Bird Immersion

Loch Lomond NNR

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An early morning this week, down at Loch Lomond for the first visit to survey our breeding bird population. This is a wetland site supreme with an amazingly diverse range of species found there, so to spend 3 hours totally focused on the birds is a fantastic experience. Real bird immersion.
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The survey involves walking a set route and recording all birds that you see and hear. Key species for the wetland habitat, i.e. waders, waterfowl and small ones associated with wet sites like grasshopper warblers and reed buntings are of particular importance. The mute swans are easy but the song birds needs careful listening and observation.

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In a controversial week for them, this raven appeared and seemed to be checking the strand line for dead things. They are always interesting to watch because they are often doing clever things and even when just sitting still seem to be thinking smart thoughts.

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Meadow pipits like this one  were the most numerous of the songbirds. Every flitting bird, every call and song is a puzzle to be solved. 3 hours of total focus on the job in hand on a beautiful site with a fine cup of coffee as the reward at the end. Well worth getting up for.

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As you go around you get little insights to everyday living of Loch Lomond birds. One of the local ospreys was takimg a critical look at its nest to see if it needed one or two more sticks?

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The local crows then came in to play their favourite game of bait the osprey. When they finally got it to fly away they then seemed to be picking up scraps, fish presumably, from around the rim of the nest.

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Tucked away in the top of a tussock just above the water line was an old nest from last year, probably a snipe nest.

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One of the dangers of listening to the radio as you drive to the site in the dark early hours is that the last song you hear before you turn it off stays with you for the whole of the survey. It is  not something that I ever thought I would find myself saying but Kylie Minogue accompanied me all the way round. The track? ” Stop me from falling” if you are interested – at least it proved prophetic as she managed to stop me from falling in any of the deep hidden ditches. That way it was just bird immersion not full immersion.

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