Winterwatch Day 2

Gus and I have very much been enjoying the fabulous Winterwatch. If you are a fan of the programme you might like to know how to see wildlife featured on the programme locally.

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Loch Leven is a brilliant for fantastic sunrises. As well as the dramatic landscapes you can also get wildlife flying through your view finder. I was lucky to capture these Whooper Swans going out to feed on the fields during the day.

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Goldcrests are fairly common residents around Loch Leven at all times of year. They are regularly seen in all the woodlands. In the winter time they often fly around in loose groups with other bird species such as Long-tailed Tits. The  bench at Levenmouth is a great place to sit and listen out for their piercing high-pitched calls. Unfortunately we don’t get Firecrests in our local woodland. I’m on the look out though!

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The Stonechat can be seen around the trail in small numbers anywhere there is gorse. This little bird is present locally breeding in the hills and dropping down to the loch to spend the winter. Listen out for their call, it sounds like two pebbles being knock together.

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Gorse is flowering at Loch Leven. I spotted some today at the Gairney. This is a library picture however. The yellow flowers do brighten up a winters day and are a useful source of food as they attract wintering insects which birds including Wren and Stonechat will take advantage from.

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Curlew were the featured the  waterbird on Winterwatch last night. If you are out walking on the trail you will see a flock of up to 140 birds feeding on the horse field. These birds are finding earthworms with their curved beaks. They fly over and roost over at the Gairney at night. In late summer there are up to 700 birds moulting on St Serfs after they have finished breeding.

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Sadly we don’t get Purple Sandpipers at Loch Leven. They are however well spread out along the rocky east coast of Scotland. These pictures are some of many that I took while I was on the Isle of May which has numbers of national importance.

An interesting fact that I know about these birds is that a number of them stay throughout the winter in the high arctic where they don’t see daylight for many days and survive in tempretures well below freezing. I’d be delighted if I spotted a Purple Sandpiper at Loch Leven!

About @jeremysquire

Naturalist living in Kinross-shire originally from Gloucestershire. Twitter @Jeremysquire
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