Yesterdays first ever "Marsh Harrier Watch" was a great success.
Lots of people managed to find them time to come and were amazed to see the male marsh harrier when he decided to make an appearence. I've never seen some many people in the Gullery hide, but luckily that didn't put people off! Swamp hide were getting good views of him too. The wind did stopped the male harrier from coming out for long peroids of time, he was really only up for mintues at a time. But everyone managed to see him - and witness a food pass at one point - so we were all very happy. Unfortunately the wind did put off any ospreys from visiting the loch yesterday.
When we were waiting for the harrier to appear there were also lots of other wildlife to see. My favourite sighting of the day was seeing 3 mute swan cygnets out for a swim with mum and dad; one was cheeky enough to be hitching a ride on mum's back! There was also a group of 3 mallard ducklings following mum around the main loch (originally it was a group of 4 but during the afternoon some of us were unfortunate enough to see a rook take off with one). In the morning there was a group of 30 greylag geese seen from swamp hide. And a tufted duck pair and a redshank pair were seen throughout the day. A male reed bunting and a sedge warbler were both seen right out in front of Gullery hide - a great place for photos of them to be taken. The black headed gull numbers have reduced dramatically in the last week - there's only about 15 pairs now. It's likely that the otter has been around and has gotten to the colony again this year as with previous years.
If it's good news about the marsh harriers at the end of the breeding season I'm hoping that "Marsh Harrier Watch" will become an annual event for the reserve. So fingers and toes crossed everyone!
The reserve is now fully open again as of this evening (Tues 24rth May)
Many thanks to all the hard work of our volunteers. All paths have been safely cleared of any fallen branches.
Back to birdwatching - it looks like there may be good news on the marsh harrier front! Since the end of last week, only the male has been spotted flying round the reserve. A food pass witnessed on Sunday (22nd) suggests the possibility of the female sitting on her nest now. Fingers crossed there are some eggs in the nest!
Due to the severe winds yesterday the decision has been made to close the footpaths and car park for a short while today (Tues 24rth May). For health and safety reasons the footpaths will be closed in order to get broken branches safely removed from blocking the path.
Apologies for any inconvenience. Thank you for your patience.
The reserve will be fully open again tomorrow (Wed 25th May).
Apologies for a delay in keeping up with the blog.
Last week saw our surprise visitors back again for a short period. Two cranes were spotted on the 3rd & 4rth May. I think it was just a quick visit this year - blink and you would have missed them. No sign of them since the 4rth. Maybe next year they'll come and stay agin for longer.
The Marsh harrier pair are still keeping us all excited. Still nest building and giving us daily views of both of them. Finally got the press release out last week; Thursday saw us in the Press and Journal and there was a lovely picture of three of our amazing volunteers in the Courier. Today were in the local press, so go grab yourself a copy of the Forfar Dispatch/Kirrie Herald (or in my case the Brechiner!)
An otter has been spotted back infront of Gullery hide - they were seen and photographed on the bog-bean islands! Fingers crossed they havent completely eaten their way through the black-headed gull colony!!
At the west end we have three greylag geese family groups; one pair have 2 older goslings, another pair has a family of 4 middle sized goslings and the other pair has a large family size of 14 very young looking goslings. Let's hope at least some will make it to become adults!