It’s all new in November

It’s the first week of November, and it is an exciting time at Loch Leven, especially for seasonals Ian and I, as this is the first time we’ve experienced the loch fully at this time of year! This is the first week where everyday is new to me, and I have to admit I’m not quite used to driving home in the dark yet! I have to be honest, winter is not my favourite time of the year as usually the cold dark mornings make me yearn for the sun but the peaceful serenity of the reserve at this time of year, coupled with the thousands of ducks and other waterbirds, is already brightening my days here. I’ve been assured that by the end of the winter it’ll be my favourite season – we shall see!

A very atmospheric Loch Leven

A couple of weeks ago we had a few days of thick fog over the loch which actually makes the loch look as good as I’ve ever seen it. It made it look like the Tufted Ducks, Goldeneyes and Swans were floating on air, providing a very peaceful atmosphere on the loch. Here’s a selection of photos from a few Saturdays ago, showing how magic Loch Leven can look.

It’s been great to watch the starling murmuration at the pier too! I remember watching them swirl around in these amazing shapes on my last day last year in a state of wonder, but also with a mix of sadness as I wouldn’t be here everyday to see these amazing wildlife spectacles of winter. However, this year it was a much different feeling, still equally as amazed but without the sadness. Getting to the pier outside our office before sunset at around 4pm could award you with this same feeling if you want to check them out! Starlings make these incredible shapes in the sky, and they do this for a couple of reasons – normally as a ‘safety in numbers’ tactic so predators find it harder to pick out individual birds, but also to keep warm and gather information. It’s well worth checking out!

In other bird news, this Wednesday we had a first for the reserve in the form of a Pallid Swift! A very exciting moment for us all while out with our volunteers, as seeing a Swift, any kind of Swift, in November is pretty surreal! This Pallid Swift was seen late morning flitting about the pines opposite the Kirkgate viewing screen and provided us all a lot of enjoyment! These rare birds can be hard to pick out from a Common Swift which we get here in the summer, but some key features include a slightly paler plumage, and a less deeply forked tail. They have had a bit of an influx to Britain recently, having been seen in at least 70 sites but seeing one on the reserve is pretty special!

Pallid Swift in flight, recorded by Jeremy

We’ve also had lots of nice Fungi around the reserve, although I am no fungi expert so here’s a few photos of some nice looking ones which I will not attempt to ID!

Lastly, I will just leave you with some more bird-life. The following photos were taken at our birdwatching event a few weekends ago – keep an eye on our social media for more events upcoming over the winter! At this event we had over 40 species of birds seen – here’s just a few!

About Julie McDonald

Seasonal Nature Reserve Officer at Loch Leven NNR
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1 Response to It’s all new in November

  1. Anne says:

    Forty species in one go is fantastic! I have enjoyed looking at your photographs.

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