Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Making the Most of Moorlands - Work Experience

A week of work experience - Ruairi Hotson

7th - 11th November 2016

Ruairi followed Ciaran for another great week of work experience. During Ruairi's week he completed the following tasks: Filmed Waxwings and a Kestrel for the upcoming Langholm wildlife film, put up trail cameras to monitor various wildlife, built and installed a dipper nest box, sited and stocked a new wild feeding station at John's Bank, secured evidence of a satellite tagged Hen Harrier on the moor, continued to stock up the bird table and update the sightings board at Whitshiels, checked a woodland for signs of Long eared Owls, guided a local volunteer to enjoy sightings of Waxwings, Brambling and Hen Harriers and even braved the first snows of winter to check the hare feeding station, monitor raptors and even build a giant snow harrier!!

Ruairi has been a fantastic help all week displaying a great attitude and was a pleasure to work with. 

Ruairi wrote the report below following his placement:

During my work experience Rick and I done tasks like putting food out at the new bird table at Whitshiel's Cafe, laying out peanuts to attract different types of birds and squirrels at Longwood and took photographs of a type of bird called Waxwings in the co-op car park, the tall trees across from the co-op and the trees next to Border Fine Arts. We put out cameras to capture footage of different types of birds such as Black Grouse and Tawny Owl. We put up a camera to capture footage of the hares between back of Tarras and Newcastleton. In the last few days we set up our very own feeding station and put up a camera to see if anything was eating or coming nearby that area. Birds of prey that we seen during the week were Buzzards, Grouse, Pheasants, Kestrels, a tawny owl and many more  and even got to see a rare sighting of a Hen Harrier. During this week I have seen and heard amazing things and I have thoroughly enjoyed this experience, I would do it again and wouldn't mind having a job like this in the future. I would like to thank Rick for making it so fun and enjoyable and it has been a pleasure to work with him.

Many thanks to Ruairi for all his effort and hard work and we hope to see him back in Spring for some volunteering - Rick

Ruairi and the Snow Harrier!

Another fantastic Dipper box along the Tarras

Making the Most of Moorlands: Work Experience

A week of work experience - Ciaran Jackson

31st October - 4th November 2016

Ciaran joined me for a week of work experience on Monday 31st October and we kept him pretty busy! 

During his placement Ciaran's jobs included: Building and installing Dipper nest boxes along the Tarras, creating a new pond at the Laverock Hide, setting trail cameras to capture footage of  hares and tawny owl, filming shoals of Salmon and Sea Trout at Skippers Bridge, feeding red squirrels at Longwood, updating the sightings board and stocking the feeding station at Whitshiels Cafe, tracking otters, putting forward valuable input during a graphic design meeting, removing a very smelly Goosander egg from an old nest site and guiding a couple from Selkirk to Harrier Corner to show them their very first Merlin!

Ciaran was an absolute pleasure to work with and we hope to see him again as a volunteer next season.

Ciaran wrote the report below following his placement:

During my week of work experience I spent a lot of time fixing and creating habitats for the wildlife on the moor. I created a pond and built two bird boxes which have been placed by rivers to hopefully become homes for Dippers. I also set up two cameras on the moor. Unfortunately they were a fail and there was no footage. Through this Rick taught me about lots of species of birds that live on the moor. I learned what they look like and how they hunt and learned about species that I didn't even know could live there. I enjoyed learning about how this project runs on a day to day basis and how it is trying to improve the moorland and Langholm.

Many thanks to Ciaran for all his hard work - Rick

Ciaran and a Dipper's new home!

Ciaran admires his handy work at the Laverock Hide.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Making the Most of Moorlands: Update

Would you like to work with us?


We are currently advertising for a new Seasonal Education Assistant. Full details of the position can be found at: 


The closing date for applicants is 12 midday on Friday the 18th November with interviews planned for Monday 28th November. 

Any queries regarding the position can be directed to Rick on 013873 80914

We hope to hear from you soon! - Rick 

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Making the Most of Moorlands - Update

Winter migrants arriving...


A waxwing feeds on the wee Rowan in the CO-OP car park

Enjoyed some great views of Waxwing in the Langholm CO-OP car park yesterday. 19 were sat in a tree next to Border Fine Arts on Glenesk Road this morning. Also yesterday, a male Brambling turned up at the Laverock Hide and two Snow Buntings were feeding along the Middlemoss track looking very tired! The day was topped off by two Ringtails hunting together near Perterburn (probably Hattie and Grainne). All in all, a very wintery day! - Rick 

One of two Snow Buntings at Middlemoss

Making the Most of Moorlands - Update

Some happier news....

D&G LIFE Awards 2016

The Making the Most of Moorlands Project has been shortlisted for the Environment Champion category of the D&G LIFE Awards 2016. Out of 350 nominations the judges chose Making the Most of Moorlands as a finalist. The award ceremony takes place on the 24th November so we'll keep you posted as to how we get on! Fingers crossed - Rick

Langholm Harrier update 08/11/2016

Rowan (shot)

Cumbria Police have issued a statement in light of the post mortem on Rowan (male Hen Harrier tagged summer 2016) confirming that he was shot and asking for information.


Tarras (missing)

We have concerns for ‘Tarras’  a young female Hen Harrier tagged by Stephen Murphy (Natural England) at Langholm this summer.
The transmitter on the juvenile Hen Harrier Tarras has not transmitted since the 23rd of October.  The area has been searched and nothing was found and no hen harriers were seen in the area.
The last known fix area is on land owned by United Utilities in the north Peak District.
Tarras flew south from Scotland in the last weeks of September, arriving in the Nottingham area on the 11th October. She then headed north through Staffordshire and was roosting in the Peak district, near to the Last Known Fix area on the 13 October.
Tarras’ transmission period (duty cycle), was regular until the 23/10, on the 23rd it ran a complete transmission period (e.g. no sudden cessation of data within the 10 hr transmission period). The local weather in the days immediately after the 23rd were damp and overcast so this can delay the recharge time. However, by the 26th concerns were raised. We have some evidence that suggest this may be a tag failure and are currently trying to gather more information to help us resolve this.

Any further news will be posted here.

Sorrel, Grainne and Hattie

Sorrel is alive and signalling from her favoured spot in the Lowther hills . Grainne and Hattie (Adult females tagged in 2013) are safe and well on Langholm Moor as usual.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Making the Most of Moorlands: Update

Duke of Edinburgh Litter Pick


4 students from Langholm Academy are volunteering once a week with the project to gain ther Silver DofE award. This week saw them picking litter along the moor road. As well as the usual bottles and coffee cups we found a plastic grill from a car so if anyone's lost one it's at the Langholm Initiative office! Thanks to Matthew, Lydia, Amy and Megan for all their help - Rick