The number of frogs seen across Britain leapt three times from
2008, with three quarters of those sighted in Scotland. Just under
half of the national number of swans were seen here and well over
half the number of Damselflies recorded since the survey began in
Altogether, more than 100 species were sighted on the Scottish
canals proving it's been a thriving year for a wealth of water
loving birds, mammals, fish, amphibians and insects which can be
seen in and around the waterways.
More unusual sightings in Scotland included a threatened species
of moth with fabled weather predicting skills. According to
folklore of the Eastern United States, the 'Wooly Worm' or 'Wooly
Bear' caterpillar of the Garden Tiger Moth (Arctia caja), can
predict the severity of the forthcoming winter by its stripes. One
with more brown than orange stripes, like the sighting by Sandy
Paton, Carron Sea Lock Keeper, at the eastern end of the Forth
& Clyde Canal near Grangemouth, heralds a warmer winter!
Another rarity spotted in Scotland was the Comma Butterfly with
its distinctive ragged edged wings which resemble a fallen leaf.
Potentially as a result of climate change, this species is
gradually moving northwards.
Across Britain, the water vole, the UK's fastest declining
mammal, also appeared to making good use of canals, with twice as
many sighted across Britain in this year's survey.
Dr Olivia Lassiere, Heritage and Environment Manager for
British Waterways Scotland, says: "With over 14,000
sightings, this year, our snapshot of life on the Scottish canals
was richer and broader than ever and proof that these waterways are
excellent green corridors supporting a vast array of wildlife.
"We are extremely grateful to everyone who took part. Each
record helps us to monitor, protect and preserve this amazing
"Above all though, the results show that many people have
embarked upon a wildlife safari on their doorstep this summer
discovering that whether you are a seasoned wildlife expert or just
looking something different to do with the family, going wildlife
spotting on the canal is a superb way to enjoy the great
"Indeed, whether you live in the middle of a city or somewhere
more remote, you are almost guaranteed to see some exciting
wildlife on and around the canals. If you look a little harder you
might even see something rare or unusual like our survey shows.
"If you enjoyed the survey don't forget, the Scottish canals are
open year round and, even in the depth of winter, you might spot
something, perhaps just by the mysterious footprints left in the
Other Scottish highlights:
- The top ten also featured mallard, rabbits, starlings, gulls,
swallows, crows, sticklebacks and perch.
- 51 Kingfishers were recorded. An indicator of good water
quality and a healthy eco-system, Kingfishers also suggest that the
network features plenty of fish for them to try and
- Over 1,200 fish, including pike, perch, roach, carp and trout,
as well as leeches and freshwater shrimps were recorded.
- A beaver was spotted in the Crinan Canal.
- A squirrel was seen swimming across the Forth & Clyde Canal
- Over 300 sightings of native bumblebees, the featured species
in this year's Wildlife Survey, which was also supported by the
Bumblebee Conservation Trust, were spotted in Scotland. This shows
that many of the 300 species of flowering plants along the Scottish
canal network provide great foraging ground for nectar.
- Badgers and otters were also sighted. Notoriously difficult to
see, the figures confirm they are using the canals as part of their
Issued by Joanna Harrison,
telephone 0141 354 7567/07824