Spring migrant bird dates and other goings on

With the earlyish appearance of Sand Martin on the 18th March, it looked like the onset of spring would be fast, but we were battered by cold west and snowy weather. Any migrants that had made it bet they wished they had not been so quick arriving!

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Another spring storm coming in at Levenmouth

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Sand Martins feeding on the loch

Here is a list of spring migrant dates :-

Garganey – 19/4 – The Vane
Osprey – 4/4 – Burleigh
Whimbrel – 5/5 Classlochie
Common Sandpiper – 22/4 – Carsehall
Swift – 4/5 – Levenmouth
Sand Martin – 18/3 – The Pier
Swallow – 9/4 – Carsehall
House Martin – 18/4 – Kirkgarte
Tree Pipit – 24/4 – Levenmouth
Wheatear – 9/4 – Carsehall
Grasshopper Warbler- 1/5 – The Vane
Sedge Warbler – 20/4 – Kirkgate
Garden Warbler – 4/5 – Levenmouth
Blackcap – 16/4 – The Pier
Whitethroat – 5/5 -Kinnesswood                                                                                          Chiffchaff – 2/4 – The Pier
Willow Warbler – 16/4- The Pier

Most of these dates are fairly late. I’d expect to see a Swallow and here a Willow Warbler in the first week of April!

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Whimbrel winter along the African coast and pass through Loch Leven in small numbers

You’d expect to see or at least hear Spotted Flycatcher and Cuckoo around the loch in the spring. Whinchat is rarely seen in the spring but is a fairly regular passage migrant in the Autumn.

Reed Warbler, Redstart, Pied Flycatcher, Lesser Whitethroat, Yellow Wagtail, Wood Warbler and Ring Ouzel are only rarely recorded around Loch Leven. We keep our eyes and ears open for them though!

I was lucky enough to hear a Yellow Wagtail flyover at Kirkgate on Tuesday.

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Bullfinches often minimalist song can be lost in the cacophony of a dawn chorus. A pair appear to be on territory at the pier and are feeding on the ground outside the office. They are a distraction when I was wanting to head out.

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This Wheatear was actually photographed in the Ochils. There was 30cms of snow up the top of Ochils last week. This small bird is a desert specialist in the winter months. You’d think it is struggling here but these birds breed as far up as Greenland and will regularly encounter weather like this during the breeding season.

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I’d usually expect to see a Swift by the last week of April at Loch Leven. When they finally appeared back at Loch Leven they turned up en-mass with several hundred passing through.

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We’re seeing a few Mallard and Greylag Geese broods. These ducklings were feeding in the shelter of the harbour.

We’re seeing lots of Red Squirrels along the trail. Any of the wooded areas hold them.

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This impressive drey is one of two that have been found so far this spring

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Soon they’ll be difficult to see when the leaves come out

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When you are out and about and there is a faint smell of coconut, it’s likely you are smelling the subtle smell of the gorse which is fully in flower now.

P1120860This foal which is in the fields along the trail was also feeling the cold

I’m off to Noss to see how Craig is getting on but there will still be blogging. I suggest you go out and listen at dusk for the screaming swifts flying around at night. Still lots of spring to go.

Keep an eye out on the blog next week. We’ll be announcing an exciting event!

About @jeremysquire

Naturalist living in Kinross-shire originally from Gloucestershire. Twitter @Jeremysquire
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