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Recent sightings

  • 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 (

    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

  • 18 February 2014

    Diver sighting - Monday 17th Feb

    It was a dreich WeBS count yesterday - hard to see with my wet bins and steamed up scope, but there were a few birds still visible.

    The most unusual sighting was 2 Great Northern Divers bobbing around off the southern edge of St Serfs, they were doing their best at pretending to be Cormorants, but the sheer size and diving style was a give away. Unusually I saw more Red-Breasted Merganser than goosander on the loch, mainly around St Serfs. Pochard numbers seem to be on the rise, while Tufties and Goldeneye continue to make up the majority of the wildfowl on the southern edge on the loch.

    A mix of Slavonian, Little and Great Crested Grebe were seen, mostly out in the middle of the loch. A couple of small flocks of Pinkies were moving around the area, while most of the Greylag were spotted on St Serfs with a couple of Canada Geese. One Dipper was spotted along the River Leven, but sadly no kingfisher.

    Curlew numbers remain fairly buoyant anlthough they seem to have dropped a little. Oystercatcher and Lapwing have returned to the flood in small numbers, with the latter looking as though they want to start the breeding season early this year, with some display flights this morning. Colin Ross (retail manager) described the Lapwing behaviour as "fantastic, low-flying acrobatics", hopefully there'll be plenty more in the next couple of months.


     Great Northern Diver - juvenile in winter plumage

    Edwin Kats (





    Posted by Vicky Turnbull

  • 20 January 2014

    Monday, 20th January

    The rather soggy weather has continued, and water levels across the reserve remain high. Consequently, the wetland has ceased to be so unique, and just looks pretty much like everywhere else!

    Our White-tailed Eagles took themselves off elsewhere for New Year, with no sightings between the 30th December and the 12th of January, However, since the 12th, they have again been regular visitors to the islands on the loch, so if you are in the cafe, its always worthwhile scanning along the treetops on Reed Bower, Castle Island and St. Serf's looking for them (typically  in the semi-gloom of an overcast day presenting as a big dark blob with a little white bit at the bottom).

    The single Canada Goose has become a permanent feature in Vane bay and the adjacent scrape, joined yesterday and today by a White-fronted Goose amongst a dozen or so Greylags. On the loch, beyond Carden Point, Shelduck have been seen regularly, whilst a female Smew was spotted on the 12th. Goosanders and Red-breasted Mergansers have been seen regularly on the loch between the shore and St Serf's. An Oystercatcher was present (Carden Flood) on the 16th.

    A pair of Peregrines were active over the flood on the 6th, whilst a Sparrowhawk was seen over the loch on the 12th. A pair of Fieldfares were spotted by the Carden Hide on the 12th

    Redpolls have been regulars at the feeders around the Visitor Center (the feeders have been removed temporarily to control the spread of Trichomonosis). A male and two female Bullfinches were on the Rowan trees across the road from the Centre today, whilst a Yellowhammer was spotted by the mouth of the Gairney Burn. Finally, a Dipper was present by the sluices at Levenmouth today.

                           Dipper                                             Guy Rogers (

    Posted by Ken Brown

  • 8 January 2014

    A soggy start to 2014

    Well it's been about a year and a half since my last blog, so i feel one's about due. My New Year's resolution is to remember to write a regular blog (we'll see how long it lasts). Monday was my first day back after the Christmas break and the site has changed just in the last few weeks - water levels have risen across the reserve (see attached picture for our very full reservoir) and as a consequence the birds have moved around too. Monday was also our first WeBS (Wetland Bird Survey) of the year and it was a good chance to check out the reserve. Although generally quite quiet there were good numbers of curlew, teal and wigeon on the reserve, but the wind was keeping the wildfowl tucked in tight to the loch edge, with the open water in the middle of the loch holding only a few cormorant, great crested grebe and goosander. The Loch Leven NNR WeBS counts (for the whole loch) have been totted up and these are a few of the figures: 1208 coot, 354 curlew, 198 goldeneye, 1 greenshank, 467 mallard, 175 mute swans, 639 pochard, 28 shelduck, 25 snipe, 1197 teal, 1519 tufted duck, 60 whooper swans and 389 wigeon. There were great views of a kingfisher zipping along the River Leven just after the sluices at Levenmouth and plenty of fieldfare feeding in the fields opposite. A dreich morning turned in to a mild afternoon and it was great to get out and about and see what birds are around. Sadly no eagle sightings this week, but we're always on the lookout. It's still early in the New Year, but there's quite a bit to get done to get the reserve ship-shape before the breeding season. Plans for the next 2 months include improving the screen by the Carden hide, churning up some of the ground on the wetland to make it just how the lapwing like it and doing a little more topping. At the end of 2013 we had done fair bit of rush cutting - opening up the habitat to increase potential nesting areas, but now we'd like to do a little more, including cutting some rush on the islands on the main flood to make it attractive to waders, which we hope will include little ringed plover.

    Posted by Vicky Turnbull

  • 2 January 2014

    1st January 2014

    Firstly, let me wish all our blog readers a Good New Year.

    Well, 2014 has started the way that 2013 has ended, wet, wet, wet! With the amount of rain (plus a smidgen of snow) that we've had over the past few weeks, all the regular pools and scrapes are full, and there are a few unintended new ones as well.

    Fortunately, the mild damp weather has not deterred our pair of White-tailed Eagles (2009 release birds male Turquoise X and female Turquoise H) from hanging around the loch, and sightings on Reed Bower, Castle Island or St Serf's are almost a daily occurrence.  Who knows, we might have a nesting pair on the loch this year. Back to earth now, on the flood, large numbers of Whooper Swans have been congregating, up to 152 on the 16th of December, whilst in Vane Bay, similar large numbers of Goosanders have been regular visitors. A lone Canada Goose has been hanging around the bay, with what appears to be some damage to its right wing.

    At the feeders, the usual conglomeration of finches and tits , with the occasional sighting of Redpolls (probably Lesser).

    In the upstairs cafe, a new addition is our BookCycle second hand book stall, where you can pick up some light or heavy reading. All book donations are welcome, and all proceeds go directly towards maintaining RSPB Loch Leven reserve.

    Posted by Ken Brown

  • 9 October 2013

    Friday, 4th October

    As we approach the end of 2013, geese loom large in our thoughts here at RSPB Loch Leven. Not the staff Christmas dinner, but the massed ranks of Pink-footed Geese (Pink-feeted Geese?) that congregate around Loch Leven at this time of year, before moving on to their wintering grounds. The honking of the Pink-foots as they fly around the area provides an almost constant background accompaniment. Accordingly, October is Goose month, with a number of goose-orientated events happening for adults and children (see our web page at for more details).

    Migration provides most of the excitement around this time of year. By the 23th of September, the last of the Ospreys had passed through on their way south, ending a spell of around 4 weeks of guaranteed Osprey sightings for visitors.

    Whooper Swans, Pochards and Wigeons have all begun to arrive in numbers, along with a few Pintail and Shoveler Ducks from their more northerly breeding grounds.

    The latest wader sightings include a Spotted Redshank which has been hanging around the sandy shoreline in Vane Bay, giving good views from the cafe.

           Spotted Redshank                                                                      (J M Garg)

    Posted by Ken Brown

  • 14 September 2013

    Friday, 13th September

    It's been busy on the reserve for the past couple of weeks, mostly involving big yellow machines moving earth around.

    All this work is due to the extension of the Loch Leven Heritage Trail, which will run from Vane around the south west side of the loch back to Kinross, to complete the loop. The path will run alongside the B9097 to the west end of the reserve, where a purpose-built viewpoint will provide views back over the raised bog and wetlands. The path will then head towards the loch, and cross the Gairney Burn by means of a new footbridge, before linking with the old railway line back to Kinross. The new Trail is expected to open around March next year.

    The new path from the current Heritage Trail end  at Vane          (photo: Ken Brown)

    Whilst this work was going on, we took the opportunity to upgrade and widen the path on the wetland part of the reserve; also, the bund on the south side of the path has been removed. The areas of bare earth will be re-seeded and hedges planted.

    New wetland path looking from Carden Hide end                         (photo: Ken Brown)

    The Osprey has been the bird in the spotlight this month, with around 3-4 Ospreys visiting the reserve each day since around the 22nd of August. Last Monday (9th) was especially notable, with 8 birds perching on fenceposts within the reserve.

    Long-range photo of Osprey on post beside loch                           (photo: Ken Brown)

    The last of the Swallows have just fledged, a brood of 3 in the underpass.

    Three swallows sat upon a shelf, sat upon a shelf...................     (photo: Ken Brown)

    Other breaking news, Whooper Swans and Wigeon have now begun to arrive back from their northern breeding grounds, as have our Pink-footed Geese, the first of which were recorded on the 7th of this month, some 10-12 days earlier than last year.

    That's all for now, folks.

    Posted by Ken Brown

Your sightings

Grid reference: NT1699 (+2km)

Pink-footed Goose (200)
11 Apr 2014
Little Ringed Plover ()
11 Apr 2014
Goosander ()
8 Apr 2014
Water Rail (2)
5 Apr 2014
Grey Wagtail (3)
5 Apr 2014
White-fronted Goose (Greenland) (1)
4 Apr 2014
Smew ()
2 Apr 2014
Kingfisher ()
2 Apr 2014
Buzzard (1)
15 Apr 2014
Great Spotted Woodpecker (1)
15 Apr 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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