On 5 May, the great white egret was still here. (thanks to Phil Day for the photo!) but hasn’t been seen recently. On 6 May, a curlew sandpiper in full breeding plumage was with a small flock of dunlins. A yellow wagtail was seen from the VC on 8 May, and there was also a whimbrel and a common sandpiper. Swifts have arrived and can usually be seen over the Loch. A flock of 30 black-tailed godwits was on Starnafin Pools on 11 May, and a small group of dotterel just off reserve, near the Tufted Duck Hotel on 15 May. Several little gulls are still around, and at least one osprey continues to turn up regularly over the silt trap, usually around 5.30 pm. The farmyard is full of swallows, often swooping so low that you feel the need to duck!

Konik yearlings Bilbo and Brambles had their final tetanus vaccinations on 14 May, and have been put to work on the Mosstown project area, boosting the grazing herd there to fourteen, all eating the Juncus and other coarse vegetation. Cuckoo flower is blooming, marsh cinquefoil is sprouting, marsh pennywort is coming up and it’s really starting to look good. Reeds and flag iris are also starting to show. We did our first wader transect recently, and in the cut and grazed area there seem to be more meadow pipits than before.

Two new members of the equine workforce - Cloud and Comfrey - arrived on 7 and 11 May respectively. At the moment, they’re out on the Low Ground with their mums, and can usually be seen from the Visitor Centre or Tower Pool Hide. More mouths to make more Magnificent Meadows! The ponies are looking a bit scruffy at the moment, as they're shedding their thick winter coats; I think every bird for miles must have a nest lined with beige hair!

  

(pictures by Richard Humpidge)

On the domestic front, I’m sure our regular visitors will join us in saying thanks to John Moir for resurfacing the access track! Work on the new office has been put back until the end of July to avoid disturbance to the nesting terns and gulls.

The next ‘Pick Out A Puffin’ walk at Fowlsheugh is on 26 May; give us a call to book your place! 01346 532017, or email Strathbeg@rspb.org.uk. If you’re visiting Fowlsheugh, please be a considerate parker; the car park is quite small, but please don’t use the passing places!

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