Wildlife on Bennachie Project
The Bailies are keen to encourage local people who want to improve their wildlife identification skills and who are willing to submit records of their wildlife encounters on Bennachie.
In 2017 the Bailies set up the Bennachie Wildlife Group, helped by a grant from the players of the People’s Postcode Lottery. The aim of the group is to discover more about local wildlife.
The group has trail cameras spread over Bennachie that record the wildlife living on the hill all year round. The cameras continue to show the importance of Bennachie as a home for many animals even if we don’t see them very often because they are avoiding contact with people. The cameras collect data about these species in a very unobtrusive way without disturbing them. The cameras regularly take pictures of roe deer, badgers, foxes, pine martens and red squirrels and occasionally snap birds too. This wildlife information is valuable because the Bailies can use it to encourage wildlife-friendly management of the hill and to protect the hill from inappropriate developments. We are grateful to Forestry and Land Scotland and other landowners for giving us permission to locate our cameras on land they own.
Trail Cameras- the Bailies have trail cameras to loan to members prepared to look after the cameras, set them up on Bennachie, regularly check what they find and submit the wildlife records, we will train people how to use the cameras to record wildlife. These records are collated by the North East Biological Records Centre (NESBReC) which manages a database of all wildlife for NE Scotland. It is the NESBReC data which is used for assessing the environmental impact of projects such as the dualing of the A96 or pylon routes or windfarms.
In February 2018 the group started helping Keziah Hobson from Aberdeen University with her PhD study on pine martens. Pine martens have re-appeared on Bennachie in the last decade after a long absence. Keziah’s research is focusing on the recovery of pine martens, looking at how population density varies within landscapes with different land uses, as well as estimating population demographics including individual survival, turnover, and recruitment.
The forests surrounding Bennachie are one of her three study areas, the Bennachie wildlife volunteers have helped her put up feeder boxes baited with food to attract pine martens
Our resident tracking experts, Lizzie and Willow run mammal tracking course’s for the group. These inspirational courses are an excellent way to give local people the skills to identify signs and tracks of wildlife they hardly ever see.
John our resident bird expert leads groups on walks to identify Birds on Bennachie
David, our resident plant expert, ran a master class on bogs on Bennachie for the group.
Under David’s expert tuition the group are no longer bamboozled by bogs and heathlands, but have expert discussions on plant taxonomy, habitat classification and management. And they are always keen to learn more.
We are now developing a programe for future Events. Everyone is welcome, all we ask is that people become members of the Bailies of Bennachie
If you want to help the Bailies find out more about the wildlife on Bennachie then please Contact Us for details.
Inspired by both the work and dedication of James MacKay MBE who both recorded and enjoyed wildlife on Bennachie we applied for this grant.