The Great Northern Diver that was seen from Burleigh Sands for a couple of weeks before Christmas had bird-watchers scrambling for a look at Loch Leven. We were lucky enough to find another (or the same?) bird last week, this time attaining breeding plumage and looking altogether smarter and more like the Common Loons I was familiar with during my time in Canada.
Primarily breeding in the north, these marine divers spend their winters around coastal areas, and are more commonly seen off the west coast of Scotland. Sightings of them on land-locked lochs are rare, so it has been a privilege to have had two visits this year, before this individual sets off to the north again.
There were a few other interesting highlights last month that Jeremy was keen to report. A near-record count of 24 Scaup were counted during the mid January wetland bird survey, as well as 4 Smew, 4 Slavonian Grebe, up to 70 Red-breasted Merganser, a single Mealy Redpoll (pictured below) and a Lapland Bunting, the latter of which was only the second record for Loch Leven. The last views of the White-tailed Eagles were on the 20th January, but they may yet return, having spent much of the winter here in previous years.
Apologies for the quality of these images, but it is worth remembering that photographing birds is not easy! Any images that you are able to capture as record shots, or if you think you have images of birds at Loch Leven that we may find useful here, then please let me know.