North East Scotland Big 5 - choose your favourite!

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Over the last year, as part of the Year of Natural Scotland celebrations, Scottish Natural Heritage and VisitScotland have been showcasing some of the country's incredible biodiversity through the Big 5 campaign. In addition to supporting the national campaign, the North East Biodiversity Partnership has been celebrating it's own superstars. The five species, chosen due to their links with some of the projects and campaigns currently being run by the Partnership, or because they are particularly important to the region, are now lining up to be crowned winner of our Big 5 campaign. We are asking for your help to decide which of these species will be our Year of Natural Scotland North East Champion.

Below is some information on each of our Big 5, which are listed alphabetically - have a read and then cast your vote at the bottom of the page.


Bottlenose Dolphin

Bottlenose Dolphin North East Scotland is a fantastic place for watching dolphins and whales. The acrobatic Bottlenose Dolphin is one of the best known of these and is present in our waters year-round. The mouth of Aberdeen harbour is an excellent place to see these striking and intelligent mammals, whilst the Scottish Dolphin Centre at Spey Bay provides a focal point for information on the famous Moray Firth population. Photo: © Charlie Phillips/WDC.






Common Toad

Coomon ToadDoes your garden pond have toads? The Common Toad is the headline species for a Citizen Science project launched by the Partnership this year. Pooling Our Ponds is a community initiative and we are keen to hear what wildlife can be found in your local pond. The presence of toads indicates a generally healthy pond ecosystem; such sites are increasingly important for the species as suitable natural wetlands become ever more fragmented. Photo: © Lorne Gill/SNH.







Hedgehog Everyone knows what a Hedgehog looks like, but when did you last actually see one? Although still widely distributed, Hedgehog numbers have fallen in many areas over recent years. They face a variety of threats ranging from road traffic, through intensification of land-use, to ingestion of garden pesticides such as slug pellets. We are very keen to get an accurate picture of their distribution across the region, through the recently launched North East Scotland Mammal Atlas. Photo: © Hugh Warwick.






Pine Marten

The Pine Marten is making a comeback in North East Scotland. With legal protection from persecution and an increase in woodland cover, martens are now found right up to the edge of Aberdeen. Martens can become quite bold when fed regularly in rural gardens, but most are secretive and nocturnal. The Woodland Group of the North East Scotland Biodiversity Partnership is overcoming these challenges by using infra-red camera traps to help to chart the spread of this species across our region. Photo: © Charlie Phillips.





Small Blue Butterfly

Small Blue Butterfly The Small Blue is the UK’s smallest resident butterfly and is most often found in sandy areas with an abundance of its larval footplant, Kidney Vetch. Our main colonies are along the Moray Firth coast. The species formerly occurred along the south Aberdeenshire coast, but has not been recorded in many historic sites for some time. In 2013, the Partnership initiated a project to survey potential sites for Small Blue and re-survey some of the historical sites; we hope to increase understanding of the species’ distribution and to encourage land management that might assist its recolonisation of formerly occupied areas. Photo: © Keith Warmington.




The competition has now closed and we are delighted to announce the winner -  the Pine Marten! Many thanks to everyone who took part in the competition. The winner of the 2020 Vision hardback book is Dave Riach from Inverurie - well done, Dave.

Pine Marten 29%

Bottlenose Dolphin 28%

Hedgehog 20%

Small Blue Butterfly 13%

Common Toad 10%




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