It's amazing. I have just been given the fantastic news that the first fledged black headed gulls since 2007 were seen today, thanks to the otter being about! I believe 3 young gulls took to the air during the commotion, and around 20 more took to the water, several of these looking close to fledging themselves.
It is so good to know that our small colony of gulls can fight all the odds (and predators) and protect at least some of their young long enough for them to learn to fend for themselves. These youngsters may hang around for a while, but I suspect they will start to move off to better feeding areas fairly soon, meaning the colony will decline in numbers, making it harder for the later layers to protect their young, but hopefully they will have some determination.
The otter seems to have found Kinnordy again in the last couple of weeks, and is being seen relatively frequently. Most sightings are from the Gullery hide where the black headed gulls alert us to the intruder with their characteristic way of going silent and all rising from the bogbean to fly over and mob the intruder.
Despite the added stress this must have on the small colony there are still black headed gull chicks about, and many birds still on nests, so I am looking forward to the first young fledging soon.
There are also two mute swan families about, one in Swamp lochan, the other on the eastern edge of the main loch. The two broods of greylag geese are still around also, it seems they are most easily seen towards dusk in the small field on the northern side of the reserve (across from Swamp hide)
Marsh harrier are also being seen frequently. There are two present at the moment, one male one female, both immature.
Many of the ducks are now going into eclipse, making them harder to identify - a good time to challenge your ID skills! There are shoveler, mallard, gadwall, wigeon and teal about on site though. A brood of tufted duck was seen last week, but they seem to be keeping themselves well hidden.
Of course the osprey is still a daily visitor, and one that many folk think it well worth waiting to see.
If you fancy hanging around a little later in the evening, starlings are beginning to come into the reserve to roost, and can generally be seen about 8.30 - 9ish. On Wednesday the marsh harrier was seen to flush them from there roost and hunt for dinner - spectacular!
Well there are now several nests of black headed gull chicks, some of them looking quite big. The bogbean is growing fast around them, so it is becoming harder to keep an eye on them, but hopefully soon some of them will take to the water and we will be able to get a better idea of how many we have.
The first brood of mute swan cygnets is now out and about (four of them) with their parents which is good to see, and juvenile great tits hanging about near the path tell me they hae recently fledged from the nestboxes
The marsh harrier was seen for about an hour yesterday, and there have been two ospreys seen fishing recently.
There has also been an otter about!