This weekend’s WeBS count saw a reasonable start time of around 7.00 am, and the Loch practically frozen over! Most of the birds are gathered around a small stretch of open water in the middle, or on the fields and wet areas. Highlights were 8010 pinkfooted geese, 1012 mallards, 1277 teal, 1470 wigeon (and there was a lot of noise from the adjacent flight ponds so there are probably more), 567 whooper swans, 111 mute swans, 60 goldeneye, 4 red-breasted mergansers, 32 shovelers, 6 pintail and one Slavonian grebe.

There have been a lot of woodcock recorded around the reserve, and quite large flocks of farmland birds in the wild bird cover fields beside the rookery – linnets, tree sparrows, reed buntings, corn buntings, yellowhammers, greenfinches, and one twite! Redwings and fieldfares have also made an appearance.

 

Twite (Andy Hay, rspb-images.com) – compare with linnet (below)

 

Linnet (rspb-images.com)

Watch out for large flocks of golden plovers, especially towards Rattray, for bearded tits, water rails and otters by Fen Hide, and for hen harriers over the reed beds – as usual, if you see anything of interest, please let us know!

We’re expecting the weather to get a bit milder towards the coming weekend, but please take care on the ungritted roads if you’re coming to visit; as usual, the hides remain open during construction works.

Anonymous