Exploring the wildlife of Loch Stiapabhat

Identifying bugs and beasties.
Identifying bugs and beasties.

ON a typically wet and windy Hebridean morning the Biological Recording Activity Day was recently held at Loch Stiapabhat, Ness as part of Action Earth, a campaign organised by Community Service Volunteers (CSV) to get more people involved in practical biodiversity and environmental projects.

The event was organised by Curracag (Outer Hebrides Natural History Society) to encourage people to take part in biological recording and contribute to the newly formed Outer Hebrides Biological Recording Project.

The emphasis was firmly on the practical and volunteers were soon equipped with dipping nets, trays and collecting jars. The aim was to investigate the freshwater life of Loch Stiapabhat.

Age is no barrier to experiencing the thrill of discovering the wildlife beneath your feet and volunteers ranged from children to senior citizens, who were soon engrossed in looking at Water Boatmen, Pond Skaters and Sticklebacks and identifying water plants such as Horsetails, Marsh Pennywort and Water Mint.

October may not be the best time of year for experiencing the full range the wildlife at the Loch Stiapabhat Local Nature Reserve, apart from the migratory birds, however it provided an opportunity to demonstrate biological recording methods and its importance in helping to protect wildlife.

The volunteers discovered that biological recording is fun; can be a family activity, and you can do it anywhere and anyone can take part - you don’t have to be an expert.

If you would like to learn more about biological recording in the Outer Hebrides visit: www.ohbr.org.uk.

Curracag will be organising more activity days next year, so if you’d like to join in the fun check the Curracag website events page: www.curracag.org.uk/events.html.