Closer inspection of the tern raft this week has revealed that the tern’s breeding success has been better than previously thought. 12 Common Tern chicks have been counted this week, the highest number so far this summer. A few of the chicks look to be no more than a few weeks old so it will be a fight against time for their parents to successfully fledge them before heading on their long migration south. The chicks are currently finding the courage to make their first explorations out from under their brick homes and around the raft, and the Visitor Centre viewing gallery is the ideal place to watch this.
This week has also seen the number of Canada Geese rise to the 371 counted on the reserve today. Having been introduced from North America, Canada Geese don’t have a natural migration path in the UK. This, however, hasn’t stopped them from moving northwards in a mini migration and is the reason behind the increased numbers seen on the reserve at this time of the year. The flocks of geese that besiege English parks and gardens fly north in early summer and congregate on the Beauly Firth before heading south again in late summer. Another mass congregation on the Basin this week has been that of Herring, Black Headed and Common Gulls. Over the last few weeks there have been up to 8,000 of them feeding together across the reserve. Local fisherman have reported seeing higher numbers of fish in the sea than anytime over the past 20 years, so the gulls must be feeding on these schools of fish as they flood the Basin on the incoming tide.
Other sightings on the reserve this week have included 2 Spotted Redshank, 10 Greenshank, 2 Kingfishers and a Little Egret at the Lurgies on the 14th along more regular Osprey sightings across the reserve, probably due to the fact that most the juveniles in the local area are now fully fledged and therefore hunting by themselves. High counts today have included 172 Mute Swans, 321 Lapwing, 96 Red Breasted Merganser, 90 Goosander and 105 Herons.
Visitor Centre Assistant Manager.