The main attraction at the Basin this week has undoubtedly been the Eurasian Spoonbill that has been roosting on Miss Erskine’s Bank. First spotted last Sunday before moving onto St Cyrus Nature Reserve it has since been seen yesterday and today. The photo of the Spoobill below was take by a local photographer on the reserve yesterday. This isn’t the first time we have been fortunate enough to be visited by the species in recent years, with 2 adults and a juvenile staying throughout July and August in 2011. Although still a rare bird in the UK they have been increasing in number and subsequently spreading northwards and into Scotland. There are only a few breeding pairs in the UK with the majority of Spring sightings thought to be birds that have overshot their migration on their return to Europe from their wintering grounds in Africa.
The number of Common Terns using the tern raft has continued to increase this week, with numbers of over 50 being counted on a daily basis. This number has, however, dropped significantly in the last few days, a trend that isn’t wholly unexpected. Having carried out their courtship rituals and mated, behaviours we have seen already this season, the terns have been known to vacate the raft for a period of time before they’re ready to lay their eggs, at which time they will return. So fingers crossed that this is the explanation for their sudden disappearing act.
The Sand Martin wall still doesn’t seem to be in use, however 22 nesting Sand Martins were spotted on the north shore of the reserve on Wednesday (21st), so it looks like they may have relocated to an alternative nesting site this year. Other sightings on the reserve this week have included a male and female Marsh Harrier seen on Tuesday and Wednesday, Ospreys today and last Sunday and 4 House Martins seen flying over the salt pans this morning.
Visitor Centre Assistant Manager.