Bumblebees an (Old) Worthy cause

Our Scottish Conservation Officer, Michelle, has taken some time out of her busy schedule to fill us in on her recent adventures. Read on to find out what she's been up to...

As the bumblebee season draws to a close for another year, I spent September trying to fit in as many site visits, meetings and events as humanly possible.   No-one said the Scottish Conservation Officer post was going to be easy.

The month started with a visit to Orkney.  Eileen Summers from the Orkney Wildflower Group put me to good use collecting wild flower seeds and planting 100’s of plug plants grown from seed she had collect last year.  Eileen is a very inspiring lady.  I saw my first Orkney Great yellow bumblebee on a visit to the RSPB Brodgar Nature Reserve and I finished my week at the Orkney Science Festival Family Day – thanks to everyone we came along to find out about bumblebees.

My next trip was to Skye which only has one record of Great yellow bumblebee from 2004.  I was there to give a presentation on bumblebee friendly farming practices at the SAC Hill Cattle Open Day.  Unfortunately the weather was not behaving, so no bumblebees were seen. I gave my presentation in a cowshed – the most unusual place I have given a presentation to date.  

Giving my presentation in the cow shed!

While I was on the Isle of Skye I took the opportunity to meet some of the producers of Old Worthy Beer who are kindly sponsoring Bumblebee Conservation Trust.   Old Worthy is a Scottish pale ale with a twist produced at the Isle of Skye Brewery.  The Old Worthy Brewing Company is donating 1p from every bottle of Old Worthy sold to Bumblebee Conservation Trust.  

I then travelled to Applecross where I was busy planning some partnership work with the Applecross Landscape Partnership Scheme. I got a quick chance to look round the Applecross Walled Garden, which was full of bumblebee friendly planting and Common carder bees.

My final trip to the north of Scotland was to take part in the Wild North Festival. This is a grassroots community festival that aims to highlight the natural beauty of the North Highlands and its wildlife treasures.  The Great yellow bumblebee is of course the jewel in the crown for the area, in my humble opinion.  There is a fantastic joint exhibition on the history of beekeeping in Caithness and bumblebees at Castletown Heritage Centre that runs until 14th October as part of the Festival.

I ran a joint ‘Bumblebee’ event with the Highland Rangers at Melvich Village Hall for the Festival.  Highland Ranger, Paul Castle, brought along an amazing Great yellow bumblebee game that kept everyone entertained.

I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who has supported Bumblebee Conservation Trust in Scotland.  I look forward to seeing you all again soon.

BfE Conservation Officer, Scotland

A Common carder bee at Applecross Walled Garden

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