Not Just Litter

April 6th 2013

Not Just Litter

We have all seen discarded bottles and cans lying on grass verges and in ditches along roadsides in Assynt. Apart from being unsightly, they are also a death trap for insects, and small mammals such as shrews. First the insects crawl in, cannot get out, and die. Next the the smaller mammals are attracted to the rotting remains and they too crawl in and, if the bottle or can is at the wrong angle, they are trapped.

Ian Evans retrieved a Stella Artois bottle from just off the roadside at Bad an Dioboirich, Glenleraig (NC159317) on 16th March 2013. The attached photograph shows the sieved the contents. These turned out to be mainly beetle ‘armour’, some of which he could identify, the larger ones being from:

3 Carabus glabratus (ground beetle), the biggest in the photo;

8 Abax parallelepipedus (ground beetle);

18+ Pterostichus niger (ground beetle);

2 Thanatophilus rugosus (= the wrinkled death-lover, a carrion beetle);

2 Nicrophorus sp. (one of the sexton or burying beetles); and

a host of so far unidentified smaller ones, mostly ground beetles.


As has been reported in the national news again this year so-called wild fires have caused massive destruction of habitats throughout Scotland. Several have been clearly visible in Assynt during this year’s very dry spring.

Many of these fires are started quite deliberately and then get out of hand. However, a few may have been caused by the lazy discard of a still-lit cigarette end or by the focussing of the sun’s rays through a glass bottle.

So to save our stunning flora and fauna from needless damage and death please take your litter home. When you are out and about if you see bottles and cans lying around please pick a few up and recycle them.

Thank you.

David Haines

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Recent Sightings

Manx Shearwater

27 birds off Bay of Clachtoll (DAH) (16/06)

Harbour Porpoise

Mother and calf off Stoer Head Lighthouse (DAH) (15/06)

Small Magpie moth (Anania hortulata)

Single moth in garden, Culkein Drumbeg (DAH). This is only the second ever record of this micro moth in the West Sutherland recording area, VC108. The first record was on 1st June this year in the garden of the County Moth Recorder in Melvich on the north coast. However, this does make it the first ever record for Assynt. Photo Gallery - Moths. (14/06)

Golden Plover

Eight birds over Clachtoll (DAH) (13/06)


Single bird flying over garden, Ardvar (Beccy Garvey) (12/06)

Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary

Single butterfly, Nedd (Stefan Taylor) (12/06)

Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary

Single butterfly recently emerged at Glen Leraig (AS) (11/06)

Barn Owl

Single bird hunting over croft land, near Stoer primary school (Jane Livingstone) (11/06)