With spring upon us, the heart of the loch is starting to beat once more. Steve was out on a pairs count this morning, but the camera battery died on him (doh!). He did pick up good numbers of Tufted Duck, as well as Gadwall, Shoveler, Shelduck, Mallard and Great-crested Grebe. Pairs and brood counts are fantastic opportunities to circumnavigate the loch in the wee hours to see what’s about, and it’s the best way to see the loch in it’s most peaceful, natural state. The battery will be charged for the next one!
Yesterday we were over on St Serfs Island with volunteers carrying out a couple of tasks. Steve was with weekly volunteers Alan and Sandy, to check and replace posts on the island that mark out a grid system that is used to monitor the gull colony every May.
The posts often get knocked over by sheep through the summer months as they are understandably used as scratching posts, so it’s a job that needs doing prior to each gull count.
I was with volunteer artist Amanda Bataller, introducing her to the birds that feature prominently in ‘Tufty the Tufted Duck’- a story written as part of a primary school resource that is used to teach kids about the life cycle of ducks.
As we crossed the island, it became clear that St Serf’s was swinging into action once more:
Gulls are back on territory-
Mute Swan and Greylag Geese sat tightly on their nests-
Oystercatchers raising hell as we passed by their scrapes in the ground they pass off as nests-
Three species of goose were still present, with our resident population of Barnacle Geese standing out from the crowd with their striking black and white plumage-
and still a large flock of Pink-footed Geese feeding off the south shore of the loch-