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By Taylor Wildlife, Nov 1 2019 05:00PM

Autumn is the perfect time of year to carrying out badger surveys. As the long, lush summer vegetation dies back and fields are harvested, badger signs such as paths and latrines become far more visible.


Later in the winter, badger activity will decrease, but for now badgers are busy excavating their setts, gathering bedding such as dried grass and leaves, and foraging for food. Badgers do not hibernate, but they do reduce their activity over winter, so it's important that they put on enough fat reserves to last until spring.


On this week's surveys, badger signs were abundant.




A freshly excavated sett (clipboard for scale)
A freshly excavated sett (clipboard for scale)

Badger path through an arable field
Badger path through an arable field

Badger footprint
Badger footprint


Badger guard hairs on lowered section of stone wall
Badger guard hairs on lowered section of stone wall

Badger surveys may be carried out as part of an extended Phase 1 survey, or as a standalone survey. If badgers are found to be damaging property (e.g. undermining a road or causing extensive crop damage) or preventing development, it may be necessary to exclude badgers from their sett. This activity must be licenced by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), and an Ecological Clerk of Works should be present for any activity which requires a licence. It is a crime to interfere with or obstruct a sett in any way.


If you think you have badgers on your property and would like a survey or advice on mitigation, contact us and find out how we can help.





By Taylor Wildlife, Aug 30 2019 03:00PM

In 2019, Taylor Wildlife field teams surveyed sites all over Scotland. From mountainous sites in the central belt to coastal peninsulas, and from northernmost reaches of the highlands to west coast islands, our field assistants surveyed through bogs and heather moors, woodlands and rocky outcrops.


Survey work can be tough, and is physically (and sometimes mentally) demanding. Our surveyors rose to the challenge and were rewarded with improved survey skills and experience, amazing views of a huge variety of species, and a unique look at Scotland from a perspective that few people get to see.


We hope it was an enjoyable season, and want to thank all the our Field Assistants and Team Leaders who helped us this year. We wish you all the best for the future!



A colourful fritillary on a thistle
A colourful fritillary on a thistle


Surveying a coastal site
Surveying a coastal site



A coiled adder, basking in the sun.
A coiled adder, basking in the sun.



Sparkling waterfalls - a great place for cooling off mid-survey.
Sparkling waterfalls - a great place for cooling off mid-survey.

By Taylor Wildlife, Jul 30 2019 02:00PM

Perhaps one of my favourite butterflies of the year, marsh fritillaries (Euphydryas aurinia) are the orange stained glass windows hiding in the bog and grassland. Their diverse pattern of orange, yellow and black make them fairly easily distinguished from the rest of the common fritillary family member in the Scotland and, in my opinion, much prettier (can you tell i'm biased?).




They are generally restricted to the western side of the UK, with many colonies on the west coast of Scotland. They are a UK Biodiversity Action Plan priority species due to their declining numbers across Europe as well as Britain. They were a welcome surprise on Mull one sunny day, spotted at the very beginning of the morning's survey, just a casual 10m away from a main road. Even if nothing else of note is seen on a survey, a day that includes a marsh fritillary is always one for the books.


Although the adults can be seen in May/June, the caterpillars become obvious in late summer/autumn as they hatch and congregate together to feed on their sole food source, devil's bit scabious (Succisa pratensis), a purple flowering plant. Talk about fussy eaters! Coincidentally, these plants also serve as dinner for the narrow-bordered bee hawk-moth (a mouthful in itself!), another worthy sighting for the record books. The marsh fritillary caterpillars spin larval webs that can house many individuals at once, making it an ideal time to conduct counts to provide population estimates. Although it is definitely less fun looking for black caterpillars in webs than it is chasing the adults through tussocky wet grassland on a sunny day! The caterpillars will utilise these tussocks to provide protection during the winter months as they hibernate and wait for the warmer weather to arrive.




Due to their locality in wet areas, the caterpillars are somewhat resistant to short term flooding but often suffer during bad winters, meaning populations can be very variable from year to year. With the overall declining population, any sightings of these beautiful butterflies are noteworthy and worth sending in to recording groups such as Butterfly Conservation. Here at Taylor Wildlife, we make sure to collate all our butterfly sightings over the survey season to send in to nationwide databases, contributing to the mapping and monitoring of rare species such as the marsh fritillary.



By Taylor Wildlife, Jun 30 2019 02:00PM

Moth trapping at our Perthshire site has been a little come and go the past month. An initial session back in April led to over 200 (!) moths, but poor weather and a very short extension cable have limited our more recent attempts to only a few individuals. However, after the procurement of a much longer extension cable, which allowed us to leave the trap in a better location, our moth trapping has resumed its successful track record.


The chosen night for trapping was forecast to be dry and cloudy but upon awakening early on Saturday morning there had been obvious rain throughout the night. After a bleary-eyed rush outside to rescue the trap before it filled with water, it was with much trepidation that we lifted the lid, expecting a sea of soggy egg cartons and no moths. However to our delight, a quick glance revealed some classic favourite species.


First out of the trap was a peppered moth, happily relaxing and unpertubed by the drenched carton beneath it. A white ermine with its snowy jacket was hiding underneath. The next carton showcased a pristine dark brocade, clouded-bordered brindle and a small phoenix.


We quickly added to the list another small phoenix and white ermine before reaching some mystery specimens, difficult to identify with badly faded wings. But who doesn't love a challenge! After much consultation and deliberation, we agreed that they were more clouded-bordered brindles.


An escapee flame carpet offered some excitement as we chased it around the boot room before returning to find our dark brocade had also gone walkabouts as well (this particular individual was found Tuesday morning, looking a little dazed as it clung to a boot shoelace). The final highlight to surface out of the trap was a fine specimen of a poplar hawkmoth, rounding off a successful night's work by the little Heath trap... Or so we though!


Upon returning the moths safely to the wet hedge outside (althouth i'm sure they preferred our nice dry boot room), a lovely (albeit quite ragged) northern eggar was found on the grass near where the trap had been the night before. In total, 13 months of 9 different species were caught. This doesn't come close to the amazing numbers caught by the Robinson trap back in April, but it still resulting in an enjoyable Saturday morning.


Hopefully, an improvement in the weekend weather will mean we can get mothing more often, so keep your eyes peeled for our moth trapping updates! In the meantime, here are a few pictures from our moth ID session.

A beautiful white ermine (Spilosoma lubricipeda)
A beautiful white ermine (Spilosoma lubricipeda)
Our first catch - a peppered moth (Biston betularia)
Our first catch - a peppered moth (Biston betularia)
Poplar hawkmoth (Laothoe populi)
Poplar hawkmoth (Laothoe populi)
Northern eggar (Lasiocampa quercus)
Northern eggar (Lasiocampa quercus)