Wild winter weather

I’ve just arrived at work after my journey taking 45 minutes longer than it normally does due to a fallen tree and another diversion as well. Basically, keep safe folks! It’s a bit slippy on some of those country roads.

The weather has been more wintery over the past few days and, besides the roads, it’s been quite nice. I personally really like this weather due to the fact it’s not raining and the sun is shining!

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Going back to Tuesday, I arrived at work quite early and had a wander about getting various photos of the sunrise. So here’s a wee compilation of pics…

Anyway, the loch continues to be busy with the activity of wildlife and us lot trying to manage it all! Tufted Ducks are everywhere, and if you look amongst them you may be lucky to spot a Smew or a Scaup. Jeremy and I saw both a male and female Smew in amongst the Tufties between Findatie and RSPB Loch Leven, and there have been a couple of Scaup off Kirkgate Point. From Burleigh Hide Jeremy managed to pick out 4 Slavonian Grebes as well, so there’s plenty to see on the water.

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Tufted Ducks from the Kirkgate

On a side note, I managed to stumble upon a singing male Crossbill in Levenmouth Woods and have posted a shaky video to the NNR Facebook page. These birds tend to time their breeding to coincide with the cone crops on the conifers.

Sometimes on the loch, sometimes not, the Pink-footed Geese are still keeping themselves occupied looking for food in the frozen fields. We went and found this group feeding in the fields below the Cleish Hills on Thursday.

Geese find this weather slightly less desirable as the young grass shoots that they like to feed on are either under the snow or frozen solid. In the field next door there was a large group of corvids (this family includes crows, rooks, jackdaws, ravens, jays, magpies) who were also picking about in the frozen fields.

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Mainly Rooks, a few Jackdaws too

In amongst the corvids were some Common Gulls. The discussion that usually follows this is that “they aren’t common though”! If you’re about the fields to the west of Kinross at the right time then you may see up to or over 2000 of them either in the fields or flying about over them. Despite this, they aren’t particularly common with around 48 thousand pairs in Britain.

But, the reason they’re called ‘common’ gulls is that they used to feed on common land. To tell a Common Gull from other gulls, it is about medium sized, bigger than a Black-headed but smaller than a Herring Gull. Common Gulls usually look kinder I tend to think, and they have yellow-green feet and pale grey wings.

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On Wednesday we had our volunteers out and about, fixing the boardwalk from the carpark to Kirkgate Park, picking up litter, moving bales and drinking tea. It wasn’t great weather for being outdoors but we got some work done and it was nice to see everyone back after the festive period.

After the volunteers had left I headed out with some posters that needed pinned up. Keep an eye out for them around the trail, pointing out things of interest in the reedbed at Carsehall and in Levenmouth woods and a few other places. I was out late, wandering about in the dark and had a few opportunities to have a go night photography, but I’m still getting to grips with the settings on my camera!

Just scrolling through my photos and have spotted I have a before and after of the snow from Kirkgate Point, it was snowing quite heavily yesterday. If out on the Heritage Trail in this weather do take extra care as I found, especially on a bike, it is quite slippy. Also, if you find any trees across the path then let us know by calling the office on 01577 864439. We’ll move any of these as soon as possible.

To finish off, I’ll leave you with some general wintery pics from about the reserve (and some from nearby Portmoak Moss) from yesterday. It’s set to get warmer next week so I’m going to make the most of the snow over the weekend.

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One Response to Wild winter weather

  1. Richard Alderson says:

    Great photos, especially the dramatic sky ones, Enjoy the snow before it gets warmer again on Sunday, but that at least should mean the loch does not develop the thick, hide destroying, ice of previous winters (mind, there is still time)

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