Happy New Year from all here at Montrose Basin!
In the birding world this means it’s that time of the year again, when last year’s sightings and lists are put to one side and it’s time to start all over again. Birds that barely a week ago may not have turned a head are now being sought after to add those vital first ticks to the list. So what species do we have here at Montrose Basin to help get your list of to a flyer?
One species already seen here this year has been the Kingfisher, making its first appearance today (5th). As you will probably know, both male and female Kingfishers have become quite frequent visitors to our ‘Kingfisher perch’ in front of the centre over the past year, so we would expect the sightings to go into the new year. The reserve is also a sure-fire way to tick off a good number of wildfowl species. On a good day most of the following species can be seen at this time of the year; Pink-Footed Goose, Mute Swan, Whooper Swan, Shelduck, Mallard, Teal, Wigeon, Scaup, Tufted Duck, Goldeneye, Red-Breasted Merganser, Goosander and Eider. Another species that’s been seen in great numbers this winter has been the Pintail duck, with 126 counted today, and counts of over 100 made most days. In terms of raptors we have 3 ticks on our list so far this year, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk and Peregrine Falcon. Osprey, Kestrel and Marsh Harrier will almost certainly be added to this list as the year goes on, and if we are lucky the likes of Merlin, Hobby or White Tailed Eagle. The feeders in front of the centre are a great place to tick off a range of passerine species, not least the Tree Sparrow, seen in good numbers on a daily basis. We have also been having Blackcap sightings over the past few weeks, attracted to the feeding area by the apples we have been putting out on an old tree stump. Waders can be seen in abundance over the winter months, with most the common species being seen on a daily species. We now also have Greenshank over-wintering on the reserve, with up to 7 being counted on a daily basis. Both Bar and Black-Tailed Godwits have been seen today as well, with 18 and 22 counted respectively.
This is, of course, just a handful of the species that can be seen on the reserve across the year. As always we will try our best to keep you updated with any news and sightings that happen throughout 2014. So have a good birding year and hopefully we will see you in the Visitor Centre at some point to help add a few more ticks to that list.
Visitor Centre Assistant Manager.