Our Osprey chick Blue 44 today has been showing off his housework skills- moving lots of moss and stick around the nest – presumably after all that rain it is pretty soggy in there! Despite one thundery shower, its been a beautiful day here, very warm and a most welcome change. Our Loch though is still rising as all the rainfall on the surrounding hills collects here- just as well our grebes have finished nesting otherwise they might have been flooded out again.
The Great Crested Grebes have now left their lily-pad nest, with at least two live chicks- a third has been reported but not confirmed. We can only presume that the Otter took one chick or something else small, black and wriggly from the nest on Sunday, so perhaps there were four eggs? These grebes can now be seen parading happily around the whole loch with their youngsters on their backs. Also toady on the loch a large group of Goosander was seen – 14 in total and all seemed to be female. In fact this was probably one or two females with their combined youngsters (teenagers if you like) who resemble females at this stage, though they will be of both genders. Many of our birds do this: juveniles are safer in the female plumage, which is usually more camouflaged, and won’t assume full male breeding colours until their second year.
To add to this confusion this time of year , many of our Duck species, including all our local Mallards, are going into what is known as eclipse plumage– a form of camouflage they assume whilst moulting after breeding season. Again most male ducks resemble their females and are an odd mixture of brown mottled colours, nothing like the pictures in ID books! This can lead to people asking this time of year: where have all the males gone? In reality, they are all still about, just in disguise, so if you are struggling to ID waterfowl, do not despair!
We have also had a successful fledge from our Redstart nest here on the reserve which is great news too.
Lastly, just a quick note to say thank you to all of you who have written , called and spoken to us this week with your support and compliments about our work- this is hugely appreciated. For me personally to have folk appreciate the very long hours and dedication we and our wonderful volunteer team put in, makes all the difference, so thank you.