The water level has shown no sign of receding as yet. The spill way is in action at the Sluices, and the River Leven looks as high as I have ever seen it.
Getting around the Heritage Trail is a challenge, and I would advise against attempting it unless you are prepared to get wet. It certainly made for challenging conditions to cycle through, as Tom and I discovered when we took our temporary Reserve Manager Therese out for a cycle round the loch yesterday.
Therese retains her post at St Cyrus NNR, and is offering support and assistance in Neil’s absence, ahead of back-fill being arranged longer term. Her first experience of the Heritage Trail was certainly eventful: knee deep floods, extensive stretches of submerged path and wind, rain, hail, snow and darkness made for an exciting journey!
A single tree was down over the path, which was less than expected. If any blockages are noticed around the trail do please let us know at the reserve office so that we’re able to keep the path safe and accessible where possible.
A flock of 20 Red-breasted Mergansers have been lingering since the water level rose, in addition to the high numbers of Goosander currently on the loch. Often more closely associated with marine habitats, small numbers can occasionally be seen on fresh water, and they really stand out when seen amongst Goosanders with their impressive crest, red breast and pointed red bill.
Also spotted earlier this week were a small flock of 21 Barnacle Geese amongst the Greylags over at Cavelstone Farm. More common on the west coast, a few pairs have bred at Loch Leven in recent years and appear to remain here throughout the winter. Our usually abundant Pink-footed Geese seem to have made a sharp exit, presumably on their way south to Lancashire or Norfolk. I’m sure it won’t be long before we see numbers rise again as they head back to their breeding grounds in Iceland.
The high water presents us with other problems, including damage to the boardwalk. Tom and I were out this morning fixing one of the boards by the office.
A few other images captured this week to give you a flavour of life around Loch Leven during this wet and wild spell…