Winter is in the air!

It has been a week of brisk winds, and rain. The temperature has been dropping and we had a bit of ice overnight on a couple of occasions. The Sunset and Sunrise can be spectacular, and you don’t need to get up early or stay up late to see them at their best!

Stunning Sunrise
Water level has risen with the rain
Sunset 7 hours later than the sunrise!

With the trees being bare, you can now get a proper look at the birds moving around without them being obscured by foliage. This time of year is a great time to spot Bullfinch, Siskin, Chaffinch, Redpoll and occasionally Brambling while out and about around the trail.

Winter is a fantastic time on the Loch, ducks are looking their best as they moult and prepare for the breeding season ahead. One duck that graces its presence at Loch Leven annually is the Smew. The drakes are probably the best looking duck in the world! Smew arrive here from Scandinavia and Russia and winters in the UK. Around 150-200 birds winter in the UK, and Loch Leven is a Scottish hot spot. The drakes are stunning, are we are lucky to have one here albeit in moult. The photo doesn’t do it justice! It was seen right in the bay at Burleigh beach, very close in on a stormy day.

Moulting Adult Drake Smew! (c) Julie McDonald

We were out with the volunteers on Wednesday, braving the rain and wind. We have been planting Scots Pine to further enhance the woodland understory and increase biodiversity. The Scots Pine around the Loch is all mature and the Reserve will definitely benefit with a new suite of Pines for the next 150 years! Planting trees for the future!

Planting Scots Pine in the rain

A stunning male Kestrel has been hunting around Kirkgate, we know it is a male from its ashy grey head. It can be seen hovering over Kirkgate point looking for voles.

Male Kestrel (c) Julie McDonald

The winter wildfowl is putting on a good show at the moment, the Pink-footed Geese are coming into roost at dusk. The Whooper Swan families are at Burleigh providing a winter soundscape with their whooping calls.

Geese coming into roost at Loch Leven NNR (c) Julie McDonald
Whooper Swans at Burleigh (c) Julie McDonald

It certainly feels like Winter out there! A great time to be out and about around Loch Leven NNR and appreciate all of the winter wildlife that is all around us at the moment!

About SimonR

I am a keen naturalist/wildlife conservationist from North-East Scotland. I work at Loch Leven National Nature Reserve as a Reserve Officer and have a deep interest in conservation and wildlife management in Scotland. Keen Birder, naturalist and practical habitat management enthusiast.
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1 Response to Winter is in the air!

  1. Anne says:

    You paint a wonderful picture with words and photographs of what it must be like there at this time of the year.

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