Despite the poor weather migrants were more in evidence today. Numerically the most common were sand martin with at least 20 flying low over Savoch Low Ground, they were joined by a single swallow - what these insect feeders are eating today is beyond me!
Two sandwich terns were again on the pools in front of the centre, at this stage they are not showing much interest in the island which is a shame as there is still plenty of space - although the noise volume is increasing daily from the black headed gulls.
Ducks continue to be very abundant on the low ground, with atleast ten species present still. Teal seem to increase on a daily basis, we always get a few that linger raising the hopes that they will breed but in seven summers I have only ever found one nest so I don't hold out much hope. Other highlights include 5 garganey, 15+ pintail and 3 red breasted merganser.
In the shape of three Sandwich Terns on the pools in front mof the visitor centre late morning. One of them had a metal BTO ring and we think a colour ring as well but unfortunately a black-headed gull was asleep in front of it and thye tern flew off before we could see what the colour was!
Elsewhere a quiet day althouygh the lapwings are starting to get more vocal on the low ground and hopefully once the rain due this week is past the season will kick off properly.
NB - title courtesy of Vicky
...you wait hours (in thios case days) for one and then two come along together!
Monday afternoons is one of our goose field count times - so we all head off to various parts of the reserve to count the geese using the areas actively managed for their benefit. This always has the potential to throw up something unexpected and today was no exception as I headed off to Tower Pool Hide.
Waders at this time of year are just starting to get vocal and display more enthusiastically. Today there wee several pairs of oystercatcher making their presence known with their distinctive and very piercing calls; at least three lapwings were displaying in a much softer and gentler manner. In addition to these there were four or five redshank and a couple of ruff feeding away - the former will almost certainly stay and breed and I have longer term hopes that the ruff may do some day as well.
Whilst scanning through the gulls- something I only ever do in the spring when looking for Med Gulls - my attention was caught by a very pale gull lurking at the back of a group of herring gull. Closer inspection revealed a stunning full adult glaucous gull.
Having finished the goose count whilst walking back to the centre a single crossbill flew over my head - this can be a very tricky bird to get on the reserve as we don't really have any suitable habitat for them. That said this is the second march on the trot when we have had a spring migrant!
The highlight though was the swallow that was circling the visitor centre and office - summer must be on its way!
A good mix of birs this weekend.
Sunday was goose count morning - and what a morning it was as well. the final tally was in excess of 35000. The staggering thing about this count is that it is the highest count for the 2010 / 2011 season.
Other highlights this weekend included three additions to the year list - namely slavonian grebe, marsh harrier and sand martin, taking the year list to 113.
The garganey and green winged teal were both around as well.
I have re-named this time of year as "sprinter" - we are starting to get the first spring migrants and the tale end of the winter visitor. The last two days have been no exception. Spring has been represented by the drake garganey which is still loitering on the Savoch Low Ground and winter is still around in the form of the red head smew and jack snipe both of which have been on the low ground the last couple of days.
Due to mechanical issues - first a missing part for our topper and then electrical failure on the quad we have not been able to completely cut the low ground but we have enough done for the breeding season.
Next week start of lapwing monitoring - great!!