Winterwatch part 4

That’s the BBCs fine Winterwatch season over again. We’ve got a few months to go before we’ll watch Springwatch and we’ll do this all over again.

A lot of the featured wildlife can be seen in and around the Loch Leven area and we’ll tell you how!

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Sadly we rarely get Cranes at Loch Leven. There are just two records from the area. One in 1999 and a small party in 2013. I do however keep looking. I’d be delighted to see some of these large elegant birds in the fields around Loch Leven. If these species continue spreading around the county after successful reintroduction scheme in the south-west of the UK, Loch Leven will be the perfect roosting site for them. Thanks to Martin McGill (who coincidently was the original Winterwatch presenter with Kate Humble) for letting me pilfer his picture off twitter.

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It took me a couple of days to find a picture of a Winter Moth. These little moths do occur locally in fairly large numbers. I snapped this one at Craig’s house in Kinnesswood. While you are driving around the loch at night, you are likely to see this species in your headlights from December to January.

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We have a dry heath at Loch Leven. It’s a small area of only a couple of acres but we are trying to restore it. In recent years we have removed trees and experimented with cutting it.

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The Heather that is present is in poor condition through grazing but we hop to improve it.

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We do remove trees that are growing on it to let plants underneath thrive. No time soon will we be getting a tank to try to churn it up though! We’ve got our more sedate cutter and baler for that and maybe take out the odd tree with a chainsaw….

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There are still Hedgehogs to be found all round Kinross-shire. They are in the urban gardens of Kinross and Milnathort and are also spotted by nightime cyclists and walkers around the trail. The path is a good place for them to snaffle slugs. I cheated with these pictures. This is a Shetland Hedgehog from Bressay. If you are lucky to have a garden Hedgehog, go on the Winterwatch website and see how you can help this declining species.

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For the sake of this blog at lunchtime I climbed into the roof space of the office to look for wintering butterflies. I did however fail but I was surprised at the amount of wasp nests up there. Here is a Peacock from the summer to compensate. Keep an eye out though in your sheds or garages. There is a good chance a tortoiseshell is hibernating in there. By chance I found a number of wintering tortoiseshell Butterflies in the roof space above the toolshed in the Isle of May. If you are very lucky you might be see one of the lovely Herald Moths that we featured earlier this week.

We’ve enjoyed Blogging about winter wildlife this week. There are plenty of early signs of spring out there. Magpies are nest building in the car park today, Blue Tit are collecting moss to line their nests, our first summer breeding birds are back which include Oystercatchers, Shelduck and Herring Gulls, Greylags Geese are looking for nesting sites on St Serfs and a pair of Buzzards were stationed at a nest this afternoon.

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Marsh Marigolds will be in flower in the next few weeks. Their yellow flowers shine through strongly against lasts years rotting vegetation.

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The moths get  more exciting as the summer goes on. This charming creature is called Peach Blossom.

About @jeremysquire

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