This year we're celebrating advent at our nature reserve, based one mile from Kirriemuir.
Each day, from December 1st to 24th, the first visitor of the day will reveal the next image in our special wildlife-themed advent calendar, designed exclusively for this site by RSPB staff and volunteers. Children are invited to take part in a Christmas card-making competition based around the theme of the advent calendar, with entries submitted into our Gullery Hide box no later than December 25th 2011. Prizes for first, second and third place are on offer with RSPB singing robin toys, arts and craft, plus sweets as some of the goodies to be won. Adults can have their own fun by entering our photography and art competition by basing their entry upon the RSPB Loch of Kinnordy site. A wonderful winter hamper to brighten the cold days is on offer for the winner of the adult competition.
Entries by December 25th 2011 also submitted at the Gullery Hide at Loch of Kinnordy, which is open from dusk to dawn every day. All winners announced by Tuesday, January 10th 2012.
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Thought I'd put up a picture of the Whoopers today since they've been around all weekend and today we had a grand total of 22, including 2 cygnets which were beautiful. In an ideal world though I would have a picture of the Smew sighted over the last few days - the male was seen on Friday and Saturday on Heron Lochan and today we saw a red-headed Smew (either the female or a juvenile) in the same spot, quite a rarity. 2 Pink footed geese turned up with the Greylags at the weekend also, although their pink feet were somewhat hidden in all the mud!
Pretty poor weather today made bird watching a little challenging so after a few hours in the hides we opted for some hard graft in the car park instead, hopefully you should now notice a lovely even and level parking surface at Kinnordy.
Sophie & Myriam
The sun came out at Kinnordy this morning which was a welcome sight! We met Ed & bruce (local volunteers) who said they had seen a Bittern hiding in the reeds from Gullery hide - an exciting start. Two flocks of Lapwings circled above the Loch for a long time, we managed to count around 50 in total, they put on a beautiful display for us, twisting and turning in the air. Overall a lovely morning at the reserve!
By Sophie & Myriam
October saw the arrival of many of our winter visitors and as November progresses we have had fantastic sightings of geese and other wildfowl. Today saw the largest number of Greylag geese so far with 500 counted on the Loch this morning, with a Barnacle goose and 3 White fronted mixed in for good measure. The geese have been doing a great job at trampling down the over grown bog bean vegetation on the islands in front of the Gullery hide, the flattened remnants of vegetation mean that we can now see all of the many other birds out on the water and on the islands much more easily. Other geese sighted recently also include: Canada, Bar-headed and Pink-footed.
The Teal are back in good numbers steadily increasing each day well into the hundreds, and numbers of Goldeneye, Goosander, Wigeon and Tufted Duck are also up. We had 7 Whooper swans last week creating quite a stir among the resident Mutes and 2 Cormorants have been sighted regularly fishing on the Loch also; add to this a a wonderful mix of woodland birds around the water's edge such as Tree creeper, Siskin and Buzzards and you really can have a great day's birdwatching at the reserve.
On a more unusual note we had a very special sighting today at Egromoss - whilst walking over the heathland we came across 2 Short-eared Owls that flew up right in front of us and continued to fly low over the heathland. This is the first time these owls have been sighted here so hopefully they will stick around for a while. There were also 3 Snipe on the Loch yesterday another surprise at this time of year and very well hidden amongst all the Geese and Teal. Some sizeable roosts have made excellent end of day spectacles recently, over 100 Starlings were present on 7th Nov, what a fantastic aerial display that was!
A lovely accompaniment to all the birds has been the fantastic little Red Squirrels dashing around from tree to tree all over the place, we saw 3 today alone!