An absolutely stunning day today, really starting to feel the season changing, and it seems to have taken so long but suddenly everything is sprouting and blooming, there are two beautiful blue flowers out in the wildlife garden, one Pulmonaria and another that looks like an Allium, but I'm not sure (must remember to ask the field teachers...)
Came into the reserve this morning to be greeted yet again by the big group of whooper swans sitting feeding on the meadow, 25 in total, all making their beautiful whooping calls. There were also teal & black-headed gulls, both of which looked like they might be starting to nest, the mute swan is starting to build is usual giant nest outside the first hide (get's bigger as the water level drops!). Lots of tufted ducks on the Aird Meadow loch and 3 greylag geese, plus a coot and a great crested grebe!
Flooded wetland and whooper swans
The morning continued to be exciting, we started with no electricity, and it's amazing all of the things you realise you can't do if you don't have power...makes you think! Then, at 10am one of our volunteers informed us that there would be a steam train going through Lochwinnoch at 10.29am, so we all trotted off to the train station (it's only 5 mins away) to watch it fly through - there must have been 50 people on the platform, the most I've ever seen at Lochwinnoch in one go! And it raced through but was a fab sight to see, along with its huge plume of smoke following it and that distinctive chugging sound that only steam trains provide! We returned to the reserve and the whoopers, teal, grebe and gulls had all been spooked by the train (not used to such a loud rumble and all the smoke!). Never mind!
Annette watching the steam train come through
Then, as if that wasn't excitement enough, whilst sitting at my desk I heard the familiar thwack of a bird flying into the window. I rushed outside to see if the bird was on the ground, only to find a male blackcap! Imagine that, flying all the way from Africa and then thumping into a window! The bird was stunned as you can imagine, so I brought him inside and popped him in a box in a quite room for half an hour. I checked on him and he seemed fine, so went out the back door to let him fly away - at first he didn't want to go, i tried encouraging him to fly but he wouldn't let go of my hand! Eventually, he realised that he was outside and remembered what to do and he flew off into a nearby tree, giving a little chirrup on the way.
Mr Blackcap in his resting box shortly before release
Finally, I've noticed on my walk in to work that there is a blackbird with a penchant for mimickery. I thought I'd heard it the other day, but it wasn't until today that I could confirm my suspicions - the blackbird has learnt to imitate the exact sound and pitch that the doors on the train make when they open and close. As part of the beautiful blackbird song, every now and again he pops in the 'beep beep beep' sound of the SPT train doors opening. It's quite remarkable and well worth a listen of you can get along here. Just ask us and we'll show you where to go to have a listen!
Enjoy the rest of your weekend
Many thanks for this very interesting update and great photographs.
Glad to hear that the Blackcap recovered.
Also, lovely to see the pic of the steam train. I hadn't known it was coming through, or I would have tried to see it myself.