At this time of year it is not uncommon to see a lot of interesting migratory birds on the reserve as they make their way northwards after spending the winter in Europe and North Africa. You may spot an osprey passing over on its way back to its fishing grounds on a Highland loch or skeins of geese heading for Iceland and Canada.
One of the species that has appeared lately while I have been patrolling the reserve is the redwing (Turdus iliacus). I was lucky enough to spot a flock of a dozen or so of these colourful birds foraging in the boggy grassland near the blue route, but at my approach they quickly fled to the cover of some nearby conifers. Though they are a little smaller and darker than song thrushes the white stripe above the eye and the distinctive red patches under the ways really make these beautiful birds stand out. These pretty thrushes head north in the spring to breed in Iceland, Scandinavia and even the northern regions of Scotland. Last year I was fortunate enough to have a pair of redwing nesting close to the bothy while I was working on the Handa Island reserve in Sutherland and so it was a pleasant surprise to spot them again this year at my current position!
However, redwing are a prey species for peregrines so they will have to be careful or they may end up on the menu for our breeding pair while they are incubating their eggs. We shall have to see if any are brought in to the watch site in the future. I shall keep an eye out for any more interesting migrants on my patrols.
Bye for now!
Alex Kekewich – Falls of Clyde Seasonal Ranger