At the reserve we have one major topic of conversation at the moment and that it the geese and it's understandable why when there are thousands of them but they aren't the only things to see. We have 28 whooper swans on the loch, 100's of wildfowl, large numbers of lapwing and golden plover plus several greenshank and 30+ ruff. Not to mention that the very fair weather of late is bringing out lots of dragonflies and tortoise shell butterflies for us to see.
Another Autumn feature of the reserve is mushrooms and there are plenty of varieties around. I have recently taken photographs of a few and I thought I would share them with you below. The only problem is that many of them look very similar when I look in our books about them so I cannot be certain of their names and the study of them is very new to me. Is there anyone reading this who can tell me what they are?
Apologies for the lack of blog updates since the crane left on Monday. Most have the staff have been busy sleeping and eating proper meals while we recovered from the weekend!
With most of the excitement of the crane over, we've returned to our normal September/October job of goose monitoring. While it feels a bit quieter on the reserve during the day, as geese settle down and find feeding areas, we're still seeing spectacular numbers of birds coming in to roost at night. This evening Emma and I went down to the Rattray viewpoint to check for birds coming in from the south. The loch was already looking pretty full of geese when we arrived (yes, that dark smear on the water in the picture below is entirely made up of roosting geese!). Over the next two hours we counted roughly 10,000 more heading down to roost, mostly from the south. If the same number are coming in from the east then our Goosewatches in the next few weeks could be quite spectacular.
We'll be doing a full goose count on Sunday morning and we'll hopefully get a very big count this time round. Remember it's our annual Goosefair on Sunday from midday-4pm, lots of walks, activities, family fun and displays to have a look round. Entry and parking is absolutely free and we'll be running a dusk Goosewatch once the main day has finished. Places are limited for the Goosewatch so if you'd like to stay on and see our geese come in to roost then email email@example.com and book a place.
At midday today the crane having been sitting on the low ground for about 15 minutes took off and started to circle over the reserve steadily gaining hieght and drifting south at the same time. It was last seen a long way south of the reserve still gaining altitude and having a bit of a barny with a gull.
One of pectoral sandpipers appeared on the pools at Starnafin late morning.