It has been a very exciting and busy month at the RSPB Lochwinnoch reserve. The reserve took part in Renfrewshire's doors open day where access to the reserve was free for all. Visitors were able to come along and learn all about the reserve and exactly why it is so important to support the work that the RSPB does. Visitors were also able to complete lots of fun activities such as making apple and seed bird feeders and taking part in a tombola.

Doors open day at the RSPB

The staff and volunteers have been hard at work on the reserve this month with dedicated staff members popping on their waders to remove any vegetation that was choking up the water in the pond dipping area. The removed plant matter was left beside the pond to allow any pondlife within it to travel back to the pond. This cleaning process allows more wildlife to use the pond as an increase in vegetation in pond water can negatively affect aquatic species. A group of staff and volunteers also brush cut some of the vegetation at the Barr Loch to encourage a diverse range of habitats to occur which will benefit the wildlife that live on the reserve as well as encourage other wildlife to breed and utilise the new habitats created.

Brush cutting at the Barr Loch, Photo by Ally Dowd

 

Volunteers are also in the process of building a new screen at the fen pool on the Aird Meadow trail. The banks of the fen pool attract roe deer to the area and bird species such as lapwing and waders are also sights likely to be observed from the new hide. This will also mean visitors can view these amazing species with far less risk of disturbing them.

 

The screen at the fen pool being built

 

There has been plenty of fantastic sightings at the reserve this month, the most exciting being the great white egret which has been spotted by several people at the Barr Loch throughout the month of September. This sighting is great news as the great white egret was once considered a rare sight in the UK, but numbers have been expanding in recent years mainly in East Anglia and parts of Southern England although sightings in Scotland are still few and far between. This just shows how lucky we are at the RSPB Lochwinnoch to have had the opportunity to observe this beautiful bird.

Great white egret on the Barr Loch, photo by Robert Conn

 

This year has been fantastic for breeding great crested grebe, there has been one breeding pair on the Aird Meadow Loch and six pairs on the Barr Loch. There have been at least 45 individuals counted which includes 18 juveniles. There have been at least 4 nuthatch seen at the feeding station on the Aird Meadow throughout September and the greater spotter woodpecker has also been a regular visitor at the feeding station. There has also been several house martins and swallows flying over the reserve as they prepare to make the long journey back to Africa for the winter.

Nuthatch at the feeding screens on the Aird Meadow, Photo by Rachel Reid

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