November, 2013

Our work

Our work
You might be surprised to read that our work is far broader than nature reserves and Big Garden Birdwatch. Read more about what else we do.

Scottish Nature Notes

Keep up to date with the latest wildlife and nature news in Scotland. Regular blogs from RSPB Scotland's conservation teams across the country. Writing about Scotland's amazing wildlife & natural environment.
  • RSPB Scotland photography competition

    Introducing a brand new photography competition!

    Are you inspired by nature and wildlife across Scotland? If so, why not enter RSPB Scotland’s photography competition? All donations received will go to support wildlife conservation in Scotland.

    Competition Categories

    • Giving Nature a Home
    • People and Nature
    • Animal behaviours
    • Wildscapes

    The competition is FREE to enter and you  may choose up to 3 categories. There will be one winner and one runner up from each category.

    If you would like to make a suggested donation of £5.00 towards our wildlife conservation work in Scotland, please visit:

    All photographs will automatically be entered into the running to win the RSPB Scotland Photographer of the Year 2013!

    Competition closing date 30 December 2013

    Read on for details of judging panel, prizes, under-18s competition and full Terms & Conditions.


    The winner from each category will win:

    • A 'money can’t buy RSPB experience' with some of our specialist staff (Summer 2014).
    • Specially commissioned copy of winning image.
    • Image featured in RSPB Scotland Photography competition calendar 2015.
    • Image featured in Scotland News magazine.
    • Endurance® PC Compact binoculars from Black and Lizars.
    • £250 voucher from photographic retailers Calumet Photographic.
    • A day with award winning wildlife photographer Dean Bricknell – learning tips/hints on this fantastic medium.


    Under 18’s competition

    If you are aged under 18 years old and a keen photographer enthused by the beauty of nature and wildlife, then this is the competition for you.

    The theme for this competition is Giving Nature a Home and the winner will receive the title of RSPB Scotland’s Young Photographer of the Year 2013.

    A runner up will also be chosen from this competition.

    Competition closing date 30 December 2013

    The prize

    • Specially commissioned copy of winning image.
    • Image featured in RSPB Wildlife photographer of the year calendar 2015
    • Image featured in Scotland News magazine
    • And much much more.....

    The runner up will also be featured in the RSPB Scotland Photography Competition calendar 2015

    Winner/Runners up – will be asked to submit original image/size in CD


    John Aitchison - Bafta winning BBC wildlife cameraman and photographer (Hebrides, Springwatch, Big Cat Diaries).

    Dean Bricknell - Wildlife & landscape Photographer, a lifelong passion for inspirational nature photography

    Andy Hay - RSPB photographer


    How to enter

     Please read the Competition Rules & Terms & Conditions

    E-mail digital images to

    Ensure you tell us the following information:

    • Which category you are entering (for the over 18s competition)
    • Where the photograph was taken
    • Your name
    • Your phone number
    • Your e-mail address
    • Date of Birth (for the under 18s competition)

    Hard Copies

    No smaller than 5x7 – Please post hard copies to:

    Lisa Dove,

    RSPB Scotland,

    2 Lochside View,


    EH12 9DH

    Please note – winners will either be contacted by e-mail or phone, therefore it is vital that you provide this information

    If you would like to make a suggested donation of £5.00 towards our wildlife conservation work in Scotland, please visit

    Your donation will help towards the ongoing conservation work of the RSPB. If we all act together, we can save nature and ensure that there is beautiful areas of Scotland to photograph in the future. Nature is amazing, please help us keep it that way.

    Competition closing date 30 December 2013

    RSPB’s Scotland’s Photography Competition Rules

    When submitting an image please follow the rules below, Thank you

    • This competition is a celebration of Scotland. It is open to everyone living anywhere but must be of Scottish imagery.
    • No shots of birds on nest, the welfare of the animal must come first
    • All photographs should accurately reflect the subject matter and the scene as it appeared, lets see it through your eyes not the tools of software.
    • No shots of captured animals.
    • No HDR (High Dynamic Range) Images.
    • No shots of pets
    • Pictures must not have been entered into other photographic competitions
    • Amateur photographers only
    • Any RSPB employee or their immediate family will be ineligible to enter
    • No wildlife or habitats should be harmed, put at risk, or unduly disturbed in the process of taking photographs. Further guidance is available at:
    • The detail of the photograph should not be altered, i.e. removing an insect from a bird’s beak
    • Full copyright title remains with the author/owner.  Please see full terms below regarding your entry and potential use of
    • Winners will be asked to submit original files
    • Entries must be submitted by 30 December 2013. Late entries will not be accepted Contributions featuring children under 18 can only be accepted if you are the parent or guardian; by accepting these terms and conditions you warrant that you are the parent or guardian and that you grant permission for the contribution to be treated according to the uses set out above.
    • The RSPB accepts no responsibility for entries which are lost or corrupted during upload
    • We cannot judge any pictures whose details have been entered incorrectly
    • The judge’s decision on all matters affecting this competition is final and legally binding
    • The results, winner’s name and town, will be published in Scotland News magazine and on the Scottish pages of the RSPB website
    • There is no cash alternative to the competition prize
    • Any winner who has not responded to notification within 21 days will forfeit their prize; a replacement winner will be selected from other entrants.

    Technical requirements

    • Noise free at 100% crop
    • No pixilation
    • JPEG
    • 900 pixels or approx 1028 pixels in width at longest edge
    • If submitting more than one image please compress to zip file
    • 850 KB’s

    Terms and Conditions

    • By submitting your contribution to the RSPB you agree to be legally bound by these terms and conditions
    • Full copyright title shall be retained by the Author of any submissions.  By submitting any contribution, you agree that the winning entries will be featured in the RSPB Scotland Photography Competition calendar, Scotland News, RSPB Scotland Photography Competition webpage and on Facebook in relation to the competition .  Permission will be sought and author credited where possible.  Any contribution provided will be non-confidential and in accordance with privacy restrictions set out in the RSPB’s Privacy Policy.
    • Any contribution must be your own original work, it must not infringe the rights of third parties including copyright, trade mark, trade secrets, privacy, publicity, personal or proprietary rights;
    •  If your contribution features other people who are recognisable, you are responsible for ensuring that you have their permission for the contribution to be treated according to the uses set out above. Contributions featuring children under 18 can only be accepted if you are the parent or guardian; by accepting these terms and conditions you warrant that you are the parent or guardian and that you grant permission for the contribution to be treated according to the uses set out above.

    The RSPB’s rights in relation to your contribution

    • Publication of your contribution will be at the RSPB’s sole discretion;
    • Save as expressly provided for in these terms neither the RSPB nor its trading subsidiary(ies) shall be liable for any direct, indirect or consequential loss or damage or for any costs, claims or demands of any nature whatsoever arising directly or indirectly out of the use of your contribution or any part thereof;
    • From time to time, the RSPB may run competitions, free prize draws and promotions in connection with its conservation work. In each case these will be subject to additional competition terms which will be made available at the appropriate time.
    • These Terms and Conditions (as amended from time to time) constitute the entire agreement between you and the RSPB concerning your contribution to “RSPB Scotland Photography Competition”. The RSPB reserves the right to update these Terms and Conditions from time to time and any updated version will be effective as soon as it is published on the Website.
    • The RSPB takes your privacy very seriously; we will only use your personal information in accordance with the terms of our Privacy Policy. By submitting a contribution to “RSPB Scotland Photography Competition”, you acknowledge and agree that you have read and accept the terms of our Privacy Policy and these Terms and Conditions.

  • Fungi facts

    Check out this fun-guy. Photo by Andrew Parkinson.

    Working for a nature conservation charity has its perks, particularly the chance to learn about our natural environment from experts sitting just a few desks away. At lunchtime the other day,  I attended a Fungi Forum presented by Chris Knowles, a trainee ecologist with RSPB Scotland. Chris specialises in fungi and has written a number of blogs over the course of the summer and it’s always interesting to discover more about the world of fungi and the many interesting varieties found on our reserves.

    What surprised me most is just how ubiquitous fungi are in our daily lives- yet we never lay eyes on the vast majority. Most fungi exist as hyphae (collectively mycelium) in the soil under our feet. The mushrooms, moulds and other visible forms are called 'fruit' and represent just a fraction of the fungi out there. Mycologists estimate there are around 1.5 million types of fungi on the planet but have only recorded about 100,000 so far...there's a long way to go!

    They provide us with life-saving medicine (penicillin), a food source (mushrooms, yeast for bread, mould for blue cheese), and a much needed service, rotting away billions of tonnes of plant material. Of course, not all are so helpful (athlete’s foot springs to mind) but lots provide us with a useful service.

    Chicken of the woods, one of the more conspicuous (and delicious) varieties of fungi. Photo by Niall Benvie.

    Get to know  this unique kingdom by taking the fungi fact quiz below. Answers are presented at the bottom of the page. I’d love to know how you get on, leave a comment below or tell us on Twitter @RSPBScotland.

    Fungi quiz:

    1. One of the largest organisms on the planet is a fungus. Can you name the variety and where it is found?
    2. Can you name the fastest organism on the planet?
    3. How many types of fungi are found in the UK? How many of these are mushrooms?
    4. A not so pleasant question - can you name the number of species of fungus found on the human heel?
    5. How do fungi communicate?
    6. How many spores does the giant puffball fungus carry?
    7. Guess the price of the most expensive truffle sold.
    8. With every breath, how many fungi spores do you inhale?

    Fungi come in all shapes, sizes and colours. Crimson waxcap by David Osborn.


    Answer key:

    1. It’s a Honey fungus found in Oregon, USA. It covers almost 2,384 acres and mycologists believe it is between 2,000 and 8,500 years old.
    2. The fastest organism on the planet is the hat thrower fungus (aka dung cannon). Near mid-day, when the sun is near its peak, the 2mm high fruit fires spores over 2 metres at a speed of 20,000Gs on the G-force scale.
    3. There are 12,000 known species of fungi in the UK and of these, 3,000 are mushrooms.
    4. 80! Don’t ask how many are found in toe-nail clippings.
    5. Fungi communicate by producing pheromones.
    6. A giant puffball fungus can carry over 7 trillion spores.
    7. The most expensive truffle every sold brought in £110,000 a kilo.
    8. With every breath we inhale thousands of fungi spores.


  • Limited edition pin badge to celebrate Livingstone's bicentenary

    Limited edition pin badge to celebrate Livingstone’s bicentenary

    photo via

    Calling all pin badge collectors!

    2013 is an important year as it is the bicentenary of the birth of David Livingstone, the famous 19th century explorer who travelled extensively through Malawi and southern Africa. To mark the anniversary, RSPB Scotland, in partnership with the Scottish Government and the Scotland-Malawi Foundation, are offering a limited edition pin badge of the beautiful Livingstone’s turaco, a bird of the subtropical lowland forests of the region , and named for David’s brother, Charles.

    All money raised from the sale of the pin badge will go to support  the BirdLife Partner for Malawi, The Wildlife and Environment Society of Malawi (WESM). The organisation works to introduce the public to the wonderful wildlife in the country and promote wise management of natural resources and the environment.

    Sales of the turaco pin badge will assist WESM with their scholarship programme for students at University of Malawi ensuring that students with an interest in biodiversity are able to study and go on to help nature conservation in the country .

    The limited edition pin badges are available by emailing or by phoning Nicki Wilde on 0131 317 4100. The badges will also be available at select events throughout the year.