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International Biodiversity Day


This International Biodiversity Day, our Ecologists Glenn Norris and John Allsopp took a few minutes out of their typical monitoring work to look for some unusual species that can be spotted on some of our windfarms:


Black Darter – one of very few dragonflies found in northern Scotland.  They have suffered a population decline over the last 50 years so their presence at Beinn Tharsuinn Windfarm is an excellent indicator of the quality of the bog pools there where they lay their eggs and develop their larvae.

Fencepost stonefly – Stoneflies are excellent indicators of some of the cleanest running water in the countryside. The larvae struggle to cope with excess silt or chemical run-off so it was great to see this one on the deer-fence gate at our Dersalloch Windfarm.  Once emerged from their aquatic larval stage, nearby fence posts can attract tens of stoneflies as they get together to make the next generation.

Four-spotted Orbweaver – This is the heaviest spider in Britain.  An adult female full of eggs, like this one, can weigh up to 2.5g and with the equally large webs they can catch considerable amounts of flying insects.  As a way of avoiding the worst of Scottish showers, they construct a silk tent in the corner of their web, waiting for the sun and their insect prey to return.

Wind farm tracks – tracks are an unnatural aspect of the habitats in which windfarms are built, yet the way they penetrate into upland habitats has unintended positive consequences for a range of wildlife.  These regularly disturbed areas are great for pioneering plants like Colt’s-foot, which in turn provides nectar and pollen for invertebrates.  The Colt’s-foot-specked tracks enable pollinators to use this spring resource that would otherwise be unavailable.

Devil’s-bit Scabious– Our Dersalloch windfarm has an incredibly interesting flora - it’s mostly blanket bog over several metres of peat dominated by heather, sphagnum and Blaeberry. A necklace of bedrock islands spread throughout the area break through the surface and harbour a completely different community of plants.  This Devil’s-bit-scabious has made it’s home in the wet flush running over one of the rocks and stands out because it’s a genetic aberration; it exhibits a creamy white flower.

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