Springwatch 2017: Part 2

Loch Leven NNR: Another day, another episode of Springwatch. Once again we are going to delve into the wildlife around Loch Leven to help you find out what there is to see around the reserve and where to see it!

First, rain. Well, fortunately we wouldn’t know much about that because we’ve had such glorious weather! It’s been so dry that I was getting a bit worried for some of the animals around the reserve. As a great man once said, nothing works without rain, and this is true. The flowers, fish, birds, bugs, trees and many others will not do so well if there is such low rainfall, either because their homes dry up or because they find it difficult to find water to drink.


Yesterday afternoon from the pier

One of the species I didn’t mention in yesterday’s blog that did sort of become one of the stars of the show was the jay. Hopefully that wee one that fell out of the nest will clamber back up a bit higher into the branches to join its recently fledged siblings.

The jay is a pretty difficult species to see really, but we do have a few pairs around Loch Leven. Again, I’m going to point you towards Levenmouth Woods as that’s where I hear them most often. There’s a pair around at Mary’s Knowe as well but I don’t hear them so often.


My best pic of a jay, they’re very shy

The best way to locate a jay is to listen for them. They make quite a racket when people are nearby, with loud screechy calls from up in the canopy resonating through the woods when you stumble across them. If you’re lucky then you may catch a glimpse of one. They’re quite big, about magpie sized, and if you see them flying out in the open they look a bit like a huge butterfly.

One fact that always amazes me is that a blue tit chick needs to be fed about 100 caterpillars each day! To make that fact even more interesting, the slightly yellow tinge that young blue and great tits have is due to the shear number of caterpillars that they eat.


Young great tits in a birch tree

In terms of caterpillars, I’ve seen a few about the reserve recently, if you keep an eye out on nettles in particular you are likely to find some butterfly caterpillars (small tortoiseshell and peacock probably). One species I was quite happy to find recently was a ruby tiger moth. I’ve seen lots of ruby tiger caterpillars but no adults, until recently.


Ruby Tiger

I’m afraid I’ve just gotten back from balsam bashing and I need to pick my car up from its MOT so I’ll have to cut the blog here. However, I’ll bulletpoint a few species that you can see around Loch Leven that are somewhat similar to the Springwatch highlights from last night…

No Capercaillie unfortunately, not since the early 1900s. Red Grouse can be found up Benarty Hill though.

Red Grouse - Lagopus lagopus

Brown Hare, definitely plenty about the loch!

Brown Hare - Lepus europaeus

Newts: a few of those about the loch but no Great Crested Dragons!

Palmate Newt - Lissotrition helveticus

Really sorry for the rush but I’ll have time to do a really good post tomorrow, full of Springwatch and with a few extra bits and pieces from what I did today with the volunteers!

Sorry again!

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2 Responses to Springwatch 2017: Part 2

  1. Pattie Leonardis says:

    Love the brown hare! so perfect!

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