious

They may look pretty but the red spots on the burnets wings signal to predators that these moths mean damage. When attacked they release hydrogen cyanide

Fun Fact Friday

This week we are focusing on the basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus)!

This shark is the second largest living shark despite being a filter feeder, feeding off plankton. It has an enlarged mouth and numerous, small teeth (about 100 per row).

They are common visitors to Scotland during the summer months and various basking shark tours operate, giving tourists (and locals) the chance to see these giant animals.

Fun Fact Friday

Its #factfriday ! This week we are introducing the ring necked parakeet (Psittacula krameri) This species is a non-native invasive species and is the UK’s only naturalised parrot species. The species have become popular pets since the 1800’s, the ones we see in the wild today have either been deliberately released or have escaped.

They are often found in flocks in UK parks, and have made quite a home, particularly in the south-east of England. If you want to see them in Glasgow there are around 20-30 in Victoria Park in the west end, listen out for their loud and unmistakable calls.

You wouldn’t think this species would thrive in the UK but despite their tropical origins of the southern Indian subcontinent, they have fully adapted to cold but mild British winters and thrive in suburban parks where they feast on berries, seeds, nuts and fruit.

There are an estimated 8,600 breeding pairs within the UK. They are a medium sized species of parrot with a length of 38-42cm and a wingspan of 42-48cm. They are thought to be the northernmost species of parrot.

Concerns on how they may pose a threat to native wildlife within the UK and how they may impact fruit farmers is unknown, but so far there have been no reported issues of concern, and their populations are being continuously monitored. Despite being an alien species, they are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act.