Winter Depths

We are now right in the middle of Winter. Monday 18th was officially ‘Blue Monday’ which is noted as the most depressing day of the year. This is due to dark days, poor weather, post-christmas blues and the extra pounds that have accumulated from all of the mince pies. However, if you are feeling low, then sometimes getting some fresh-air, vitamin D (If the sun ever shines) and connecting with nature can make a big difference.

If you are local, why not try and come down to watch the geese at dawn or dusk? We did our January Goose count on Monday and had 8389 Pink-footed Geese on the Loch. This is a brilliant number for this time of year, normally numbers would be a bit lower. The higher count is more than likely due to other smaller wetlands being frozen and forcing the geese to come here; they are more than welcome!

Dawn breaking through on our goose count

You don’t have to come to the loch to watch the geese, a slow mindfulness walk and being out in the fresh air can make all the difference. I snapped this serene scene earlier in the week. It is said that water can have a calming effect on someone, and here at Loch Leven we have got plenty of it!

Serene beauty at Loch Leven NNR

It has been another cold week! The temperatures have been hovering around the freezing mark and we are on record to have one of the coldest January in many years. The Ice on the loch has retreated now, but there is still a thin layer around various parts of the loch.

Ice still on the loch fringes
Mallard, Black-headed Gulls and Moorhen

We received another dusting of snow on Wednesday and Thursday. Not as much as last week but enough to transform the Reserve into a wintry wonderland! I am really enjoying the winter weather we have been having recently.

Snow!
Snow covered West Lomond and Bishop
A wintry Loch Leven castle (Built around 1300)
Perfect sledging conditions at Kirkgate park!
A broom bush transformed!

It was nice to get up close and personal to some of the Black-headed Gulls at Kirkgate Park. A kind member of the public was feeding them some oat biscuits! I often check for any colour ringed birds when you can see them closely, unfortunately none this time but I will keep my eyes peeled.

Hungry black-headed gulls
Squabbling
Looking photogenic in the snow

They really are lovely, dainty birds. You will notice that the black-headed gulls don’t have black heads. Well, that is because just now they are in their winter plumage. However, it won’t be too long until we see their chocolate brown heads starting to grow in for the breeding season! (Yes, that is right. Black-headed Gulls actually have brown heads!)

Speaking of breeding season, I spotted this mini Pheasant gathering in Kirkgate Park as well. There were 13 males all mingling around each other, maybe they were sizing up the competition for the breeding season ahead?

Pheasant party
Incoming Mute Swan

Try and get out for a winters walk if you can, make the most of the limited daylight. You won’t regret it! Wildlife and nature is out there to be enjoyed.

Resting Mallard

Or maybe just ‘coorie up’ and hibernate until the sun comes out in March! 🙂

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Blowing hot and cold!

It has been a week of interesting weather on the Loch. Earlier in the week we had some very cold temperatures. Over 75% of the Loch was frozen, this made counting the ducks a blessing and a curse as they were concentrated in small areas making them easier to find but harder to count!

The loch starting to freeze with thin ice
Starting to thicken
At its thickest with snow on top (spot the skein of geese)

Even though the ice looked thick, it was still thin in areas. It’s never safe to venture out onto the ice. So please, keep your wits about you and stay off the ice!

However, there was a bit of a change in the weather and the ice has almost totally thawed now. This warmer weather will be welcomed by the wildfowl on the loch. Longer periods of extreme cold weather can be detrimental to birds and other wildlife. More calories are needed to keep warm and sustain energy, sadly a lot of older and weaker birds/animals can perish during these cold snaps.

Given the current Scottish Government Guidance and the transmission rate of the new variant of Covid-19 we have temporarily closed the Mill, Burleigh and Levenmouth Hides. This is to keep everyone safe, we apologies for the inconvenience but hopefully we will have them open again in the not-so-distant future!

Wednesday morning gave one of the most stunning sunrises I’ve ever seen! Photos never do it justice sadly.

Wowza!! Worth getting up for!

Indeed, the warm weather didn’t last. The tropical 8 degrees on Tuesday was a moment of the past as snow was forecast overnight Wednesday into Thursday morning. Which did deliver a decent dumping of snow! It has been a rather cold and wintry January, which I suppose is much better than a mild and wet one. It’s lovely getting out to the reserve in wintry weather, it brings a lovely winter hue to the birds and landscapes!

Snowy Spruce
Wintry woodland
Heads up, ive been spotted!

There has been some weird jagged ice form developing on the spit at burleigh. Looks quite interesting. I wonder if it is due to movement in the water and build up of ice on the spit of land?

Crows checking out the Ice Structure

A bird that is easier to spot against a white, wintry landscape is a Bullfinch. Louise mentioned these charismatic birds in the last blog. Winter is a time to look out for Bullfinch as they are out feeding on remaining seed heads. Often, the male and female will be seen together or near-by each other. They are quite bold and confident and you can get close views if you stay still. This male was feeding happily amongst some dead grass heads.

Stunning birds!

Who knows what the weather will bring next week! It looks like it’s to remain cold for the foreseeable. If you have birds visit your garden regularly, then I would recommend sticking up some fat balls for them during this cold snap. It will help tide them through when the ground/vegetation is frozen and snowy!

Gulls walking on water? Nah, just a thin layer of Ice!
Snowy Kinnesswood and lower bishop.

If visiting the reserve, take care on the paths. They have been very slippy recently.

Enjoy!

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Winter wanderings

Happy New Year!

Feather frozen into the Loch

It’s been an icy week on the trail so please take care when out and about.  The Loch itself has been freezing around the edges and making some unnerving noises as it creaks with the water moving below.  There is however still plenty of open water for the birds to feed.

The water levels are also high but are down a little compared to the week before Christmas.  When water levels are too high dabbling ducks such as Wigeon and Teal move off the Loch so that they can continue feeding.  Levenmouth pools must be a good place to go as there were lots of ducks present when I went to have a look.

Busy Levenmouth
Wigeon

Winter is the season when ducks form their pair bonds for the next breeding season.  Male Teal were whistling and bobbing their heads to attract a mate in Levenmouth pools.  Their whistling could be heard before I even got to the hide.  Different species of duck have different courtship displays; it is thought that this is so they can recognise birds of the same species as themselves.  Multiple species gather together to breed and it is an advantage to have a distinctive display to avoid hybridisation with others.  I would recommend that if you can to get out and watch different species of duck at this time of year; some of their displays can be quite entertaining!

The little egrets are still around. I spotted four at the viewing screen on Sunday and last week there were two paddling in the burn at Classlochie. 

Little Egret flying over

After watching the egrets I was lucky enough to hear and then see a flock of eight bullfinch flying over me.  They are probably my second favourite woodland bird species after long-tailed tits of course!  The bright orange plumage of the males stood out and brightened up an otherwise dull day.  In the winter when seed availability is low bullfinches move on to feeding on tree buds.  I watched them feeding and fluttering from tree to tree as they fed before they headed off towards the golf course.

With the New Year many of us will make New Year resolutions; I hope that if you do make any that you will do it with nature in mind.  If you go out to a wild place remember as they say, to ‘Take nothing but memories and leave nothing but footprints.’  We spent much of the summer cleaning up the reserve of litter.  If everyone took their litter home with them we would have more time to work on other tasks around the reserve such as invasive species control and habitat management.  We want Loch Leven to be the best it can be and we can do this by all doing our bit. 

Fungi found at Grahamstone – still to ID
Kestrel flying above Carsehall
Grey Heron roosting at Kirkgate point

This will be my last blog for a few months as my season at Loch Leven has finished but I will return in the Spring (April) along with the Swallows and will catch up with you all then.  Take care and stay safe.  Louise.

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

Christmas is fast approaching and it has been another soggy week at Loch Leven.  I would much prefer cold frosty days to the wet ones we have had.  Sunday’s weather even caused a full change of uniform as my trail checks ended in me having to peel off layers of wet clothes.

We had our December goose count on Monday; numbers were down quite a bit from our last count with only 1592 Pink-footed geese counted.  It is not too unusual as last year’s December count was around 1100 ‘pinkies’.  The water levels on the Loch are still high and parts of the trail are pretty muddy so please take care when out and about and wear suitable footwear.

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© Lorne Gill

Some of you may have noticed our 12 birds of Christmas Trail at Burleigh.  If you haven’t but have some time over the Christmas holidays, have a walk round and sing along!  Once you reach the end of the trail have a look and see if you are able to spot any of the birds from the trail on or around the Loch.

If you are around at Kirkgate have a look out for short-eared owls; you might be lucky enough to see one!  ‘Shorties’ like to feed during the day and can often be seen foraging around Kirkgate Point looking for voles to eat.  These owls are normally a bit easier to spot in the winter time as resident birds are often joined by migrants from Scandinavia and Iceland and there are more birds around.  They are beautiful birds and one of my favourite birds of prey; I have even been lucky enough to ring a chick!

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©Lorne Gill

The winter solstice falls on the 21st December and this date marks the day of the year with the fewest hours of daylight.  This means the days will be starting to get longer and spring will be ‘just around the corner’ although it doesn’t mean the coldest days are behind us! 

If you are gathering greenery and berries for your decorations this year please remember to leave plenty for the wildlife.  Holly and Ivy are both traditionally associated with Christmas but are also really important for wildlife. Holly trees are important all year round for their flowers are a source of pollen for bees and the caterpillars feed on the flowers and buds.  Birds will nest within the trees and use the leaves as protection.  Their berries are an important food source for lots of birds including Robins and Blackbirds and the greenery is an important source of shelter for them during the winter months.  Ivy is another evergreen which can provide a winter shelter for birds; including Goldcrests and Dunnocks, as well as overwintering insects.  Ivy can be see creeping along walls and up trees as well as forming bushes.  The flowers are a good source of nectar for bees and butterflies particularly during the autumn season. 

If you are needing a break from the hustle and bustle of the Christmas rush especially with the additional pressure of Covid, remember, spending time in nature can be the perfect remedy.  On behalf of the Loch Leven NNR team I would like to wish you all a Happy Christmas and best wishes for the New Year. 

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Island Hopping

I have had a bit of a different week! I haven’t spent much time at Loch Leven, but I did get out to some other pretty special places. I was lucky enough to spend a couple of days under the Queensferry crossing and around the Forth.

Something a bit James Bond-esque about this photo..

I was completing my RYA Powerboat Level 2 certification at South Queensferry. Boat skills are a necessity at Loch Leven for getting out to do nest surveys and to conduct vital management. This Powerboat course is one of a few needed to be a competent boat operator. A very fun training course indeed!

Inchcolm Island

As part of my training I headed out to some Islands in the Forth. This was my first time to Inchcolm and it is a magic place! The Abbey was established originally as a Priory in 1235 by David I of Scotland. It is an island steeped in history.

I also got the chance to sail by Inchmickery Island. This Island was used for Gun Placement in WW1 and WW2. The concrete buildings on the Island also make it look like a warship (well, in my eyes anyway…).

Inchmickery Island

Later in the week I also headed out to another Island in the forth. A famous national nature reserve and one of our NatureScot sister reserves. Can you guess what it is yet? Of course, the Isle of May!

I gave Nature Reserve Manager, David Steel, a hand with the quarterly fuel run on the Island. It was up and out early doors to collect fuel cannisters from the Island. David and the boatmen went away to fill 22 canisters with Fuel and this left me on the Island alone. What a place! I have visited many times, but never on my own, it’s a fantastic experience.

Isle of May ‘Low Light’ home to the oldest bird observatory in Scotland.
Looking towards Fluke Street with the Main Lighthouse in the background
The main light (left) and the beacon (right).

The Beacon is the oldest lighthouse in Scotland built in 1634. It used to be 3 story’s tall but only the 1st story remains. The Main light was built in 1816 by the famous Stevenson family who designed many iconic lighthouses all over Scotland.

On my short stent on the Island of couple hours I did see some wildlife. 3 Short-eared Owl, a few Blackbird, Robin, Redwing, Song thrush and Fieldfare were present! As well as of course, plenty of seals!

Chunky Seal! (c) David Steel

Once David and the team were back, we ‘humphed’ up the fuel canisters from the boat and re-filled the generator. It was a good mornings work but sadly only a short visit to a wonderful Island.

It is always a pleasure to visit other special places and fantastic national nature reserves. However, it was nice to be back ‘home’ to Loch Leven NNR and I was welcomed back by another lovely sunrise!

Lovely sky against the Loch.

We had a bit of an interesting logistical operation on Thursday as well. Our boat was needing repairs to the engine, so we had a lot of fun trying to get it out of the Loch.

Yes, it was a cold as you would think!

All in a days work eh! There no place like home… 🙂

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Winter is here!

Aye, winter is very much on its way. I hope you all tucked into your advent calendars this week! December is upon us and wintry weather is starting to rear its head. A tough time for our wildlife, it’s all about survival of the fittest.

We started the week with a Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS). A fort-nightly survey of all of the Waterbirds (Ducks, Geese, Swans, Herons and Grebes) using the Loch. It was a very pleasant day with brilliant counting conditions; bright, calm and clear!

Perfect survey conditions!

Our count figures show that we currently have; 1462 Coot, 584 Goldeneye, 16 Grey Heron, 6(!) Little Egret, 430 Mute Swan, 1187 Tufted Duck and 163 Whooper Swan amongst many others.

6 Little Egret is a great count, I hope that one day a pair will start breeding here. They are quite common-place now in wetlands around Scotland but they are still not confirmed to have bred in the country, surely only a matter of time!

The benefits of the wintery weather and high pressure has given way to some stunning sunrises. I encourage you all to get out at sunrise, it really sets you up for the day (and it’s even better now it’s after 0800!)

Mirror Calm Loch
Every morning is different!

I have spotted some Catkins while out and about. I like to think this is spring starting to very slowly emerge but the truth is that catkins do appear in winter. These little Hazel Catkins certainly did brighten up my day.

Hazel Catkins!

I was pleasantly surprised to wake up to a dusting of snow on Thursday. It made for an atmospheric morning on the reserve.

Castle Island and the snowy bishop!
Benarty dusted in Snow
Almost a ‘Shortbread Tin’ image of Scotland?
Stunning views!
Whooper Swans
Winter Moon
Ethereal Benarty Hill
Juvenile Mute Swan

I much prefer cold and snowy rather than mild and wet! We currently have a yellow warning of snow for Friday morning. Who knows what we will wake up to tomorrow, I hope it is more snow, but more than likely it will be sleet! By the time you are reading this blog, my question will be answered.

Well that’s it folks, winter is here! Wrap up warm and stoke the fire because it looks like it won’t be getting much warmer for a while…woohoo! Bring it on.

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Early start!

It has been another wet week at Loch Leven.

On Monday, Simon and I were joined by former Loch Leven Reserve Officer Craig and colleagues from RSPB for the November edition of the Icelandic Goose Count.  We were up before the crack of dawn to be in place for the count. 

As much as I am not a morning person I do enjoy getting up early and watching the rest of the World wake up.  There was a beautiful sunrise which never looks as good on a picture as it does in real life.  We had whooper swans flying over us, blackbirds calling from the nearby Yew trees and the chattering of Jackdaws flying to and from their roost sites. 

The total count for the whole Loch was 9301 Pink-footed Geese; the numbers will continue to go down as the winter progresses.  Some geese will choose to spend their whole winter here but many will continue to move further South to England.

Tuesday was another dreich day and we had a few muddy jobs to do including filling in pot holes and replacing an old rotten strainer post which had fallen down

When I was out on the trail at the weekend I noticed a few flowers were still out including Red Campion, Field Scabious and Yarrow.  Old folklore tales tell of how Yarrow was used to protect against bad luck and illness; it is also the food plant for the caterpillars of a number of moth species.

At Burleigh I was having a look at some Alder trees.  They are easy to identify in the winter as the female catkins remain on the tree throughout the year; these look like little cones.  Alder trees also have male catkins which are often described as pendulous.  Alder trees thrive in wet environments and there are plenty around the Reserve.  Their roots help prevent soil erosion and they are also able to fix nitrogen.  Alder trees have a symbiotic relationship with a bacteria which is found on their root nodules. This bacteria converts nitrogen in the air into soil based nitrates which nurtures the Alder.  Nature is pretty amazing! 

As many people who read this blog will know long tailed tits are my favourite passerine and luckily for me while out surveying on Sunday I was met by a large flock of them around the ponds at the Old Railway.  I watched them as they flew from tree to shrub calling to each other as they went.  In the winter they can form large flocks of up to 50 individuals.  They also form flocks with other tit species and I noticed a few blue tits were in among them.  Not only do they flock together to forage but they also roost in flocks.  Long tailed tits are small birds weighing between 7 and 10 grams this means that they lose more heat in proportion to body size compared to larger birds.  Roosting in a flock means that on cold winter nights they can huddle together to share body heat taking turns to be on the cold end spots of the huddle.  I have often seen photos of long tailed tits huddling together but I would love to be able to see it in real life!

The next time I write the blog we will all be tucking in to our advent calendars but until then, stay safe and well.

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November Winds

It has been a week of unsettled weather. Winds were swirling in from the south-west bringing with it lots of rain! That didn’t stop Louise however, at the weekend she was out with Kinross-shire Local Events Organisation (KLEO) putting out Poetry signs in the rain. The signs were put out all over the trail next to the benches and this was to mark Bookweek Scotland (16th – 22nd Nov).

Louise with a poetry sign! (c) KLEO

There is a massive variety of different poems all of which are worth reading, so be sure to head out this weekend as the posts will only be out until the 23rd!

We also completed our fortnightly bird survey in the wind and rain. Our Whooper Swan numbers have dropped slightly, so it seems that a few of our Whoopers have dispersed to other areas. Other notable bird sightings include 1460 Coot and 2,200 Tufted Duck. It’s always a fun challenge trying to count a raft of 1000s of mixed ducks, silhouetted in the low sun, bobbing in the waves, while the rain and wind blows in your face and shoogles your spotting scope….but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

A windy scene!

I was treated to some nice sunrises though, it is always a joy to take a couple minutes in the morning to appreciate the views. It’s a nice opportunity to observe the local ducks, swans and herons going about their morning routines.

Monday morning sunrise
Ethereal Sunrise from a few weeks ago!

We were out removing some tree guards on Wednesday with a couple of volunteers. A few of the recently planted areas need some of the tree guards removed as the trees have out-grown them. It is great to see the newly established woodlands doing well. I wonder what they will look like in 15 years time! Wildlife has already started to move into them; I have spotted a few used bird nests, a volunteer spotted a pygmy shrew and I’ve seen some Roe Deer sheltering during the blustery weather.

Tree Tube removal
Requires a bit of army crawling through the hawthorn and willow!
It was a rainy ole’ day!

The weather then changed from mild, wet and windy to very cold and dry. Thursday was a fantastic day weather-wise and felt extremely wintery. I was lucky enough to get out on a cycle around the loch and snap some photos.

There were a couple of Red Squirrels putting on a lovely show at Levenmouth. They were clambering all over the old Oak trees for Acorns.

Red Squirrel at Levenmouth

The Greylag Geese were having a grand old time at Burleigh sands, they didn’t seem too bothered by my presence.

Preening Greylags
Noisy flock of Greylags

The ducks at the Boathouse Pier were looking marvelous in the winter sunshine.

Drake Mallard in the morning sun
Female Tufted Duck

I spotted some interesting birds at Classlochy, two Little Egret. Even better than that, I managed to photograph them both in the same picture! These birds have really started to colonise Scotland. 10 years ago, this bird was very scarce in Scotland, but now they are fairly regular visitors to the Loch and other wetland sites in Scotland. These birds are probably favouring our recent warmer weather due to climate change.

Spot the Little Egrets!

Lastly, I spotted this ringed Mute Swan at the Mill Hide. I will send away the colour ring code and await the information of this birds life. We can find out a lot of information from ringed birds, it is a vital tool for bird conservation.

Green NPD, wonder where it has came from?

I will keep you updated with the movements of this Swan. If you see any Swans dabbling with their bums in the air, have a quick check for colour rings on their legs. Every sighting is a useful one, and you might be suprised to find out where the bird has come from!

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Fog and Fungi!

The nights are ‘fair’ drawing in and getting that bit colder too!

What a weekend we have just had where the fog didn’t lift at all on Saturday and on Sunday it was very, very wet!

View from Mill Hide
Hawthorn berries

There is always an eerie feel when it is foggy at Loch Leven, you can hear the geese flying overhead but it is very difficult to spot them.  Birdwatching is also more difficult when it is foggy as you can’t always make out the distinguishing markings so it’s a good trick to try and learn their silhouettes. 

Through the fog I spotted a duck which I thought from its silhouette looked like a Goldeneye.  The bird had a short stubby bill which sloped downwards from its face giving an overall triangular shape to its head.  It had a streamlined body and a short tail.  You could just about see the white patch on its wing; which is normally more visible when the bird is in flight.

At Findatie I had a better view of some Tufted Duck but, for some birds I still had to look closely to see what they were because of the fog.  Tuftie’s have a much sharper angular head with a steep forehead, flat crown and a broad bill.  Tufted duck are often described as being small and neat and even through the fog you can still see the black back and white sides of the males.  A lot of birders have their own techniques in identifying birds however when the fog is about it’s a good excuse to get out and practice. 

Elsewhere on the Reserve we had two of our Wednesday volunteers out with us last week.  Richard and Susan came to help us cut back some willow at Mary’s Knowe (Thank you for the pictures Susan!).  The tree had been growing close to the trail and causing a bit of a blind spot on the corner!  When we managed to get into the branches Susan spotted some jelly fungi on some of the branches.  After some very quick investigation I think it was Willow Jelly Fungus which is sometimes known as Amber Jelly Roll or Willow Brain.  This fungus typically grows on dead standing or fallen branches of willow.  The fungi can shrink and dry out looking almost dead but after some rain or morning dew the fruiting bodies rehydrate themselves! 

Jelly Fungi

We only see the fruiting bodies of each species of fungi; under the ground they are made up from a whole network of filaments called hyphae, this network is known as a mycelium.  Fungi are a vital part of the ecosystem and act as decomposers recycling nutrients back into the ground.  There is such a variety of fungi on the reserve just now, I’ve seen puffball, horse hoof fungi and I think these look like turkey tail.  Turkey tail is a bracket fungi which grows in tiers on dead hardwood like oak and beech.  They form semi-circular caps which have concentric rings, looking a bit like a turkey’s tail!

Turkey Tail

We have been doing a lot of tree work just now making sure the trail is safe for everyone.  This week our volunteers, John, Jock and Richard were removing tree guards around Carsehall.  The trees are now big enough to continue growing without them and the guards may actually begin to hamper their growth rather than help.

Hopefully this dreary weather will clear soon and we can enjoy some crisp, frosty sunny mornings on the Reserve.

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Winter Berries

It is November and winter is slowly creeping in…although it has been rather mild so far! I did a blog a few weeks back about ‘Winter Visitors’; it was about the large increase of Thrushes that we get on the reserve during the colder months. I am now happy to say that they have arrived in their hundreds!

Fieldfares (c) Gus Routledge

Every morning when I get to the office I am greeted with a cacophony of Thrushes flying between the trees near-by. The chattering of Fieldfare, ‘tsssp-ing’ of Redwing, and rattles of Mistle Thrush fill the morning air; A magical winter moment.

Redwing (c) Gus Routledge

You may be wondering why these birds don’t go hungry in winter? Well, that’s because they all have one thing in common….they love berries! Berries are an absolutely vital food source in Winter, a lot of wildlife rely on berries for keeping them going through the harsh and potentially snowy months.

The botanical description of a Berry is ‘a fruit produced from an ovary of a flower, with a fleshy texture apart from the seeds’. It does sound rather simple but it’s not; this means Raspberries and Blackberries aren’t technically berries but Bananas are? Let’s just stick with the common description of a Berry; a small fruit found on a plant.

Guelder Rose (c) Louise Clark

The Guelder Rose is an important food source for birds, it’s berries are slightly toxic to humans if eaten raw, but can be cooked and made into a jam!

Speaking of toxicity, studies have shown that birds will pick and choose the berries they eat. This is done to ensure that there are enough berries to last them throughout the winter. Firstly, they will eat the berries that won’t last as long, things like Blackberries, Rowan etc. Then they will move onto berries that last longer and have more toxicity in them, like Ivy and Guelder Rose. Even Berries with mild toxicity can’t be eaten all at once, they have to go back for numerous feeding sessions to ensure that they don’t harm their organs!

Waxwings solely feed on berries, and evolution has given them the largest esophagus and liver (in relation to bird size) in the bird world. Their large livers prevent them from getting drunk when eating fermented berries! The natural world is amazing….

Blackberry (c) Louise Clark
Rowan Berries (C) Gus Routledge

There are hundreds of trees and shrubs around Loch Leven that will provide berries for birds and wildlife throughout Winter. We have Hawthorn, Dog-rose, Rowan, Bramble, Ivy and much more. Providing trees with Berries in your garden can be a life saver for birds, mammals and insects especially in the cold winters.

Again, with reference to a previous blog ‘Hedge your Bets’ we spoke about the importance of native hedgerows and the food they provide. Native fruits really are invaluable!

Hawthorn Berries

So when you are next out and about on the NNR, have a look out for big flocks of Thrushes feeding between the trees. Some reliable spots are; Kirkgate, The Pier and Burleigh.

Any week now we will expect our first Waxwings, and Kinross is a local hotspot for them. Keep your eyes and ears peeled, I can’t wait!

Waxwings! (c) Simon Ritchie 2018
Look at those crests! (c) Simon Ritchie 2018
Berry feeding Waxwings (c) Simon Ritchie 2018

Happy Hunting!

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