During this year’s visit I have been involved in a multitude of activities.
This is the second summer I have completed work experience at the Kilchoan Enterprise. It was good to be back and see the vast progress that has been made.
The oyster survey is conducted once a month with volunteers from the local community. Across the shingle beaches native oysters have been further introduced; random quadrats are thrown in the area to get an estimation of the local population. Then they are weighed, measured and logged before being released again.
The moth trapping is also conducted monthly. We set up the trap the day before in order to catch them overnight. The next morning we logged all the moths one by one, removing the light and the egg boxes which they use to hide in. We then recorded the individuals and number of species.
I had the opportunity to do some beekeeping in Melissa’s garden with Luke, monitoring the Scottish Black Bees, a native species which will be transferred to larger hives due to the colonies increasing in population.
Bird ringing was done as a part of training for a Kilchoan estate worker. This was done with experienced Ornithologists on a nearby popular bird site. We set up multiple mist nets used to catch birds and documented details such as the species, sex, weight and wing length. We recorded a number of species of birds:- Great Tit, Blue Tit and Wren.
I was particularly pleased to initiate and help set up multiple transects (survey routes) for reptile species in the numerous plantations at Kilchoan. This was done by scouting suitable areas within each plantation for the route, then recording these routes on a GPS and downloading them onto the QGIS (Quantum Geographic Information System) and placing heat-traps at the start and end of all transects.
This new database links together with iNaturalist to allow easier recording by any interested visitors. I created a methodology/guide for future volunteers to conduct the surveys; this included common reptile species and their identifiers.
It was a great summer; I have learnt a lot with the great team at Kilchoan and hope to return again soon.