Make your wildlife watching count!

If you enjoy spotting wildlife around the Inner Forth, there’s a new way to make those sightings help make a difference for nature in our area. The IFLI Forth Nature Counts project aims to help give a clearer picture of the wildlife that can be found in the Forth, through the IFLI iRecord scheme

By logging your wildlife sightings on the really easy-to-use on-line form, you will not only get an instant ‘dot’ on the map showing your sighting, but you’ll be able to see what other people in the area have spotted too. Over time you can build up a bank of your own records to look back on. Even more importantly, your records will play a part in building a much more complete and accurate picture of the natural heritage found throughout the Inner Forth area, and help organisations that use this ‘biological data’ to help protect our wildlife and the habitats it depends on. So it would be great if you would give the Inner Forth iRecord Form a go and share it with others.

But what happens once you have entered your records via the Inner Forth iRecord form? Essentially all inputted records are automatically checked and recorders will be made aware of any queries. Don’t think you’ve necessarily got it wrong if you receive one of these messages – it just means the species you think you saw may not be regularly seen at that time of year, or in that place, so the computer highlights that it needs verifying. It’s not all computer wizardry – additional checking is undertaken by humans – which is why IFLI are working with Buglife Scotland, who are doing that verifying and then submitting the data to the National Biodiversity Network Gateway . The NBN Gateway holds over 100 million records from around the UK – your record will contribute to this amazing resource!

If you are confident in identifying a species or taxa and could be tempted by volunteering as a verifier, do get in touch to find out more.

If you have any queries about  the IFLI iRecord scheme please feel free to contact Kate or Paul at IFLI on 01324 831 568 for more details. We have created a prompt card to help you remember your log-in details. You can download your own copy at http://www.innerforthlandscape.co.uk/projects/recording-celebrating/forth-nature-counts

To help get you started, we are busy planning a series of wildlife ID and species survey skills workshops for 2015. They will all be free thanks to our funding from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund! Booking is now open for our two February sessions, but many more will follow in the New Year e-newsletter:

Booking is essential and places are limited. Please book via Kate Fuller, or Paul Barclay, on 01324 831 568 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Discover the Secret Life of Devilla Forest

As part of IFLI's Like the Back of My Hand programme, which aims to help reconnect people with the natural world, we are inviting local people to join Laura Kubasiewicz, from Stirling Council, and Johanna Willi, of Fife Council, for a free guided walk to discover the secret life of Devilla Forest, near Kincardine in Fife. They are both very knowledgeable about mammals, and will be helping us find out how to spot the tracks and signs of the secretive red squirrels, foxes, pine martens, badgers and deer who share the forest with you. We may even be lucky enough to see some of them!

The event will be held on 2 December from 9-11am.  Meet at the Red Squirrel Walk car park on the A985. Well-behaved dogs are welcome. Contact Sue Walker at IFLI, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 01324 831568 for more details and to book your place. Booking is advisable as places are limited. The paths can be muddy after rain so please wear suitable footwear!

 

Bings for Wildlife

Fallin Bing, near Stirling is a haven for wildlife and people to use and enjoy, though remarkably it started life as a spoil heap for the once busy coal mine next door.  Through IFLI, Buglife’s Bings for Wildlife project is enhancing the number and variety  of wildflowers at this site even more, making it better for wildlife, particularly for pollinating insects such as bumblebees, butterflies and beetles. Over the last few months volunteers from The Conservation Volunteers have been helping Buglife plant over 1,300 wildflower plug plants there. A wide range of wildflowers has been planted, including early-flowering species like coltsfoot and lesser celandine, which will bring a welcome splash of bright gold to dull spring days, as well as the striking blues and purples of summer –flowering vipers bugloss and the softer yellows of common toadflax – which some people call ‘butter and eggs’!. More wildflowers are due to be planted  in the future , and scrub will be removed to further improve the site for wildlife and for people. For more information about this project visit the IFLI website page.

Love Our Ladybirds

In 2014, Central Scotland Green Network Trust (CSGNT) is celebrating ladybirds. Ladybirds are actually a kind of beetle, and though there are 46 species in the UK, only 26 of them look like ladybirds!  Fifteen different species are found in Scotland, of which six are common and widespread. The others are rarer and have very specific habitat requirements.

CSGNT has been taking a ladybird stand around community events with a range of information, hints, tips and activities that can help to improve gardens and publics spaces for different ladybirds. It has produced ‘Love Our Ladybird’ packs for 150 primary schools in the area, which are full of educational resources and tips on improving school grounds for ladybirds, survey guides, activity sheets and a kit to make a hibernation box. There are still 30 left, so if you are involved with a primary school, check out CSGNT’s website for details of how to get in touch.

On top of all that, it has been involved in several habitat creation projects, planting wildflower meadows and trees which are good for ladybirds, and encouraging everyone to take part in the Ladybird Survey. If you would like CSGNT to organise a ladybird survey for your site, or help in creating some ladybird habitat, see the website for details of how to get in touch.

Volunteer researchers wanted!

If you would like to help us unravel the fascinating history of trading on the Forth or coal mining in the area, please get in touch with Kirsty McAlister, our Cultural Heritage Officer, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We’re looking for volunteers to help with desk-based and oral history research. Training and mentoring (as well as cups of tea/coffee and biscuits!) will be provided, and volunteers will have the opportunity to contribute to a brilliant programme of events and activities too.

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