A Glimpse of Spring?

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The evening light catches Bishop Hill and Kinnesswood

Tom and I took the opportunity yesterday to get out on the bikes to check on the path, and to conduct an interim wetland bird survey.  It was a crisp and clear day, with a hint of spring in the air.

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Coltsfoot

It was great to see Coltsfoot in bloom, adding an early splash of colour to the spring pallet to come.  Good also to see ducks beginning to pair up in preparation for the coming season.

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Mallard

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A pair of Tufted Duck in the harbour

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Female Tufted Duck

This time of year the loch is often very quiet, as many wintering birds will be moving about locally prior to their departure.  Tufted Duck numbers dropped below 1000, and other than 407 Goldeneye there were low numbers of everything else out there.

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Displaying male Goldeneye

Despite this, it was a joy to be out and there were still some exciting discoveries, including female Scaup and female Smew, both on the east side of the loch.

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This Shelduck pair are part of a small flock over by Carsehall Bog at the moment.

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Short-eared Owl over the loch

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Short-eared Owl keeping eye on the hide

Short-eared Owls are still frequenting their usual haunts at Carsehall Bog and Kirkgate Point, and many birds are beginning to show signs of courtship behaviour, with displaying Goldeneye and Great-crested Grebes on the loch providing the entertainment for observers on the shoreline.  Stonechats also appear to be pairing up, with a pair near Orwell back on territory and showing well.

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A male Stonechat near Orwell

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This ‘wild’ rabbit has become something of a local over the last couple of years down by the pier. You may spot it on the grass by the car park when you’re down this way!

I’m sure many of you will have heard that the Aurora Borealis showed very well across the country on Sunday night- a special Mother’s Day treat for all those Mums that had never seen it?  Spectacular displays were photographed in all sorts of surprising places. I was delighted to catch this shimmering green low on the horizon, and was glad to share the experience with my Mum!

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The Aurora Borealis from the south side of the loch on Sunday night.

On Sunday 13th March we’re delighted to welcome back the good people from Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland, as they host their annual Loch Leven Walkathon.  It’s an excellent charity raising money for an important cause, and we’re proud to be supporting their event.  To register, or for more information, please visit their website and fill in the appropriate details.

About Craig.Nisbet

Reserve Officer Loch Leven National Nature Reserve Scottish Natural Heritage
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