Here’s just a few of the things that have been going on in a very busy few weeks at Loch Leven NNR.
Let’s start off with something nice. We had a lovely Red Squirrel on the office bird table. Sadly the nuts and seeds were not enough for it to return another day. It spent the morning shelling sunflower seeds.
Other mammals which we have recorded near the office include fox (above) and Otter. You rule out domestic dog from fox by drawing a line from the back of the two front claws and if the rear claws do not cross that, it is a fox.
Can you see it?
The rising temperatures mean we have got the moth trap out again which is great for padding out wildlife blogs. This species is a Pale Brindled Beauty, only recorded locally in the last few years. I’ve set myself a challenge of finding a flightless female this year. The weather looks good for moth trapping the next two weeks at least.
We spotted this covey of grey Partridge near Burleigh last week. It’s good to see this species which has declined from much of the United kingdom.
There are many thousands of Common Gulls on Loch Leven right now. These roost on the loch and fly out to the surrounding fields to feed.
There are a few Short-eared Owls about at Loch Leven right now. Classlochie and St Serfs are the best place to see them at dawn and dusk. Craig Nisbet managed to get a decent shot of one on St Serfs.
A nice surprise was this Eleven-spot Ladybird. I found it outside the office. Seven-spot ladybirds have featured regularly on the blog this year where we keep finding places where they are hibernating after last year’s influx. I don’t recall seeing this species before at Loch Leven.
Trying to get a photo of something that is probably only 2mm long proved rather challenging!
We are delighted to have the Softrak back from the Ecoco Life project. In the next few weeks I’ll be cutting around the loch. We’ll also be chipping again.
This species of fungus is called Yellow Brain (Tremella mesenterica). This is a common species. It needs no explanation why it is called this. This was growing on dead broom around the trail.
And finally… We had the pleasure of Cabinet Secretary Rosanna Cunningham visiting Loch Leven a couple of weeks ago. She was here to launch the brand new and ambitious Biodiversity Challenge fund. This is a new fund of up to £2 million to protect and enhance Scotland’s nature. Scottish Natural Heritage has issued a call for ambitious ideas to improve habitats, safeguard species and encourage increased access to nature.
The cheery bunch.
The weather was cold and the ground was hard but we still managed to plant a few trees that morning.