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Recent sightings

  • 6 November 2014

    6th November

    As I sit here with the rain bucketing down outside, I'm thinking that it was only three weeks ago, I was in the Waterston hide with the door and windows open, a balmy 19°C in the bright sunshine, listening to Skylarks singing away, whilst watching Meadow Pipets, Pied Wagtails, Linnets and a family of Stonechats.

    It's been a quiet time on the reserve over the last few weeks. Despite the strong westerlies, bringing the usual heavy rain, unfortunately no mega-rarities showed up. The water levels in the scrapes and the loch have risen a fair bit, which has had the effect of moving some of the wildfowl away.

    There's been a female Smew hanging around the bay, off and on, since the 22nd October, amongst the Goosanders and Pochards. Amongst the swans in the bay on the 31st October, a Whooper Swan with a yellow leg ring, and a Mute Swan with a green ring were spotted by Jeremy from SNH. A Jack Snipe was seen from the Gilman hide in the west lagoon, as well as a pair of Snipe at the back of the Carden flood on the 2nd November. A male and a female Pintail were on the Carden flood today (6th).

    On a final note; Just in time for the winter, when the best birdwatching is to be had from the comfort of the café, with a latte and a freshly baked scone, we have overhauled the telescopes, so the rubber eyepieces are back!

    Posted by Ken Brown

  • 7 October 2014

    ''Wink wink''

    The familiar 'wink wink' call of the pink-footed goose is with us once again - autumn is well and truly here. Large flocks of geese are moving around Loch Leven and the surrounding fields regularly providing wonderful spectacles throughout the day.

    The first NNR goose count took place on Friday morning and, despite the iffy weather, the 5 people stationed around the loch counted a total of 8799 pinkies - slightly up on the same week in 2013. Greylag numbers were down by a couple of hundred, with 481 recorded in the gloom.

    The geese have been very visible and very vocal in the last week and we're expecting more geese to be passing through. The 2013 peak was mid-October and peaked at just over 23,000, so we're all very excited to see what turns up this year. The next count is scheduled for the weekend of the 18th, so we'll update you with the results.

    Other recent sightings have included the American wigeon, it's been about week since it's been spotted, but it's worth keeping an eye out on the loch amongst the gathering wildfowl. Flocks of lapwing and curlew continue to be seen on the loch shore and surrounding stubble fields, while a flock of around 70 linnet is moving around the reserve feeding in the disturbed areas. A small number of whooper swans have arrived, with a handful seen in Vane Bay last week, the numbers will continue to build in the coming weeks as they arrive from Iceland.

    A little closer to the visitor centre, and right outside my window, 2 grey wagtails have been hanging out by the teaching pond. They've been skulking on the edge, dipping down onto the surface to feed and enjoying the easy pickings.

     

     

     

    Posted by Vicky Turnbull

  • 15 July 2014

    15th July,

    A fair bit has happened since the last blog. The modified path at the start of the wetland trail has been completed; given some snow and a tea tray from the cafe, thoughts of the luge......!

    The disturbed earth alongside the trail has resulted in an abundance of wild flowers, attract Buff-tailed Bumblebees, and on the subject of bees, the bumblebee meadow has opened, the Lapwing breeding season being over.

    Since the last blog, sightings have included a pair of Common Sandpipers at the beginning of June; a juvenile male Long-tailed Duck which stayed around for the first three weeks of June; a Whimbrel and a Little Egret  on the 2nd June; Scaup on the 13th; an American Wigeon on the 21st; a Water Rail on the 4th of July, and a Lesser Scaup on the 9th.

    It was a disappointing year for Little Ringed Plover breeding. One pair successfully hatched one chick, though this latter disappeared, presumably predated; the other pair, despite producing several clutched, failed to hatch any chicks. All the adults have now departed.

    On Monday (14th) , the Glossy Ibis was showing well around the Carden Flood, feeding on the mud recently exposed by the lowered water level.This was joined in the afternoon by two Redshanks, and two Greenshanks. Two Snipe were also seen. Three Pintails were present in Vane bay. As an encore, an Osprey then appeared over the loch.

    Appearing daily, we have three Swallow chicks, in the nest above the archway.

    Posted by Ken Brown

  • 20 May 2014

    Merry May

    It's been a busy month for the warden, Vicky, and her delightful assistant, Tommy, as they carried out the annual survey of Lapwing breeding, by monitoring nests and chicks.

    Visitors can get a taste of the effort involved, by taking part in the daily Find the Lapwing Chicks competition. No prizes, unfortunately, but lots of feel good factor. Eagle eyes and a lot of patience are required.

                 Lapwing Chick                                                    (image copyright Vicky Turnbull)

    The Little Ringed Plovers have been very prominent on the Carden Flood. This year, we have had four birds present; two birds have nested on the island to the left of the hide, giving visitors some great close up views. The second pair have been active at the back of the flood, but no nest spotted as yet. Additionally, a pair of Oystercatchers with two chicks can be seen on the island at the back of the flood.

    A pair of Pied Wagtails have nested beneath the bridge at the Carden hide, so keep a look out for young wagtails around this area.

                  Peeking Pied Wagtail                                                 (image copyright Vicky Turnbull)

    Other recent sightings include the Glossy Ibis, still hanging around, though it has moved to the west of the reserve, along with a solitary Black-tailed Godwit; these are probably best seen from the new viewpoint. 

    Eleven Whimbrel were seen in this area at the beginning of the month, so it's always worth a trek along to this end of the reserve on the Heritage Trail to see what's about.

    Finally, the usual reminder to visitors to the Centre at this time of year to watch out for low flying Swallows.

    Posted by Ken Brown

  • 25 April 2014

    Glossy Ibis

    Over the last few days, the glossy ibis has been showing really well from the Gillman Hide and the cafe. We saw it this morning on an island in one of the pools near the Gillman Hide. Here is a picture taken by Nigel Wedge on Wednesday. (See moreof Nigel's photos at https://www.flickr.com/photos/sarniebill/)

    Posted by Uwe

  • 18 April 2014

    Friday, 18th April

    Finally, it's here!

    The Kinross Glossy Ibis finally made an appearance for our cafe visitors yesterday. Excellent viewing was had by all those lucky enough to drop in for lunch.

    ** The latest news is that it is back today, in front of the Gilman hide. Good viewing over the Easter weekend has been promised. **

    In addition, the extension to the Heritage Trail opens today, completing the circuit around the loch. There is absolutely no link between these two events, nor any truth to the rumour that the Ibis was released by an interested party keen to reintroduce the species to Scotland.

    Our two Little Ringed Plovers have been seen regularly around the Carden Flood, and even spotted mating, which bodes well for another nest this year. The Lapwings continue to perform constantly. Nine nests have been identified, of which seven remain.

    There are still largish flocks of 300-400 Pink-footed Geese around, and eleven Whooper Swans were on the Carden Flood on the 14th.

    The new part of the Heritage Trail now gives visitors a great opportunity to see more of the reserve. For instance, at the large pool in the field just before the cottage, six Black-tailed Godwits in glorious summer plumage were seen yesterday.

         Black-tailed Godwit            Photo: Omar Runolfsson (licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License).

    Also, if you are visiting RSPB Loch Leven, it is worth a walk along to the new Viewpoint feature, on the little hill at the south west corner of the reserve, which affords a fantastic view back over the whole of the RSPB reserve.

    Finally, further to my blog post of 10th April, it would seem that we have been totally misled, and the new bikes for the staff to get around are bicycles; cycling proficiency tests have been scheduled!

    Posted by Ken Brown

  • 10 April 2014

    Thursday, 10th April

    Lapwings, Lapwings everywhere!. This species continues to hold its number one position as the most noticeable bird on the wetland; pretty much everywhere you look you'll see them. In the number two position this week is the Skylark, due to the constant background song flights of these birds, though those up at the Visitor's Centre may argue for the Great Tit that consistently calls there all day every day.

    Little Ringed Plover has been very prominent, now that we know to look out for it, being seen most days on the island at the back of the flood. I say 'it', since only one has been seen at any one time, but hopefully there are two, one of each sex, or else breeding will be pretty unlikely.

              Little Ringed Plover                                                  Ben Hall (rspb-images.com)

    Other highlights include 9 Black-tailed Godwits, spotted by our wardens on the 7th whilst on their WebS outing. A Glossy Ibis was also spotted on the far reaches of the reserve (presumable the same bird that hung about Kinross in the preceding weeks) as well as a Greenshank on the same excursion. A White-fronted Goose of some sort (which is as specific as I am going to be) was hanging around with the Greylags this week. A pair of Red-breasted Mergansers were on the small lagoon by the Gilman hide on the 7th.

    There are still some Pink-footed Geese to be seen, but you had better be quick. Redshank, Shelduck, Shoveler and Pintail Duck have all been regulars, with the occasional Pochard, amongst the ubiquitous Mallard, Wigeon and Tufted Ducks this week.

    The work on the new section of the Heritage Trail around Loch Leven should be advanced enough by the end of next week to allow the new section to open for the Easter weekend, This will allow visitors to see into far side of the Reserve for the first time, as they walk along the western edge. There has been some talk of getting bikes for the volunteers to help them get around the extended area, however the jury is still out on Orange County Choppers versus Honda Goldwing tourers (I was tempted to add photos, but eventually decided against it).

    Posted by Ken Brown

  • 4 April 2014

    Thursday, 3rd April

    Spring migration is hotting up  now, and this week has seen several firsts for the year.

    On the 27th March, the first Greenshank was reported, and the first Black-tailed Godwit on the 1st. A probable sighting of Little Ringed Plover on the 28th March, was followed by a definite sighting on the 2nd. First reports for Ringed Plover, Chiffchaff, Swallow and Sand Martin were also obtained on the 2nd.

    April is a great time to get along to the reserve and see the arriving migrants, as well as as our resident species, begin to build their nests. Keep an eye out for nesting Lapwings in the grassy areas all over the reserve, with Mute SwansOystercatchers, Common  and Black-headed Gulls, and of course Little Ringed Plover, around the pools.

    Posted by Ken Brown

  • 20 March 2014

    Thursday, 20th March

    The spring equinox!

    The first day of spring, astronomically speaking, though the Met Office prefers the 1st of March, based on a temperature system, but I digress.

    We've had some fine spring-like days in the past few weeks, bearing in mind that it is Scotland after all. The songs of Skylarks could be heard occasionally above the noise of the wind.  Lapwings have been displaying over the wetland. Out on the loch, Great-crested Grebes have been performing their courtship dance. Pink-footed Geese numbers are beginning to rise  in readiness for their return to their breeding grounds in Iceland and Greenland; the most recent WeBS count from Monday the 14th March being 6300.

    Small numbers of Pintail and Shoveller have also been present in the middle of the month. A small group of Whooper Swans continued to hang around the lagoon beside the Gilman hide throughout the month.

    Today, I even had my first Redshank sighting of the year, with 2 birds present on the Carden flood.

    Posted by Ken Brown

Your sightings

Grid reference: NT1699 (+2km)

Green-winged Teal ()
27 Nov 2014
Whooper Swan ()
26 Nov 2014
Smew ()
25 Nov 2014
Red-breasted Merganser ()
21 Nov 2014
Goosander ()
21 Nov 2014
Slavonian Grebe (1)
21 Nov 2014
Tree Sparrow (3)
19 Nov 2014
Wigeon ()
26 Nov 2014
Gadwall (3)
26 Nov 2014
Pintail ()
26 Nov 2014

Contact us

Where is it?

  • Lat/lng: 56.17626,-3.35462
  • Postcode: KY13 9LX
  • Grid reference: NT160990
  • Nearest town: Kinross, Perth & Kinross
  • County: Perth and Kinross
  • Country: Scotland

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Note: Some reserves are not served directly by public transport and, in these cases, a nearby destination (from which you may need to walk or take a taxi or ferry) may be offered.

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