Male great yellow bumblebee on a knapweed flower at Hough machair in August 2018. With thanks to David Prince.
It has been an amazing year for the project and the bees. The prolonged warm weather was ideal for all bumblebee species to thrive. We haven't yet worked out the exact number of sightings of great yellows this year, but estimates are in the region of 370, proving again just how important Tiree is for this rare and special animal, and demonstrating how critical weather conditions are for reproductive success - last year we counted 105. And of course there was the discovery of two active nests - one at Barrapol and a second at Ruaig. Unprecedented records for Tiree, and all thanks to those who joined in 'the hunt'.
With fantastic support from Kew Royal Botanic Gardens' Grow Wild funding, we were able to sow mini-machairs and GYBB 'super-food' at around 40 sites around the island. These will provide additional high-quality sources of nectar and pollen for the bees throughout the 2019 season. Again, this would not have been possible without the participation and support of so many great people.
If you haven't heard already, the project has been shortlisted for a Nature of Scotland Award, with the winners announced at a Presentation Dinner in Edinburgh on the 22nd of November. I am so thrilled, honoured and proud to receive this recognition for all our hard work, that I want to share with you the letter I received:
... and share the celebration. All those who participated in and supported the project over the past two years, are invited to a 'Bumblebee Dance' in An Talla on Saturday 10th November. You and your family would be most welcome. Please let me know if you plan to come along.
So what are our plans for next year? We will continue with the all-important bumblebee surveys, review the success of the mini-machair and super-food plots, produce a short story-book about the GYBB - written in Gaelic by local children, and create additional GYBB forage. And we are delighted to report that, in order to help fund all this, the project came second in the voting at Tesco supermarkets, meaning that a generous £2000 award from Tesco Bags of Help is on its way. Thank you Tescos! And thank you everyone who voted!
Thank you for your interest and support.