Staff member Russell Nisbet gave the perfect overview in last week’s Montrose Review, of the wildlife that can be seen at this time of the year on the reserve;
This is a lovely intermediate time of year when the weather can still be very good (as it has been) yet there are signs that autumn is not too far away! Parties of Canada Geese numbering a total of 275 have been utilising the Montrose Basin SWT reserve, probably heading back to Yorkshire after their moult up in the Beauly Firth area, Brent Geese (up to 13) are also heading south, Common Scoters and Goldeneyes are returning from northern breeding grounds (probably not Scotland where a only few pairs of each nest), and numerous waders such as Knot (up to 55) and Ruff (5) are gathering after breeding in northern climes (could be Greenland, Alaska or northern Europe). Commoner waders like Greenshanks (12), Common Sandpipers (16) and Dunlins (up to 125 seen in the Basin) probably have nested on Scottish lochs or moors but now that the breeding season is over, they will either leave the country altogether or seek out feeding areas along our shoreline.
However, there is still a hint of summer when you see plenty of flowers still in bloom, and a plethora of insects feeding on them. Andy mentioned in the last ‘Basin Notes’ that some species were not doing too well but since his report, butterflies such as the Peacock has been emerging in large numbers with up to 35 being counted in a single garden. This garden in north Fife also had two Commas and Small Copper, Small Tortoiseshell, Small White, Green-veined White and Large White. However, as Andy mentioned there have been very few sightings so far of Painted Lady and Red Admiral. But, who knows, there may still be plenty of time for them to appear! On the hoverfly front, the last two weeks of lovely hot weather has brought these insects out in profusion. In my own Montrose garden, I have seen hundreds at a time, especially on the Buddleias. When I wardened the Baron’s Haugh nature reserve in the Clyde Valley, I had a hoverfly expert doing a two-day survey, and he recorded over 70 species of hoverflies! He said that if he visited at different times of the year, he would probably have recorded over 100 species! I thought that there was a handful!
Always a spectacular sight to observe from the Centre’s large picture window is Ospreys catching flounders, and this is a very good time of year to be looking out for this. Up to four Ospreys at one time have been seen fishing, and they seem to have a favourite ‘perch’ on which to devour them