Feathers and stopovers

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Loch Lomond NNR

It is a fascinating time on the reserves at the moment. With warm and cold weather and winter moving into spring, wildlife is on the move. Down at Loch Lomond on Thursday, skylarks were singing their hearts out, snipe were drumming and chupping and meadow pipits were doing their parachute displays – all breeding behaviour.  But for some birds they still have a lot of traveling to do before they can start thinking of pairing up and breeding. The pink-footed geese are in great numbers in the area and are pouring north, frantically feeding as they pass through to get fuelled up to pass over arctic waters to get to Iceland and Greenland for the summer. There were none of the reserve during the middle of the day but everywhere there were feathers left behind from when they roosted overnight. During these night time rest periods a lot of time is spent preening and sorting out the feathers to make sure they are in good nick for travel and work well. Their travel schedule works on day length so the weather and temperature here doesn’t affect the timing of their travel.

Whooper swans are the same. Smaller groups are using the reserve as a stopping off place before they head north. A small group was passing over as I walked around.

It is a time of really fast seasonal change with daily differences to see as the seasons progress. I just wish it could slow down so I can savour it more before moving to the next stage.

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