Gulls and Chronomidaes


Welcome to another Loch Leven blog. It’s been a busy couple of weeks for our volunteers and staff,  and for the wildlife on the Loch.

Well done to everyone who did the Loch Leven Half marathon. It was a first for me. There were rather a lot of flies about on the day on various parts of the course.  These chironomids  (non-biting flies) have recently been hatching on the reserve in large numbers. These invertebrates which are so essential  for life on the reserve sustain the large amounts of birds, bats and fish which thrive in the reserve.

From a distance they may look like smoke rising from the surface of the Loch and move in massive synchronized swarms. Luckily they do no harm but it is worth wearing sunglasses to shield your eyes if your planning on cycling or running round the reserve. In Lake Victoria in Africa a similar phenomena happens.

Here is a short video and few photos of our Butterfly and Bee surveyors out last week….




Our surveyors still managed to look cheery, and the sun was out


The chironomidaes were everywhere!

This week we had a gull nest survey which was done in conjunction with the RSPB. This project is done every year to study long term tends in gull numbers and its relation to duck brood counts. It has been found in studies that there is more of a duck hatching success when ducks lay their eggs, which are usually well hidden, in the midst a gull colony.



Our ‘landing craft’ ready for a combined operation with the RSPB



Planned with military precision our team gets briefed




Every area of the island is divided into separate squares to be surveyed



When a gull nest is found it is marked and counted






Young gull chicks



This wee chicks entry to the world



The adult birds a mix of mainly lesser black-backed and herring gulls were not happy about our presence




When surveying it is important to be able to hold a straight line…



Time for lunch (thanks for the photo Dave)



Job well done and smiles on the way back after a hard days graft (thanks to Dave for the photo)


A member of the public reported a young swan looking listless and ill, upon investigation it seemed to be fine, but many thanks for reporting this, as we depend on the public to be our extra ‘eyes and ears’ out the reserve.


The young swan looking healthy


Well that’s all for this week , The next event coming up is ‘Wildflowers around Loch Leven’. This event is free of charge and is being run by Plantlife with local botanist Liz Lavery. Ring 01786478509 for details. Discovery Day on the 12th of June  will be held in Kinross by Loch Leven at Kirkgate Park Park.

Discovery Day is a special day aimed especially at families who wish explore the natural history of the Loch. There will be loads of interesting activities on the day, and some of our partnership organisations will be along, such as Plantlife, Fife and Kinross Bat Group, and the RSPB.




About Tom-Trainee Reserve Officer

After studying conservation at Elmwood college in Fife, I am doing a fulltime student placement at Loch Leven National Nature Reserve. This is with the Kinross team at Scottish National Heritage.
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One Response to Gulls and Chronomidaes

  1. Rachel Bell says:

    Great blog, so much going on there that you never hear about, keep up the good work!

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