As we moved into August, the number, variety and frequency of certain birds increased around the reserve.

We were delighted to see a Mandarin duck on four separate days in the first half of the month, and a peak of 14 great-crested grebe, 20 goldeneye, 20 lapwing, 8 gadwall, and two days in which 200 tufted duck were counted and another day featuring 120!

Mandarin duck (male)

Unusually, we had a visit from a common tern, which despite its name, is pretty uncommon around here! The water bodies around Lochwinnoch mean the area is used as a flyway to and from the coast, so this particular bird was likely just passing through. It was exciting to see it stop to check out the artificial floating rafts on the Aird Meadow, so perhaps they will become a little more common round here in the future?

Common tern

Also out and about were teal, water rail, oystercatcher, snipe, common sandpiper and little grebe.

Four bullfinch were seen on 14th August, three on the 18th, and then every day from 20th-28th August. A kingfisher also made an almost daily appearance from 24th August until the end of the month – a delight every time you see one!

Kingfisher photographed by Robert Conn.

Swallows and house martins were still around and a host of migrant songbirds were a delight for the ears, even if you couldn’t spot them in the trees! These included: blackcap, willow warbler, whitethroat, sedge warbler, grasshopper warbler, chiffchaff and spotted flycatcher.

Common whitethroat photographed by Robert Conn.

Other highlights included a peregrine falcon, 3 goldcrest, a nuthatch and 5 raven.

Raven are the biggest members of the crow family and are distinguished by their diamond-shaped tail.

Little grebe: seen on 23 Aug

Great crested grebe: 14 seen on 8 Aug, 6 seen on 24 Aug

Mandarin duck: seen on 4, 16, 17 and 18 Aug

Gadwall: 8 seen on 26 Aug

Teal: 2 seen on 28 Aug

Tufted duck: 200 seen on 11 Aug, 120 seen on 28 Aug

Goldeneye: 20 seen on 14 Aug

Sparrowhawk: 2 seen on 3 Aug, 1 seen on 23 Aug

Peregrine falcon: seen on 13 Aug

Water rail: seen on 4 Aug, 7 Aug, 14 Aug

Oystercatcher: 2 seen on 21 Aug

Lapwing: 20 seen on 1 Aug, 17 seen on 26 Aug

Snipe: 2 seen on 7 Aug, 3 seen on 31 Aug

Common sandpiper: seen on 1 Aug and 4 Aug

Common tern: seen on 29 Aug

Kingfisher: seen towards the end of the month (24, 25, 26, 28, 29 and 31 Aug)

Swallow: 6 seen on 8 Aug, 5 seen on 24 Aug

House martin: 3 seen on 3 Aug

Grasshopper warbler: seen on 11 Aug

Sedge warbler: 3 seen on 13 Aug, 2 seen on 19 Aug

Whitethroat: seen on 19, 24 and 28 Aug

Blackcap: seen on 13 Aug

Chiffchaff: seen on 4 Aug, 25 Aug

Willow warbler: 6 seen 12 Aug, 4 seen on 16 Aug

Goldcrest: 3 seen on 28 Aug

Spotted flycatcher: 1 seen on 16 Aug, 4 seen on 21 Aug

Long-tailed tit: 10 seen on 28 Aug

Nuthatch: seen on 13 Aug

Raven: 5 seen on 4 Aug

Chaffinch: 12 seen on 15 Aug, 27 seen on 30 Aug

Goldfinch: 23 seen on 31 Aug

Siskin: 3 seen on 6 Aug, 4 seen on 22 Aug

Lesser redpoll: seen on 8 Aug and 30 Aug

Bullfinch: 4 seen on 14 Aug, 3 seen on 18 Aug, seen every day from 20-28 Aug

Reed bunting: 3 seen on 26 Aug