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Wednesday 30 December 2015

Rewilding Scotland and tackling climate change for Christmas

Scots pine seedling in snow
I'm posting this late due to broadband and computer issues during the last month and hope you're having a good holiday despite all the recent flooding.

People can help rewild the Scottish Highlands and take action on climate change this Christmas and New Year by having specially-dedicated trees planted for family and friends through conservation charity Trees for Life.

A dedicated native tree will be planted in the Caledonian Forest for each recipient of Trees

Thursday 26 November 2015

Beaver shooting must stop. Scottish Wild Beaver Group Press Release.

European beaver feeding © Laurie Campbell
News of the shooting of beavers in Tayside by some farmers has led to an outcry from supporters, conservationists, and animal lovers everywhere. Of especial concern is the fact that, while an overdue decision from Scottish Government to adopt the protection due to the species under the European Habitats Directive, there is not even a closed season and the females can therefore be shot pregnant or lactating, killing kits slowly by starvation.

SWBG call for an immediate moratorium on shooting in advance of an early decision to enshrine EU legal protection of the species in Scotland.

Louise Ramsay, Co-Chair of SWBG says: “We flew a

Monday 23 November 2015

Initiative with Kew Gardens to Protect Scotland’s Trees Takes Root

Juniperus communis (Common juniper)
With a host of new pests and diseases attacking the UK’s native treescape, a new consortium of Scottish organisations, working with Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank, are tackling the threat, as part of the UK National Tree Seed Project.

The UK does not currently have comprehensive and genetically representative seed collections of native tree populations for research and use in practical conservation. The UK National Tree Seed Project, launched in 2013, seeks to fill the gap and will make seed collections available for researchers working on challenges facing UK woodlands and forestry such as pests and diseases and climate change.  The Project

Tuesday 17 November 2015

Emergency tree rescue appeal launched for West Affric woodlands

Trees for Life team inspecting a section of
damaged fence in West Affric
Conservation charity Trees for Life has launched an emergency rescue appeal to protect tens of thousands of young trees on West Affric from grazing deer.

A new generation of trees – many planted by Trees for Life volunteers – has become established on West Affric over the past 20 years, after Trees for Life and the National Trust for Scotland created a series of 10 fenced exclosures. The exclosures – areas from which large grazing animals are excluded – were designed to boost the recovery of native woodland by preventing the pressure of browsing deer.

But recent damage to the fences has left many of these trees vulnerable to grazing by deer, and Trees for Life

Thursday 5 November 2015

Minke whale baby boom off Scotland’s west coast? Highest number of young recorded since surveys began

Juvenile minke whale alongside HWDT’s research
yacht Silurian - copyright 
Kerry Froud
Sightings of juvenile minke whales off Scotland’s west coast increased in 2015 to the highest ever recorded within a survey season, during marine research expeditions carried out by Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust – indicating either a significant increase in actual numbers or an influx of minke whales from elsewhere.

The charity’s 2015 research season also recorded the highest annual number of common dolphin sightings since its expeditions began, with 723 individuals observed over 63 encounters. The common dolphin was once uncommon in the Hebrides, but the trust’s encounter rate

In Memory of Kali - 6th January 2005 to 22nd July 2015

9 weeks on the doorstep at Scatwell

Kali had been my constant companion for ten and a half years when at the end of June this year she suddenly started having fits.

Epilepsy drugs seemed to work for about three weeks and then the seizures started again with a vengeance and three days later she had gone.

I still haven't quite come to terms with her passing which is why it's taken me three months to post this collection of pictures taken throughout her life.

She was one of the most gentle, even tempered, friendly and attentive beings I have ever had the privilege to know.

She was always a lady even when confronted with people or dogs she obviously didn't take to. Everybody liked her and I absolutely loved her.

I do not want her to be forgotten.

9 weeks and discovering snow for the first time.

Tuesday 27 October 2015

Trees for Life emergency appeal to repair damaged deer fences protecting forest regeneration.

Trees for Life are making an emergency appeal for donations to repair damaged fences that are vital to the successful growth of trees that have been successfully recovering for the last 25 years

In the 1990s Trees for Life established a series of 10 fenced exclosures for native forest recovery on West Affric which encompasses the headwaters of the Affric River, in partnership with the National Trust for Scotland (NTS), and tens of thousands of young trees, planted by volunteers, are now growing successfully there. However, recent damage to the fences has left many of these trees vulnerable to grazing by deer, so Trees for Life are making an urgent appeal to you to help them raise £20,000 for vital repairs to protect them before this winter.

This is an emergency situation, as Trees for Life stand to lose the results of their forest restoration work unless the protection can be reinstated.

Read more and make a donation

Monday 28 September 2015

Trees for Life project creates conservation opportunities for young people

Phil Duffield from Scottish Power Foundation (centre)
meets Trees for Life volunteers (left-right) Sam Manning,
 Grace Burger, Emily Warner and Rebecca Schmidt
 at Dundreggan Conservation Estate

Award-winning conservation charity Trees for Life is running a new project to develop high-quality conservation volunteering opportunities for young people, thanks to a grant of £20,000 from the ScottishPower Foundation.

Those benefitting from the initiative include students from Peterborough Open Awards Centre, Aberdeen University, Glasgow University and Leicestershire’s Brooksby Melton College.

“This generous grant from ScottishPower Foundation is excellent news for the Caledonian Forest and its rare species, and for dozens of young people who will be able to study and carry out practical hands-on conservation work – including the establishment of native woodlands and managing land for wildlife,” said Alan Watson Featherstone, Trees for Life’s

Wednesday 26 August 2015

New project seeks first major boost in Scotland’s red squirrel numbers in decades

Red squirrel © Peter Cairns
An innovative new project by conservation charities Trees for Life and the Highland Foundation for Wildlife aims to secure a major increase in the range of Scotland’s red squirrel populations for the first time in decades.

The Caledonian Forest Wildlife Project – which launches this summer – has the ambitious goal of establishing 10 new populations of the species in the Highlands over the next three years, with the long-term aim of boosting red squirrel numbers in Scotland by more than 10 per cent. It will also provide a unique opportunity for volunteers, including those from remote communities, to take an active

Thursday 23 July 2015

New eco-designed office in Findhorn for conservation charity Trees for Life

Alex Walker, Managing Director of Ekopia (left) with
Alan Watson Featherstone,
Executive Director of Trees for Life, at the new
eco-designed office in Findhorn
Conservation charity Trees for Life is this week moving into a new environmentally friendly office based at the Findhorn Community near Forres in Moray.

After more than 20 years at its current premises in Findhorn, on Friday 24 July the award-winning charity is moving to a brand new building that has been constructed to high ecological standards, thanks to financial assistance from the European Union’s European Regional Development Fund.

“This is a very important development for us. We are delighted to be moving into this new eco-friendly office, which will provide a warm, welcoming and modern space for our staff and volunteers to work in,” said Alan Watson Featherstone, Trees for Life’s

Thursday 16 July 2015

Humpback whale spotted in western Scotland’s Firth of Clyde

Humpback Whale in the Firth of Clyde
copyright Elise Rankin
 this is the only image of the whale currently in the Clyde
An adult humpback whale, possibly greater than 12 metres in length, has been sighted in the Firth of Clyde last week – the fifth such whale to be seen off western Scotland in the past month, compared with a usual total of just one or two per year.

The whale was sighted off Tighnabruaich in the Kyles of Bute on 6 July. On 8 July it surfaced alongside the Scottish Ocean Youth Trust’s yacht, spouting and swimmingly strongly in a northward direction into Loch Fyne. The whale was observed breaching out of the water and lob-tailing – a dramatic manoeuvre in which the animal throws its massive tail, up to five metres across, out of the water, creating a huge splash visible for miles. This behaviour could be used for

Tuesday 14 July 2015

Which AA Batteries to use in Ltl Acorn Wildlife/Trail/Security Cameras

Fig 1:   Battery Cells Tested
One of the most frequently occurring reasons for users having problems with their trail cameras is in their choice of battery cell. Just collecting a pack of batteries on the way out of the supermarket is not the way to do it because all AA cells are not equal.

This post identifies some of the different cell types and brands; and my test results show the best choice for the purpose.

Trail cameras with night time infra-red LED arrays require a power source capable of delivering a relatively high current and the extent to which a

Thursday 28 May 2015

Ltl Acorn 6210 Control Panel Screen Display Distorted or not working - All Models

Fig 1:  6210 screen display distortion

If you have an Ltl Acorn 6210 model camera which suddenly shows a distorted (inverted, sideways shift and/or expanded) screen display as illustrated by figures 1 to 4 then try upgrading to the latest firmware which is available from the manufacturers download page.

If a firmware upgrade does not cure the problem then it is almost certainly being caused by a faulty ribbon cable and/or a faulty display panel PCB. Other symptoms of a faulty ribbon cable may be a white screen, screen not powering up or buttons not working as expected.

The only way to be sure is to dismantle the camera and substitute with a new ribbon cable. If the problem persists then test with a known good test panel (figure 5) if

Tuesday 19 May 2015

Rejecting extinction: beaver reintroduction offers major benefits to Scotland

European beaver feeding © Laurie Campbell

The potential reintroduction of beavers to Scotland after almost 500 years is a historic opportunity that could bring major environmental and economic benefits to Scotland – including by generating millions of pounds through eco-tourism, said award-winning conservation charity Trees for Life today.

This week or next, Scottish Natural Heritage is due to report to the Scottish Government on the Scottish Beaver Trial – a five-year trial reintroduction of beavers in Argyll’s Knapdale Forest – paving the way for the government to announce later this year whether the species will be allowed to live freely in

Monday 13 April 2015

Expeditions to study doubling of common dolphn sightings in Hebrides

Common dolphin (copyright Dr Conor Ryan)

A substantial increase in common dolphin numbers off western Scotland is to be studied by Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust in a new season of marine research expeditions beginning next month.

The trust’s encounter rate with common dolphins has more than doubled over the past 12 years. The findings – recently presented to the European Cetacean Society – have emerged from the charity’s unique long-term monitoring of whales, dolphins and porpoises in

Friday 10 April 2015

High Gain External Antennas suitable for Acorn cellular cameras

Standard Acorn Whip Antenna
Optional antennas which can be used as a direct replacement for the standard Acorn antenna to provide higher gain in low signal areas.

I often get asked about alternative antennas which will improve connectivity for the Acorn cellular cameras. The high gain whip and the yagi shown below are the ones that I use myself, both of which improve the signal strength to and from the cell tower.

The 6dBi omni directional whip is useful in situations where the signal with the standard antenna is one or two bars and unstable.

The 11dBi yagi is capable of providing a workable signal where no signal exists using the standard antenna. It is highly directional and can allow the camera to be used at a greater distance from the cell tower than would normally be possible.

The gain is measured against an isotropic source which is a theoretical point source of electromagnetic or sound waves which radiates the same intensity of radiation in all directions. It has no preferred direction of

Tuesday 24 March 2015

Rewilding Scotland and return of lynx in spotlight in Edinburgh

Alan Watson Featherstone
Rewilding Scotland – from restored forests to the return of predators such as the lynx – was in the spotlight at a topical lecture by leading conservationist Alan Watson Featherstone, founder and Executive Director of award-winning charity Trees for Life, at Edinburgh Zoo today (24 March).

The event highlighted the benefits of rewilding – the restoration of damaged natural ecosystems – for Scotland. This includes putting Scotland on the map as a wildlife tourism global hotspot and as a world leader in the international drive to tackle global forest loss.

The lecture was the final one in a special eight-week series that has been running at Edinburgh Zoo this year, focussing on Scottish species diversity and conservation.

Mr. Watson Featherstone said: “In the Highlands we have an opportunity to reverse environmental degradation and create a world-class wilderness region – offering a lifeline to wildlife including beavers, capercaillie, wood ants and pine martens, and restoring natural forests and wild spaces for our

Friday 13 March 2015

Rewilding creates jobs and training at Loch Ness conservation estate

Pictured left-right: Alan Watson Featherstone,
Emma Beckinsale and Doug Gilbert from Trees for Life
at the charity’s Native Tree Nursery, Dundreggan
An acclaimed forest restoration project near Loch Ness is demonstrating how conservation can create employment opportunities in the Highlands, says award-winning charity Trees for Life.
This week Trees for Life introduced two new seasonal staff roles at its Dundreggan Conservation Estate in Glenmoriston, bringing the number of employees at the biodiversity hotspot to six – a substantial increase on the single employee under the site’s previous ownership, when it was managed as a traditional sporting estate.
With concerns about employment in much of the country, and across the Highlands in particular, Trees for Life says that the steady growth in

Tuesday 17 February 2015

MMS/SMTP Settings Page

MMS/SMTP Settings: Last page update: 17.02.2015

I have just updated this page to include links to other web sites containing advice and information about UK and Worldwide carriers MMS and GPRS settings.

Friday 6 February 2015

Ltl Acorn 5210A captures the South Australian Bushfires

A Ltl Acorn 5210A camera records the Bushfires that ripped through South Australia in January 2015 resulting in the loss of 27 houses and 31000 acres of bush and farm land. The camera kept recording right up until it melted from the intense heat. The SD card was recovered and the images stitched together to form this time lapse video.

Note that the camera was still taking images at over 80C as the case melted down over the lens 

Many thanks to David Adkin at for sending this time lapse video.

Friday 30 January 2015

Hebridean sightings soar for harbour porpoises but plunge for basking sharks

Minke whale next to Silurian
Harbour porpoise sightings off Scotland’s west coast increased by 25 per cent in 2014 compared to the previous year while sightings of basking sharks unexpectedly fell by 33 per cent, during marine research expeditions carried out by Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust.
The charity’s extensive research also revealed dramatic evidence of a shark attack on a member of an endangered group of killer whales thought to be the UK’s only resident population of orca.
The latest studies were carried out in a research
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This web site is about the wildlife, particularly the mammals, of the Glen Affric National Nature Reserve area in the north west Highlands of Scotland, UK; and the equipment I use to search for them, which is chiefly trail cameras.

I provide a technical support and parts service for the Ltl Acorn range of cameras and the income from this provides for the upkeep of this site and the purchase of cameras for my own surveying.

I hope you find the site useful and informative; and please contact me if you have any questions that I haven't already covered.