So far it has been a relatively mild winter. The lagoons in front of the Visitor Centre have only been frozen over a few days this winter so far , so we have seen plenty of ducks , geese and swans from the cafe window and from the hides.
Many pink footed geese have now flown further south but there are still roughly 1100 wintering around Loch Leven. One white fronted goose was spotted on the wetlands in front of the Visitor Centre at the beginning of December but it seems it decided just to visit us for the one day and has not been seen since. Over 100 whooper swans gathered together on the lagoon outside the Carden Hide for several days two weeks ago. The pair of Mute Swans there did not seem too happy about this! Over the last few days we have seen plenty of wigeons, teals and mallards on the lagoons with a few goldeneyes, pochards and tufted ducks out in Vane Bay.
This morning there were 4 little egrets on the wetland. Little egrets are now becoming quite a common sight at Loch Leven during the winter.
It has been lovely to see a large flock of curlews on the wetland. Curlews are one of the many species of birds which are struggling - the numbers of curlews breeding in the UK are dropping drastically.
Our bird feeders in the Secret Garden and Leafy Loop have been full of birds.Large numbers of goldfinches soon work their way through the bird food. There are also plenty of chaffinches , blue tits, great tits and coal tits, tree sparrows, long tailed tits and the occasional siskin. A flock of fieldfares are occasionally seen in the woodland together with a few redwings. One of our visitors managed to see a lesser redpoll near the feeders on the leafy loop yesterday. A pair of stonechats have been spotted regularly along the wetland trail. These birds like to perch up on the fence posts which makes it slightly easier for visitors to see them. If only all small birds would be as obliging !
Scampering red squirrels are very busy this time of year stocking up on food, jumping from branch to branch in our woodlands with great agility !
What next on the reserve for 2020 ? Maybe a great white egret? One has been seen this month at the other side of the loch at Kinross and at Burleigh Sands so perhaps it will pay us a visit!
Photo credit: Little Egret - Adrian Plumb
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