ATMOS Consulting is celebrating winning a contract to monitor site conditions for upland breeding birds at six of Scottish Natural Heritage’s (SNH) designated sites across the Highlands.
The six Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) included in the contract are Beinn a’ Ghlo, Coire Bhachdaidh, Eastern Cairngorms, Glen Callater, Morven & Mullachdubh and Creag Meagaidh; the project will be managed from Atmos Consulting’s Inverness and Edinburgh offices.
Symbolic for many people of Scotland’s wild uplands, the golden eagle is a powerful and agile hunter and the best known of the protected species.
Yet Scotland’s extensive areas of uplands and moorlands also support a range of species found in few other places.
Parts of the uplands are also of national and international importance for their concentrations of breeding waders, including golden plover and dunlin; while the high mountain tops are home to rare breeding species including dotterel and ptarmigan.
Key to the SNH decision to appoint Atmos was the consultancy’s extensive experience in field ornithology; field work to benchmark current conditions is naturally an integral part of the contract.
Atmos also demonstrated a pragmatic approach to consulting with local stakeholders including raptor study groups and the RSPB, which will be consulted to capture the immeasurable wealth of knowledge and information they have.
This is combined with the consultancy’s 18-strong team of field ecologists’ ability to put boots on the ground where no reliable historical data exists.
Inverness-based Atmos senior ecologist James Bunyan, who led the bid, said: “Site condition monitoring for breeding birds in these SSSIs is vital if we are to understand and protect these threatened species, and evaluate the effectiveness of important conservation areas.
“This is work that is close to the hearts of so many of the ecologists on our team, and we look forward to working with SNH in the coming years.”