The RSPB's Dan Brown helps prepare the ground for the wildflower meadow. Photo David Palmar/www.photoscot.co.uk
Bo’ness & Kinneil Railway has joined up with theIFLI to create a new wildflower meadow that will make Bo’ness Station and Museum of Scottish Railways a haven for wildlife and a beautiful place for people to visit by next summer.
The work is taking place as part of IFLI’s RSPB-led Wildlife Connections project, which works with landowners around the inner Forth to help them make their land better for wildlife. The meadow is being planted because we have lost 97% of our wildflower meadows in the UK since the 1930s, with a massive 40% lost in Scotland in just over 20 years to 2005. As a result we have also lost more than two thirds of our wild bees, butterflies and other insects, which rely on this once-common habitat to nest and feed. As these creatures are also vital pollinators of the crops that we need to feed ourselves, it is crucial that we find ways to bring back our wildflowers.
Working in partnership with the Bo’ness & Kinneil Railway, IFLI has planted a wildflower meadow along the path to the entrance of the museum. It hopes to plant more around Bo’ness station in spring next year. Beyond the benefits this will provide to our native plants and animals, at the height of summer - when wildflowers are in full bloom - the riot of colour and the buzz and hum of the insects will provide a stunning display that should delight visitors to the museum.
The RSPB’s David Anderson said: “It is great to be working with Bo’ness & Kinneil Railway (BKR) to create new wildflower meadows around Bo’ness station. The meadows will look spectacular when they are in bloom, but even more importantly, the Railway will be making a significant contribution to improving the site for the bees, butterflies and other wildlife that are having such a hard time at the moment. We hope that through working with us, BKR will help to show other landowners the benefits of creating these wildlife meadows for people and wildlife. We would be delighted to hear from any other landowners or managers around the Inner Forth area who would like to find out more about how they too can create a meadow.”
Julia Stephen of the Bo’ness & Kinneil Raiway, added: ‘We’re pleased to be part of this project and can’t wait for Spring to see the wildflower meadows start to grow.’
A nature reserve near Fallin is now even better for wildlife thanks to work that has been carried out by Butterfly Conservation Scotland through the Inner Forth Landscape Initiative.
If you have visited Butterfly Conservation Scotland’s nature reserve at Wester Moss, near Fallin, recently you will have noticed the surprising sight of a large orange digger in the middle of the bog! It’s not something you expect to see on a nature reserve, but this digger was working very much for the benefit of the wildlife of Wester Moss.
The digger has created a 500m bund that sweeps round the southern edge of the Moss in a large arc. The bund will help to stop water from draining away – and it is water that’s essential to the health of lowland raised bogs like Wester Moss. Butterfly Conservation Scotland hopes that by making the Moss wetter it will encourage more sphagnum mosses, the building blocks of the bog, to grow, and prevent trees and scrub from invading and shading out this vital ingredient of this rare habitat. This in turn will encourage the wildlife that relies on it to flourish, including rare butterflies and moths like large heath butterfly.
The work was co-funded by IFLI, through the Heritage Lottery Fund, and Ecoco LIFE (funded by the European Community). You can find out more on IFLI’s website at www.innerforthlandscape.co.uk, and at Butterfly Conservation Scotland's website.
Photo courtesy of David Palmar/www.photoscot.co.uk
The inaugural Inner Forth Festival came to a close at the end of September, bringing to an end our month long celebration of the fantastic people and magnificent landscape that we have the privilege of living among. It was a hectic few weeks but also immensely enjoyable, with a huge range of events showcasing what the area has to offer and just why it’s so special. From the amazing launch event, cruising up the river on the Maid of the Forth, to the spectacular surroundings of Culross Palace where we brought the festival to a close searching for bats amidst the buildings of the historic town.
The festival was a mix of practical hands-on experiences, talks, walks, conferences and training events, which focused on the natural world, history, heritage and culture. There was something for every age group and every ability level, whether you were a budding naturalist out for a bug hunt, a walker or cyclist enjoying your first jaunt around a new area, or a seasoned expert discussing meadow creation or the best way to interpret ancient artefacts.
Of course it’s not a proper festival if you come home clean, so there were also plenty of chances for people to get their hands dirty with RSPB conservation volunteering, scrub bashing at Kinneil Lagoons, a beach clean, and a range of options to try your hand at archaeological research techniques – something 196 volunteers and 280 schoolchildren did during the two week dig at Cambuskenneth Abbey.
Overall, over 1000 people attended the 27 events we included in our promotional leaflet, impressive numbers for a newborn festival!
Photo David Palmar/www.photoscot.co.uk
Looking for something to do over the school half term? How about a wildlife adventure, or a sunset stroll, at the RSPB’s newest nature reserve, our very own Black Devon Wetlands? On 13 and 15 October IFLI and RSPB Scotland will be leading two free events - a family wildlife adventure packed with children’s games and activities, and a guided evening wildlife walk to discover some of the birds and other animals that venture out at dusk.
The free Family Wildlife Adventure will begin at 10am and run until midday on Tuesday 13 October. There will be lots of games and activities to keep children amused and encourage them to enjoy the wonderful nature on their doorstep. The free Evening Wildlife Walk will focus on looking for some of the wildlife species which are part of making this such a special place for nature, many of which are much more easily spotted in the evening. It will take place between 4.30pm and 6.30pm on Thursday 15 October. For both events people should meet at the small car park on the junction of Bowhouse Road and Riverside View in Alloa.
The RSPB’s David Anderson, who will be leading the events commented “It is so exciting to introduce new people to the wildlife at RSPB’s newest reserve at Black Devon Wetlands. As part of the Inner Forth Landscape Initiative we will be working to improve this site for wildlife and people over the next few years, and these walks will highlight the fantastic wildlife people can experience right on their doorstep.”
These events are part of a suite of activities that will be organised over the next three years as part of IFLI’s Like the Back of My Hand project. The project aims to reconnect people with some of the special places that are sometimes overlooked within the Inner Forth, and is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of the National Lottery.
Image copyright Andy Hay www.rspb-images.com