The Wildlife Diary is back because even though the ospreys are away to West Africa for the winter there is still a fair bit going on at the feeders and on the loch.
There is always a change over of species at the lowes as autumn turns into winter. So far we have had the arrival of goldeneye with numbers up to 20 at a time and even more wigeon, up to 60 have been counted recently, both in their winter plumage, the wigeon are looking particularly good. The great crested grebes which are here year round have also moulted into their winter look and there are still some tufted ducks left from the 200 that stayed for the summer. A family of five Whooper swans have also been hanging around recently and there was also a sighting of what could have been a lesser snow goose although probably an escapee as opposed to a rare vagrant.
So at the feeders we’ve had the usual chaffinches, tits, siskins, robins, dunnocks, treecreepers, wrens and great spotted woodpeckers. We have had our first goldfinch of the winter, a relatively common bird in gardens but not of woodland so that was quite exciting and another visitor from the north has also been showing up, brambling have been visiting our feeders and more have been seen so far this winter than all of last winter.
We are also still receiving daily visits from our population of red squirrels usually seeing around three individuals throughout the day although their main foraging times are mornings and afternoons as they go for a little sleep in the middle of the day so in the hope of spotting them its best to visit early or after lunchtime. Most of the squirrels are looking pretty fat and glossy which is good but there is one little one with bald patches who looks a bit scrawny burying loads of nuts so hopefully he’ll remember where he’s buried them all for the winter.
Still quiet on the pine marten front although the cat sightings seem to have also ceased. The natural food sources of pine martens such as berries are plentiful at this time of year so hopefully as the cold weather sets in and natural food declines they will be forced back to our supplementary feeding and once they start showing up again the pine marten evening will be up and running again.
Last bit of news, a juvenile sparrow-hawk flew into the one of the centre windows and quite badly bruised its wing so has been recuperating at the centre, eating lots of chicken from an unnamed supermarket and limping around the office – hopefully ready to release in a few days.