With fresh snow lying on the hills not so far from the reserve, it is a relief to us that the loch is thawing a little more each day. It seems to be a relief to the birds as well, with the site looking busy again now. Spring is definitely on its way, with signs including the return of gadwall, shoveler and tufted duck within the last week. Although there are still plenty of mallard around, many are pairing up now and beginning to see off the other couples. The mute swans are also noteably in pairs, and a few greylags remind me that it won't be long before they are settling onto nests.
Waders are returning to the area, about 20 oystercatchers have been on the ice in the last few days, and a flock of around 150 lapwing flew over, with a few of them settling for a while.
Snowdrops popping up around the site and trees coming into bud confirm the arrival of spring, but winter hasn't lost its grip yet though. Around 60 whooper swans now seem to be roosting and feeding on the reserve and taking full advantage of the extremely high water levels and moving freely over the marsh from swamp lochan. The smew is still hanging about, showing nicely in front of the Gullery hide this morning and apparently the bittern was seen again yesterday, although today it was doing a very good job of hiding as usual. Goldeneye and goosander are still about also, with large flocks of teal, and a few wigeon.
Was over at Kinnordy yesterday. 60+ Whooper swans and a smew!!! :o)