FISHERMAN WHO WAS SWEPT AWAY ON THE RIVER SOUTH ESK IS NAMED

A fisherman who died after being swept away in a fast-flowing river has been named.

Michael Anstice, from the Lintrathen area near Kirriemuir in Angus, was fishing in the River South Esk when he went missing.

His fishing colleague had dropped him off on the river banks before going to park her car at the Inshewan Estate, near Forfar, on Thursday morning.

When she returned a short time later, Mr Anstice had been swept away in the river.

Tayside Police – including officers with swift water rescue training – were called to the scene, along with Tayside Fire and Rescue, the Tayside Mountain Rescue Team and the Scottish Ambulance Service, to search for the 81-year-old fisherman.

A helicopter from RAF Lossiemouth was also scrambled to assist with the operation.

Local residents and estate workers also helped in the efforts to trace the missing man.

However, his body was discovered at about 2.30pm and recovered from the river.

Tayside Police confirmed there are no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death and a report will be submitted to the procurator fiscal in due course.

ESTATE WORKER CONVICTED OF POSSESION OF BANNED SUBSTANCE

An estate worker had enough illegal poison to “wipe out the entire Scottish golden eagle and red kite populations several times over”, a court has heard.

Dean Barr, 44, of Clashmore, Dornoch, admitted possessing 10kg of Carbofuran.

Dean Barr

The insecticide, banned in 2005, was found in a farm building, used by Barr, on the exclusive Highlands Skibo Castle estate in May 2010.

Sheriff Margaret Neilson fined the former Ulster Defence Regiment soldier £3,300 at Inverness Sheriff Court.

Despite the find, the Crown accepted Barr had no part in the deaths of two golden eagles and a sparrow hawk found on the estate in May 2010.

Dean Barr had worked for a Borders estate before taking up a post at Skibo

The insecticide was discovered in a locked store by police investigating the deaths of the birds. Barr had the keys to the store.

‘Foolish omission’

The Carbofuran found had been bought by a farmer to legally treat crops on a Scottish Borders estate where Barr had worked.

The court heard that while father-of-two Barr had not purchased the powder, he took it with him – along with other items, from a shed when he took the job at Skibo in 2008.

Fiscal depute Ian Smith said: “The RSPB said this was the largest find of any illegal poison in the UK.”

He added: “10kg is sufficient to wipe out the entire Scottish golden eagle and red kite populations several times over.

“Only a few granules are needed to kill a bird of prey.”

Defence lawyer David McKie said Barr was aware of the risks Carbofuran posed, but he had not known how to safely dispose of the powder, which was kept in a plastic tub.

Mr McKie said Barr’s case was one of “foolish omission” and that his client had been naive and had never used the substance.

However, Sheriff Neilson said it was “extraordinary” that a man of Barr’s experience had not known how to legally dispose of Carbofuran and had been prepared to take it 200 miles north from the Borders to the Highlands.

She told Barr that had he been found responsible for the birds’ deaths, he would have been facing a custodial sentence.

Dwad golden eagle on Skibo estate. Pic by RSPB

A dead golden eagle was found on the Skibo estate on 7 May 2010

She fined him £3,300 for possession of Carbofuran to “mark the court’s disapproval”.

Later, also at Inverness Sheriff Court, a former apprentice gamekeeper was fined £1,500 after he admitted possessing a dead red kite.

James Rolfe, 20, who was a gamekeeper at Moy Estate, said he found the bird of prey in a trap set for stoats and weasels but picked it up put the bird in a Land Rover rather than leave it and inform his bosses, the police, or RSPB.

The bird was not poisoned.

RSPB Scotland said it was pleased the sheriff had sent out “a clear message” that society would not tolerate “reckless and deplorable behaviour in the countryside”.

Rolfe was found with the dead red kite by police who had arrived on Moy estate with search warrants, issued under the wildlife crimes act on 3 June 2010.

Defence lawyer Iain Fleming said his client was 19 at the time and he had panicked after finding the kite dead in the trap.

SCOTLAND BATTERED BY HIGH WINDS

Chaos In the Central Region as Record High Winds Are Reported

 Scotland and in particular, the Central Region was hit by unprecedented high winds in excess of 80 MPH.

And even in some places recorded gusts over 100MPH, many trees and rooftops were blown down throughout the region.The River Allan in Dunblane had some trees uprooted due to the extraordinary force of the high winds.

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Water levels remain high and caution is advised.

The River,s banks were alarmingly high but remained intact.

 Unlike a few years ago when some of the pathways and railing were devastated.


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High Street Closed Because Fear of Falling Roof  Slates

Dunblane High Street was cordoned off on Tuesday as roof tiles became dislodged and authorities deemed the street unsafe.

Work was undertook on Wednesday to repair the damage that the high winds had caused.

Some signs on the shop fronts were reported to be loose as well, shop keepers were seen trying to secure them during the high winds.

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Trampoline Seen in Tree

A trampoline that was reported across the news channels was said to have been lodged high up in a tree.

Here i located it high on a hillside near Kinbuck, next to the Bridge.

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70 PILOT WHALES STRANDED IN SOUTH UIST

Marine experts are heading to the Western Isles to try to prevent a mass stranding of around 70 pilot whales.

Between 60 and 70 Whales had been spotted off the coast of South Uist, near Loch Carnan.

 A large number appeared to have head injuries.Initial reports suggest around 20 of the whales have severe head injuries.

Their injured bodies can be seen from the shoreline as the mammals bob in the water.


It is thought they are extremely distressed as they become more and more disorientated.

Scottish SPCA Senior Inspector Calum Watt said:

“We were alerted to the possibility of a mass stranding yesterday evening and are now co-ordinating with British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR).

“When pilot whales come inshore there is a very strong chance some among the group are sick or injured. We believe around 20 of these whales have severe head injuries but at this stage we aren’t sure of the cause.

“One possibility is these injuries were sustained during a previous attempt to strand themselves. Pilot whales have extremely strong social bonds, which sadly means healthy whales within the pod will follow sick and injured whales onto the shore.

“At this stage we remain hopeful they will not strand themselves but our concern is the injured whales will come onshore and be followed by the rest of the pod.

“Attempting to refloat so many whales would be a huge task and if they do become stranded we’ll need to decide upon the best course of action.

“The largest number of whales we’ve tried to refloat before was seven, which was in 1993. Unfortunately all seven returned to the shore and died.”

Alistair Jack, BDMLR’s Scottish co-ordinator, said:

We first became aware of the incident late yesterday and have immediately responded.

“We anticipate having trained medics and rescue equipment on the scene by mid morning. This is one of the largest events of this kind ever in the country.”


Mr Jack said arrangements are being made for other sets of specialised rescue equipment to be flown to the island to assist with the rescue attempt.

The pod is in Loch Carnan, where 35 pilot whales threatened to strand themselves in October last year.

The whales did return to sea but were later found dead on the Irish coast.

Here is the STV News Reporthttp://news.stv.tv/scotland/highlands-islands/250954-100-whales-in-danger-in-western-isles-waters/


BEST FRIENDS

Not much to report the past few days but i found this clip on Youtube which i thought would make our viewers smile.

RED SQUIRREL SIGHTINGS ON THE RISE

Red squirrel sightings in the north east have increased in recent years after the launch of a project to protect the animal.

Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels, the largest project to protect the rodents in the country, believes that the increased sightings are a positive sign.

Mel Tonkin, project manager the red squirrel initiative, revealed that the animals have been spotted in areas of Perthshire and Aberdeenshire for what is believed to be the first time since the project was launched two years ago.

Ms Tonkin added:

“This project is the first strategic approach to red squirrel conservation ever to be attempted in Scotland.

“By channelling resources to priority areas in our aim to protect red squirrels by halting the spread of grey squirrels, we are making encouraging progress.

“Most excitingly, since the start of the project, red squirrel sightings are being reported to us more frequently in some areas, such as Dunkeld, Meigle and Alyth, and red squirrels have also been spotted in other areas, like Stoneywood near Aberdeen, for the first time.

“Another encouraging achievement in the last two years has been our success in setting up networks of local landowners working to control grey squirrels in target zones. More than 300 landowners are now involved with our project, helping us maintain larger control boundaries and monitor squirrel distribution.”

Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels has also released a list of some of the best places to see the rare rodent, including the Carnie Woods near Aberdeen, Haddo House in the Borders, the Queen Elizabeth Forest near Aberfoyle and Blair Atholl in Perthshire.


SCOTTISH FIELD VOLE PLAGUE REACHES RECORD LEVEL

Scotland’s recent freezing winters have resulted in a huge population explosion of field voles across the country.

Experts believe there are now record levels of the tiny mammals, which have been protected from birds of prey by long-lying snow.

High levels have also been observed in Central Scotland and the Highlands.

The number of field voles usually peaks every few years – known as a plague or outbreak – but this year has been exceptional in the south and west of Scotland, researchers have said.

“This year the figure is potentially 10 times that, pushing their number into the hundreds of millions.”

Professor Lambin said:

“They thrive under the snow. They tend to have a good year in these conditions.

“The snow provides thermal insulation, maintaining a temperature of 2-3C under the pack.”

“This protects the voles from the coldest temperatures and the cover stops them from being hunted by birds of prey like buzzards and owls”, he said.

When the snow melts, a complex network of runs and tunnels is revealed in the grass in areas where there are high numbers of voles.

Receding snow cover makes them vulnerable to birds of prey, who now have a feast awaiting them.

Raptor experts report that buzzards and owls – which feed on field voles – are thriving this year.

George Swan, who is researching field voles in the Trossachs, said:

“The brood size of tawny owls is one of the ways we measure field vole populations.

“This is how we know it’s such a decent year because all the owl boxes in the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park have got four chicks in.”


NEST CAM TO FOLLOW SPARROWHAWKS AT ROYAL BOTANIC GARDEN

Visitors to the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh are to get an insight into the lives of one of the country’s smallest birds of prey via CCTV.

Cameras will be monitoring a resident pair of sparrowhawks at the botanic garden from Saturday until 21 August.

Live coverage will be beamed from the pair’s nest into the John Hope Gateway Information Centre.

The transmission is also being sent to the Scottish Seabird Centre from the botanic garden.

The project, believed to be the first of its kind, is a partnership between RSPB Scotland, The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Lothian and Borders Raptor Study Group and the Scottish Seabird Centre.

Sparrowhawks are small, agile birds of prey, and are often spotted darting across gardens in search of prey.

As their population size increased they started to colonise cities such as Edinburgh and are now breeding in urban green spaces such as parks, cemeteries and golf courses.


EGG RAIDERS ARRESTED

Three men were arrested for stealing a number of seabird eggs from a site at Inchkeith on the River Forth.

Wildlife crime coordinator Ian Lang says these recent arrests show the forces determination to catch those who threaten protected species on the River Forth and River Tay.

British Wildlife Photography Awards 2011

There’s three weeks left to enter,the British Wildlife Photography Awards 2011, you can win a cash prize of £5,000 and an overall prize fund worth £20,000.

If you are a wildlife photographer or videographer then why not give it a go ?

Competition winners will also have there work showcased in a national touring  exhibition launching at the very first Wildlife XPO at Alexandra Palace and in a stunning book published by AA Publishing.

For more information about the competition including how to enter, a full description of catogories, shooting tips, and terms and conditions, please visit the competition website - http://www.bwpawards.org/.


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