The loch quickly froze over again after my last blog entry, and some of the wildfowl moved off to other sites. Much of what remains at Kinnordy is towards the west end where there is plenty of food available. There is a group of teal in the channel between main loch and swamp lochans though.
There was also a sighting of a bittern yesterday. It was seen from the Gullery hide just before 9am and apparently flew from the reeds around the lone pine toward the swamp hide area. Last year the individual we had on site became very brave and was frequently seen about lunch time on the edge of the reeds opposite Gullery Hide. So it is definitely worth spending some time in the next few weeks waiting for glimpses of this bird.
There are also plenty of good views of reed bunting to be seen at the moment. We often see them perched in the trees around Swamp Hide, but yesterday there was one hopping around on the ground just in front of Gullery Hide.
Activity at the feeders is a little more quiet than it was through the very cold spell, but we are still keeping them well topped up and there are still flocks of tits and chaffinches around. Also worth keeping your eyes peeled for brambling too, and I heard bullfinch again yesterday for the first time for a couple of weeks. I tend to hear / see them on the path a couple of hundred metres from East Hide as you walk towards Kirriemuir.
Whooper swans and greylag geese have been flying over too, so we are looking forward to the ice receding so that they start to come into the loch again.
Great excitement from certain staff and volunteers at the reserve this morning as not only is it safe to park in the car park, and the paths are more or less clear, but there were also birds to be counted.
The warmer wet weather at the weekend has had an amazing effect at the reserve. There are now several patches of open water around the reserve, and the marsh is looking wet, rather than icy. All this has encouraged over 100 Mallard, 250 teal, goldeneye and goosander to return to the reserve, along with the redhead smew, which is very easily seen when in front of Swamp hide as it has been today.
There is also a nice group of wigeon, which have ventured down from the west end to join the flocks of wildfowl on the Swamp lochan, and a flock of around 57 Whooper swans have been in the area, along with some small flocks of greylag geese.
Siskin and treecreeper were seen amongst the chaffinches and tits on the woodland trail, and a brambling was seen near to the reserve, so worth keeping an eye on the feeders.
What a beautiful, eerie day it has been. Although we started with a fair bit of rain, that soon cleared away, but the mist was down to stay. It taunted us a couple of times by showing us glimpses of clear blue sky above, but then it would close in again so that even though we could hear whooper swans and geese flying around us above the carpark, we couldn't see them at all. A little later we did see a small flock of 9 whooper swans on the ice at swamp lochan. With over 50 on the ice at the beginning of the week I'm hoping we will start to see a bit more of them now.
A single mute swan can be seen from the path a little after East hide when walking towards Kirriemuir, along with a few mallard, and the occasional moorhen. A flock of mallard and wigeon have also been feeding at the west end, along with 4 greylag geese.
We also saw a nice flock of long tailed tits today, and a few reed buntings were darting about in the reeds. Bullfinches and siskins are still seen frequently, and there were 2 great spotted woodpeckers seen on Monday.
Over the last few days the paths have been extremely icy again, but by the end of the day today there were signs of a slight thaw.
There are signs of a slow thaw at Kinnordy now, mainly the sheet ice in the carpark, and in patches on the path - please take care.
I was delighted to hear a Whooper swan yesterday, although it did look very lonely stood out on the ice in the Swamp Lochan, with nothing else around it. A pair of mute swan did make an appearance a little later, and in a patch of open water between Swamp lochan and the main loch there were a couple of goldeneye about.
A mixed flock of wigeon and mallard are feeding in the marsh at the west end now that the snow is receding, which is really good to see. There are also a couple of pairs of greylag geese eageerly feeding up.
The feeders between the hides continue to attract a variety of birds, along with the tits and chaffinches yesterday there were siskin, bullfinch and woodpecker all seen along the path. And although I haven't seen it for a while I know the red squirrel has been about - tracks in the snow and a broken seed feeder give it away!
I also saw a couple of fieldfare and a redwing on Sunday, always a treat.