Wintry water

Loch Leven has certainly been showing off the best things about winter this week.

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This morning was no exception as the loch has finally frozen in some places, plus everything around the loch has a nice crisp coating of ice. The ducks now tend to huddle in the non-frozen areas of the loch, and if you’re lucky you’ll maybe be able to have good views of them.

I was at RSPB Loch Leven today having a look for the White-tailed Eagle that has been seen in recent days. It’s been using the trees on St Serf’s Isle but we don’t think it’s one of the usual visitors from previous years as they tend to sit in the trees on Castle Island and Reed Bower. If you see a huge, dark silhouette sitting in a tree, or see what looks like a barn door defying gravity then do let either us at SNH or RSPB know!

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Islands L>R: Alice’s Bower, Castle Island, Roy’s Folly, Reed Bower

Whilst around at the RSPB section of the loch I took some time to scan through the ducks that were resting on the shore of St Serf’s. If you know what you’re looking for then you might be able to spot a rarity, such as an American Wigeon or Green-winged Teal. I didn’t get quite so lucky but I did spot a Long-tailed Duck as it flew past, showing of it’s long tail. Unfortunately my pictures don’t do it any justice…

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Long-tailed Duck and some of 128 Cormorants

A friend of mine has been round there today and has spotted 3 Long-tailed Ducks and a Red-necked Grebe! Plus there were a couple of Red-throated Divers in the NW corner of the loch. This cold weather really does bring in the birds!

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Pochards and a Goldeneye on cold water

I’ve noticed some other birds that are becoming more obvious in the colder climes. A Dipper was sat singing on the River Leven as a Kingfisher flew upstream, Goldfinches, Redpolls and Siskins are feeding on Alder ‘cones’, and there are huge roving flocks of Long-tailed Tits and Goldcrests moving through the woods at the moment.

Wednesday, as per usual, was volunteers day. I took a wee group out to clean out some of the nestboxes around at Burleigh and Orwell which is why there was a group of people taking a ladder for a walk if anybody’s wondering!

It’s nice seeing the effort and appreciating the skill of the small birds that manage to build these warm, soft little homes for their eggs. Unfortunately, despite all the effort some birds won’t be successful in raising young, which is why we found a couple of nests with eggs still in them.

The majority of the nests we removed were probably Great Tits or Blue Tits.

We were also blessed with the presence of 2 Red Squirrels that morning. I was quite happy with the image this one gave me by sitting atop a Hawthorn bush eating the berries, giving a nice clear silhouette.

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And here are a couple of shots showing off the lovely warm, red colour of one of our cutest residents…

We also spent a bit of time filling in some of the potholes in the main car park so hopefully you don’t have to drive all over the place to avoid them!

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I’m planning on possibly climbing a nearby hill this weekend to A: see some snow, and B: get some nice views of the loch so I’ll post those next time. In the meantime I’ve had to make do with ground-level photography which hasn’t been too bad really…

 

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