To coincide with Feed the Birds Day and Halloween, Loch of Kinnordy is holding a family fun day on Sunday 30th October 2011 between 2pm and 4pm
There will be fun and games for all the family, including: • Bird Feeder Making • Petrified Pond dipping and Mini-beast Hunt • Spooky Scavenger Hunt • Frightful Face Painting • Fancy Dress Competition with prizes
Tell all the family and have a wicked Halloween at Loch of Kinnordy.
The event is free, but donations are always welcome.
Ever wondered what is was like to be a residential volunteer at Kinnordy? Read on to hear a taster of some of the things our valuable residential volunteers like to get up to while they are here.
"Anna and I arrived at the Kinnordy Estate Home Farm in the
dead of night one Sunday, after an epic journey across most of the country,
involving three Megabusses, one non-Mega bus and one extremely baffling taxi
ride. Kim, the Warden of the Reserve, had given our arrival a surreal touch by
hiding the key to the flat in a hollow tree stump marked by a brush and a
The next day, before Kim arrived to meet us, we went for a
walk to try to find the Reserve for ourselves. We fell into a bog. Later, after
trudging back to the flat in soggy boots, we met Kim (who is lovely) and she
showed us how we were actually supposed
to walk to the Reserve.
The main thing we’ve done since we arrived is get to grips
with recognising the native birds. We’ve decided that our favourite is the
Tufted Duck, but we’re also big fans of the Shoveler. One of the most
impressive things we’ve seen has been the Whooper Swans arriving for the
winter. The first time we saw them they were flying overhead making a terrible
racket (although not nearly on a par with the racket made by the Greylag Geese
– more on that later). Apparently, the Whooper Swans (who are of Icelandic
origin) come to Kinnordy for the winter. This is their version of flying south
for the winter – whilst a lot of birds go all the way to Africa to catch a bit
of sun in the colder months, the Whoopers are content to come only as far south
as Scotland. You have to admire that. They’re pretty tough.
One bird we most certainly have not seen is the Bittern,
although we have heard it mentioned in whispers over binoculars and thermoses.
Seeing the Bittern, we have decided, is the elusive grand prize of the Reserve.
Some say it doesn’t even exist. We reserve our judgement.
Our duties as Residential Volunteers have varied – one day
we had to venture out onto the Loch itself in a canoe wearing dry-suits with
Kim and Graham, another RSPB worker. We paddled around all afternoon filling
our vessel with bur-weed and the wonderfully named bogbean, both of which are
pesky plants that can clog up channels and impede (or simply spoil) the view
from the hides.
Another day we had a visit from a study group from Perth,
who had to spot and identify as many birds as they could without using a book
or asking for help. An uphill struggle to be sure, especially as 20 different
species was the minimum they had to spot if they wanted cake and hot drinks later
on. We had only managed 19 that morning, and that was with the help of our bird
guide and Kim. Still, they did pretty well. We only had to point out a few odd
Goosanders and Goldeneyes for them as the afternoon went on.
It was also on that day that we spotted a Cormorant on the
Loch – an unusual bird to see so far inland, but not unheard of. It perched on
a branch looking spooky. It was black all over with wings that reminded us a
little of a bat, feathers notwithstanding.
Probably the most memorable sight I’ve had so far, though,
is seeing a whole pile of the Greylag Geese (probably about 150 of them) making
a deafening racket, swooping in from the East. There was a little flock of
Tufted Ducks on the Loch at the time, and as the geese piled in, the Tufteds
looked up all at once, saw the hoard of geese incoming and dived underwater to
safety as one duck. They came up some 20 feet away. Tufted Ducks are, of
course, diving ducks, and so they can manage that sort of thing. What would
have happened if the ducks floating on the loch at that moment had not been
Tufteds but, say, Mallards, who can’t dive to safety, doesn’t bear thinking
about. I expect it would have been a terrible mess, though."
Written by Ed Sibley, London, staying at Kinnordy for 4 weeks, from October to November 2011