Water off a duck’s back

… and I mean that in the most literal way possible. Nobody’s been criticizing the blogs, in fact I’ve had quite a few compliments so thank you all very much. I’ll keep it up in the New Year as well!

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This pair of Mallards were enjoying the waves washing on to the shore as it meant their food was brought to them. It was a nice opportunity to see how effective their feathers are in shedding water. It was like the when beads of water run off a really good waterproof jacket.

Anyway, going back to the last blog post on Sunday, just after posting that I headed along the road as Jeremy had come across a flock of around 200 Waxwings on Burns-Begg Street. This gave me ample photo opportunities as they devoured all the berries on the various Rowan trees in the area. There are some flying about Kinross at the moment but they haven’t landed. Keep your eyes peeled!

As well as big numbers of Waxwings, I stopped to watch some Pink-footed Geese feeding in some of the fields just outside Kinross, as well as a large flock of Common Gulls. These birds love this area because they have all the farmland (feeding) they could possibly need, and our NNR provides them with a nice safe place to rest.

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Pinkfeet with the gulls in the background

Jeremy and I had a couple days of moving all the bales off the reserve using the quadbike. The reason for removing the grass from the grassland is that if it was left then the nutrients would leach back into the soil which isn’t what we want. We want nutrient poor soil as wildflowers prefer it this way. It sounds strange, but it’s the truth.

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Then on Wednesday with a couple of the volunteers, we went round and removed all the wrap from the bales whilst putting up the winter interpretation boards at Kirkgate, in the car park by the Boathouse, at Findatie, and at Burleigh. The rest of the volunteers were trimming down the Beech hedge at Kirkgate Point so you now have clearer views of the loch. Jeremy also cleared the willows from in front of the benches along the shoreline in Kirkgate Park which, we’ll all agree, really needed done.

Yesterday I paid a visit to St Cyrus NNR and had a nice time improving the habitat for Northern Brown Argus butterflies by removing gorse so that the foodplant of the caterpillars (Rock-rose) can spread into new areas.

We also had a little session in the bird hide and spotted a Little Egret in the muddy pools. Keep an eye out for the Little Egret at Loch Leven, it’s been about for at least a couple of weeks now.

I also came across my second dead Harbour Porpoise of the month. This one had washed up on the beach at St Cyrus and Andrew (my equivalent at St Cyrus NNR) had wheelbarrowed it back to the visitor centre so that the Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme could pick it up for necropsy. Like their Facebook page to see their report of all the strandings they’ve investigated around Scotland!

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The eyes have been removed by gulls or crows but the other injuries might, possibly, maybe (this is guesswork based on what they could see when SMASS first saw it) have been made by a Grey Seal. But the animal had possibly died of sepsis as the injuries got infected. See the St Cyrus National Nature Reserve Facebook page for more info from Therese about the animal. I’ll post some pics from the reserve as well today so it’s definitely worth liking that page!

To finish off, some contrasting shots from last night’s moonrise and this morning’s sunrise. I was in the office late last night as we had our Christmas dinner with the volunteers.

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From the car park

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Benarty Hill

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Kirkgate Park

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Tufted Ducks sailing across a pink Loch Leven

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I’m planning on doing one more blog post this year so I’ll say Merry Christmas then, but who’s going to complain if I say it now too?

Merry Christmas/Season’s Greetings!

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4 Responses to Water off a duck’s back

  1. Linda McClure says:

    Stunning morning sunrise photos.

  2. Pingback: A few things of note… – Birding with Gus

  3. Richard Alderson says:

    Merry Christmas Gus,
    Thanks for sharing all the photos over the past few months.
    All the best for 2017

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