A brief glimpse of proper winter weather has been a welcome relief from the relentless rain of the last couple of months. Hopefully the cold will set in and bring some more of the white stuff our way soon.
The stars of the New Year so far have undoubtedly been the abundance of Short-eared Owls around Loch Leven. During a Hen Harrier count over the weekend (sadly no harriers recorded), we estimated a minimum of 12 Short-eared Owls at various locations, with as many as 6 observed hunting over Carsehall Bog!
Known to have bred here in small numbers, these owls often over-winter, but the numbers we’re seeing this year are certainly impressive. This follows on from what was a good year for them through Autumn migration. Isle of May NNR recorded a whopping 14 on 11th November, as Scandanavian birds moved south to avoid the harsh winter. The bumper year may be linked to a good vole season, on which this species is heavily reliant as a source of prey.
Other recent records that have been drawing attention to Loch Leven have been a Great Northern Diver, a couple of Red-necked Grebes and a couple of Smew, but all were tricky to spot at distance, and even trickier to photograph.