Levenmouth willow clearance with volunteers

The willow to be cleared.

The willow to be cleared.

The winter months are the perfect time for us to remove trees and scrub from various parts of the reserve, in order to prevent encroachment into wetland habitats.  In this particular case, willow trees growing between the loch and Levenmouth pool have become a natural barrier between the two water bodies.  By removing some of these trees, we hope to open up a clearer flight path for wildfowl and waders to find shelter and food in the pool.

Whooper Swans often frequent Levenmouth pool when visiting Loch Leven NNR.

Whooper Swans often frequent Levenmouth pool when visiting Loch Leven NNR.

The gap cleared in 4 days of work with the help of volunteers.

The gap cleared in 4 days of work with the help of volunteers.

A tidy work site along the loch shore.

A tidy work site along the loch shore.

By laying some of the shoreline willow scrub over on the loch shore, we are also creating more overhanging shoreline vegetation which provides duck broods with essential cover while ducklings are vulnerable to predation.

The shoreline willows were laid into the loch to maintain suitable cover for duck broods in the summer months.

The shoreline willows were laid into the loch to maintain suitable cover for duck broods in the summer months.

It’s always a good day out for volunteers when they can have a nice warming bonfire on a cold winter day, and spirits were lifted even higher with a couple of bags of marshmallows! (Thanks to Susan and Craig for the marshmallows!)

Marshmallows at the ready!

Marshmallows at the ready!

A pause for thought!

A pause for thought!

Lunch time at what was a handy wee picnic area.

Lunch time at what was a handy wee picnic area.

Neil and Ivor feeding the fire on the last of 4 days of cutting and burning.

Neil and Ivor feeding the fire on the last of 4 days of cutting and burning.

Steve and Iain came over from the Stirling NNRs, both returning to Loch Leven NNR for one day to help us out with some chainsaw work.

Steve and Iain came over from the Stirling NNRs, both returning to Loch Leven NNR for one day to help us out with some chainsaw work.

Iain sharpening the chainsaw on site.

Iain sharpening the chainsaw on site.

So that’s our team all off now until the New Year, when we re-group to get stuck in to some more activities around the reserve.  A final (slightly cliched?) shot to share with you all, as I bid you farewell, and wish you all the happiest of festive seasons!

Merry Christmas to all!  From the Loch Leven NNR team.

Merry Christmas to one and all! From the Loch Leven NNR team.

About Craig.Nisbet

Reserve Officer Loch Leven National Nature Reserve Scottish Natural Heritage
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