Hot, Hot, Hot!

What a glorious week! The temperature has been sitting at between 17-21 degrees during the day and plummeting to a chilly, frosty one or two degrees overnight. The warm weather has brought out a lot of flowers and wildlife – and people!

Comma butterfly

Comma butterfly

We have seen the first butterflies one the reserve this week. Most exciting of these was a comma, only the second one we’ve ever seen on the reserve. These butterflies seem to be moving north as the climate warms and have only been recorded here since 2013. It was also nice to see a peacock butterfly this week. These are probably one of our loveliest native butterflies.

The first peacock butterfly of the year

The first peacock butterfly of the year

Mind you, it’s not just the butterflies. We have had over 1000 visitors since the start of the Easter holidays and our car park has looked like this most days.

Easter Monday- and it got busier than this!

Easter Monday- and it got busier than this!

And I have a confession to make- I don’t like public holidays! Not because we mind visitors- it’s great to see people enjoying the fine weather- but we always seem to get some, shall we say, less responsible visitors. These are the ones who leave their rubbish behind them. This abandoned campsite doesn’t look too bad but the fire is full of cans and glass, and there were dangerous fishing hooks lying around. It’s not acceptable anywhere, let alone on a nature reserve.

Abandoned campsite

Abandoned campsite

After clearing up this, we needed some good wildlife to cheer us up! Fortunately the adders obliged. Some of these have started to shed their skins and the last year’s babies are still hanging around.

The first adder has shed it's skin!

The first adder has shed it’s skin!

Newly emerged - adder, still looking a bit dusty

Newly emerged – adder, still looking a bit dusty

Two of last year's baby adders

Two of last year’s baby adders

Getting close to shedding...

Getting close to shedding…

The wild flowers are bursting into bloom too. It won’t be long until the woods at New Kinord are full of wood anemones as well as celandines.

The first wood anemone of the year

The first wood anemone of the year

The leaves are starting to burst as well…the first willows came out this week.

The first leaves are appearing on the willow trees

The first leaves are appearing on the willow trees

The fine weather is also driving bird migration. We had our first osprey this week and there has been a constant stream of geese heading north high overhead.

Geese heading north

Geese heading north

Meanwhile, the resident greylags are starting to select and defend territories- noisily!

Greylags prospecting for nest sites

Greylags prospecting for nest sites

And the swans are pretty noisy too. They are called mute swans, but can make various grunts and hissing noises. But that’s nothing to the constant whum-whum-whum of their wings as they chase invaders off “their” patch.

Male mute swan in display mode

Male mute swan in display mode

This young swan has given up on trying to settle on the loch and has put down in a nearby field.

Young mute swan that's been kicked off the lochs.

Young mute swan that’s been kicked off the lochs.

The goldeneye are continuing to display to one another. You can see this female is in prime breeding condition by the pale tip on her beak.

A pair of goldeneye

A pair of goldeneye

And a nice treat was seeing a pair of great crested grebes on Loch Davan. These spectacular- looking birds have only been regular nesters here for the past 6 or 7 years.

Great crested grebe

Great crested grebe

While counting the birds down by the lochs, this reed bunting landed almost on top of us. As we were sitting still, I don’t think it spotted us and almost landed on my boots!

Male reed bunting

Male reed bunting

We also saw a bird on the reserve we hadn’t seen before this week- a red-legged or French partridge! These birds are released by the thousand by shooting estates but we haven’t seen here before. This one was rather amusingly sheltering from the rain on Friday under a bench on the lawn.

French or red-legged partridge

French or red-legged partridge

Another bird that was providing some amusement this week was a great-spotted woodpecker. They will jam food of some sort, in this case a pine cone, into a handy crack, and bash it to bits.

Wedging a pine cone in a convenient hole...

Wedging a pine cone in a convenient hole…

The trouble is, I’m not sure that SSE will be too keen on his selection of “tree” to work in!

....but I'm not sure that SSE might approve!

….but I’m not sure that  the electricity company might approve!

 

 

 

This entry was posted in Muir of Dinnet NNR and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.