Whilst daylight hours are ever decreasing, the wildlife interest here at Loch of the Lowes certainly isn’t.
Over the last week wildfowl numbers out on the loch have been steadily rising, with peak counts of 101 Mallard, 30 Canada Geese, 20 Tufted Duck, 16 Goldeneye & 3 Goosander. There were also single counts for Wigeon & a suspected female Scaup in amongst the Tufted Ducks. Scaup are notoriously difficult to identify, being very similar in plumage to the Tufted Duck with which to complicate matters further, they will sometimes hybridise.
Migrating geese have also been passing through as they head for their wintering grounds. Four Barnacle Geese stopped off briefly last Saturday, breaking their southward journey to their final destination on the Solway coast. These smart looking, medium sized black & white geese, breed colonially on rocky coasts & steep slopes of the arctic islands & coast. The majority then choose to spend the winter months on the open saltmarsh and intensive pastures found along the coastal plains of the inner Solway.
This morning whilst filling the feeders I heard a flock of Pink-footed Geese fly over – another of our winter migratory species. If you can stomach being out and about by 6:30am then our Montrose Basin reserve is the place to go to see these birds. The spectacle of up to 65,000 Pink-foots leaving the Basin at dawn is a sight not to be missed!
Goose Breakfasts are taking place this coming Sunday (9th), Sunday 16th & Sunday 23rd October from 6:30-9:30am, meeting at the Visitor Centre. Porridge & toast awaits you afterwards, followed by an optional presentation from the ranger. Warm clothing is strongly recommended and advanced booking is essential. To book a place call Montrose Basin Visitor Centre on 01674 676336. The cost is £8 per person (including members).
Meanwhile, back at Loch of the Lowes…
The feeding station has been busy as ever, with daily sightings of the Chaffinches, Blue Tits, Coal Tits, Great Tits, Robins, Treecreepers, Wrens & Great Spotted Woodpeckers. A Goldcrest has appeared on a couple of occasions recently in the tree outside the reception desk window. Europe’s smallest bird, the Goldcrest is easily identifiable by the golden yellow stripe across the top of its head – that’s if it will sit still long enough for you to get a good look! Goldcrests are very restless birds, constantly flitting from branch-to-branch.
The Red squirrels continue to be very active, caching hazelnuts for the winter months ahead.
You can follow all the latest action from the feeding station via our webcam at http://www.scottishwildlifetrust.org.uk/things-to-do/wildlife-webcams/loch-of-lowes/
Visitor Centre Assistant Manager