Bumblebees of the Outer Hebrides was one of the first Wildlife of the Outer Hebrides leaflets we produced. In the intervening years two new species of bumblebees have been recorded in the islands: the Common Carder Bee (Bombus pascuorum) and the Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris). The Common Carder Bee, has been recorded in the islands since 2014 and is now quite widespread making differentiation between the two carders bees a new challenge. In 2020 the Buff-tailed Bumblebee, was added to the species list. Queens with buff tails are identifiable; workers are more difficult and can look like other white-tailed bumblebees.
It was clearly time to up-date our Bumblebee leaflet and a new version which includes these two species is now available to download from the Publications page. Printed copies will be available from libraries, museums, cafes and galleries as soon as the COVID regulations permit.
Is it Spring yet? Probably not, but you can help us track the arrival of Spring through the islands by telling us when you first see or hear any of our 9 target species - 3 wild flowers, 3 birds and 3 insects. The arrival of spring in the Outer Hebrides is always unpredictable so it is important to measure the variation from year to year so that we can begin to understand the effect of climate change on our wildlife. It is designed to be fun and easy, so join us and help make a difference.
You can discover more about the project and how to participate on the Hebridean Spring Project pages.Hebridean Nature Notes website.
Last year when our ability to move around the islands was limited by the Covid pandemic we wanted to encourage everyone to stay engaged with nature and invited you to record the wildlife in your gardens. We have had some fascinating results and once again we would like to ask you to record the insects, invertebrates, mammals, wild plants, fungi and lichens which you encounter on your doorstep. You can decide your level of participation and you can start now.
It doesn't matter if you garden is small or what you grow, you will be surprised to discover how much wildlife it supports. Gardens are important biodiversity havens as you will discover if you read Robin Sutton's inspiring article on the wildlife in his garden on Hebridean Nature Notes
You can discover more about the project and how to participate on the Garden Watch pages.
2020 was a challenging year for biological reording and this is reflected in the number and diversity of the number and diversity of biological records which were submitted to OHBR. It makes fascinating reading and is a testament to the hard work and enterprise shown by the islands's recorders during very difficult circumstances. It is beautifully illustrated with photographs and clearly shows the diversity of the islands' animals, plants and fungi. This year the report demonstrates the amazing results achieved by some of recorders when looking at some under-recorded groups. Discovering a caddisfly believed to be extinct in Britain a South Uist garden is a remarkable achievement.
The reports on biological recording in the Outer Hebrides in 2017 to 2020 can be viewed and downloaded from the publications page.
A complete list of the contents of all of the volumes of the Hebridean Naturalist is available on the Outer Hebrides Bibliography website.
In this age of globalisation living on a remote off-shore island is not a safe refuge from the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. It is important that we all follow the latest government advice to try to limit the spread of the virus and safeguard our communities.
Our programmes of joint fieldwork and training are currently suspended. We will be organising some new surveys for 2021 which will be suitable for new and experienced recorders and help and advice on identification will continue to be be available by e-mail or through the OHBR and Curracag Facebook groups. Information on our new surveys and identification resources can be found in the wildlife projects and biological recording sections of this site.
Interacting with wildlife and enjoying our natural environment is good for our well-being so we hope that you will continue to to record the plants and animals you encounter and send us your records.