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)
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.
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