We’re certainly feeling the colder weather that’s moved in, with our first proper, hard frost this morning and snow on the surrounding hills over the past couple of days. However, you can’t freeze all the action at the loch, even if it did reach -3 degrees C last night!
The volunteers were kept warm this week as some finished up baling in front of the Levenmouth Hide, and the rest pulled out a fence that will be replaced after some work has been done. The best part about fence removal is the satisfying job of rolling it all up!
The wildlife continues to act appropriately given it’s winter now. Waxwings are definitely still present. Jeremy found 30 in Springfield Park on the 10th Nov, and I spotted 5+ this morning sat atop a conifer at the end of Mavisbank. Always keep an eye on any Rowan trees! There are some I’ve seen that have plenty of berries still left on them so the Waxwings should stick around.
***STOP PRESS*** I forgot to add the map of all the Waxwing sightings from the past week or so. I’ll keep this updated in future blog posts. To add to these sightings there were 10 or so in trees around Levenmouth the other day. They are very mobile, so you just have to be in the right place at the right time! The pink dots are where they’ve been seen…
Other birds are showing nicely around the reserve as well. This Grey Heron tends to be sat in the Larch just down river of the sluice gates and if you get there at the right time then the light is perfect for photography. Plus, everyone loves herons…
The light has actually been pretty spectacular over recent days, here’s a wee compilation of images from around the loch…
Lastly, I was out this morning surveying a fence to see what needs repaired and found myself looking at trees. The area I was in was dominated by White Willow, with some of them still clinging on to their last leaves. Willows are one of the most difficult groups of trees to learn to identify and we have several species on the reserve! Next year I’ll try to put together a little blog post on the trees we have at Loch Leven as there are plenty!
Anyway, in other tree news, the Oaks appear to have won the “who-can-hold-on-to-their-leaves-the-longest competition” as they still have some leaves that are yet to change colour! The Sessile Oaks around Levenmouth are some of the biggest on the reserve so I’d recommend a wee wander down there at this time of year.
If you look at the trees enough, you might see things in them! The Red Squirrels and Jays are currently hoarding the acorns from these oaks, and small birds such as tits, Goldcrests and Treecreepers are roving through in small flocks in search of insects to build up their layer of fat to keep them going through the winter. Buzzards and Sparrowhawks occasionally upset all the other birds, and I spotted a Stoat running along the path at Carsehall, which then set off a Water Rail that was somewhere in the reedbed.
Basically, get out there and see some wildlife as it prepares for the coming winter. Who knows, the papers might be right about it being the worst in however many years!