Recent sightings: The black stork continues to make regular appearances, in between skulking in the rushes – it’s usually seen on the pools in front of the Visitor Centre, and occasionally on the Low Ground. The great white egret has proved more elusive, tending to be seen in the reeds along the north-east corner of the loch, north of the Cut. 17 August saw a spotted redshank and a little stint drop in briefly on Starnafin Pools. Numbers of waders continue to build, with dunlin, black-tailed godwits, ruff, at least 17 greenshank, snipe, and an unexpected turnstone all seen from the Visitor Centre. With a number of rarities showing up along the coast, it might be a good time to check out Rattray and the Plantation for migrants!
Black stork and Koniks, Michele Emslie
The common terns remain unimpressed by the visitor, however.
Tern & stork, Michele Emslie
Down in the Meadow: The ‘Magnificent Meadows’ guided walk on 29 July was very well attended, and enjoyed by all those who came along. For once the weather was kind, and as usual, the Koniks stole the show! We’ve had the Softrak machinery on site for a couple of weeks topping the rushes in selected parts of the project area, and the operator reported that, this year, the places where the ponies have been at work were much easier going, both with a reduction in rushes and through packing-down of the sphagnum mosses by a large number of pony hooves! Two new additions to the herd arrived on 13 August, a couple of 14-month old colts from the National Trust Wicken Fen reserve; we hope these lads will become a key part of our ongoing breeding programme in the next year or so, when they’ve grown up a bit. Conditions on Vet day were appalling, with an all-day downpour; nevertheless, our team and the vet managed to round up all three herds, put them through the corral and race for their annual checks, inoculate 22 ponies against tetanus and microchip our two new foals in an hour and a half, which is pretty impressive! Almost as impressive was the amount of water our Reserves Manager wrung out of his sweater when he got back to the office...
Comings and goings: We said farewell to our Habitats and Species Warden, Derren Fox, who leaves us to spend a year on Gough Island in the South Atlantic, studying seabirds – this is possibly one of the most remote places on the planet! Long-term local volunteer Roger Vernon also left us, as he and his family are moving south – we wish him all the best, and congratulate whichever reserve he volunteers at next on their gain!
A first for the reserve, and something not seen very often in our area!
photos by Mike Chandler (Thanks!)
Seen this morning from the Visitor Centre, and showing well except when it goes for a snooze in the rushes at the back of Starnafin Pools, our first ever Black Stork has caused some excitement! The bird has a DARVIC ring -White with black letters, F05P - which, we believe, indicates that it is a youngster ringed in France this year. It's been feeding on small fish, frogs and tadpoles and invertebrates, and seems to be finding quite a lot, so we're hoping it might stay around for a while.
Some of our visitors have commented that there's not a lot of water on the Savoch Low Ground at the moment. The reason for this is we've got a ditcher coming in to clear some of the ditches, which will make controlling the water levels easier. It also means the ground is dry enough to allow our new osprey platform to be put up! This will be done in the next two weeks, giving us a chance to raise the levels in time for the geese coming back in September.
Found at Troup Head - pair of prescription sunglasses in blue Optical Express case. Case has traces of printing as if it's been put down on wet ink, may say Miller, School of Civil Engineering, Geoscience.
If these are yours, they are at the office at Loch of Strathbeg - give us a call on 01346 532017 or email Strathbeg@rspb.org.uk to sort out getting them back!