We had a real cold snap back in the second half of November and that really brought the birds into the wetland. We had a peak count of 35 whooper swans tightly congregated in some of the remaining unfrozen parts of the Haugh and the teal numbers increased too. During our WeBS in December we had 154 which is the highest count this year. A shelduck made an appearance on the December WeBS too which you can see below. I’m afraid my digiscoping skills aren’t quite up to speed...

A hard frost on the Clyde Walkway. Photo by Mark Mitchell.

 


Whoopers have enigmatic calls. Video by Mark Mitchell.

Shelduck on the Haugh. Photo by Mark Mitchell.

The volunteers were busy with a couple of winter jobs over the last few months. Firstly, we managed to get out onto the Haugh to partially clear out and re-profile the ditches along the southern edge of the wetland. These ditches are used for all manner of wildlife, including feeding snipe and herons, as well as amphibians and invertebrates such as the water boatman shown below. David, one of our volunteers was happy because he got to wear a pair of waders. Easily pleased!

David gets stuck into the ditches (almost literally) and a water boatman we found chilling out. Photo by Mark Mitchell.

As well as work on the wetland, we’ve been working hard recently to ensure visitors get the best possible view when in the hides. To this end, we did some hedge laying to lower the height of the hedges in front of the hides, and to encourage these hedges to become denser and less management heavy in the future. Ruth and Denis, two of our volunteers have quite a bit of experience in this and were invaluable assets on the day.

The freshly laid hedge at the centenary hide. Photo by Mark Mitchell.

As always, the volunteers have contributed a huge amount of work and time at the reserve this year equating to many extra staff members. It goes without saying that we simply couldn’t have done the amount of work we have, without them. By way of a thank you, on 14th December, we had a small gathering and food and drink and Christmas tunes (which received mixed reviews) and we are all now looking forward to another jam-packed year in 2017 after a well earned break!

From all here at RSPB Scotland Baron's Haugh Nature Reserve, MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!

We look forward to seeing you at the reserve soon.

Mark.

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