Slowly Heading for Spring

It’s getting warmer and more spring-like….on some of the days! The week started with snow again- and the Vat looked very pretty in the snow.

Snowy Vat

Snowy Vat

The snow also shows up any overnight visitors. There were lots of squirrel prints heading for the peanut feeder.

Squirrel prints in the snow

Squirrel prints in the snow

Squirrel and coal tit on the feeder

Squirrel and coal tit on the feeder

Some of our winter visitors are moving out. There are over 50 swans on Loch Davan this week, and half of these are whooper swans, gradually working their way back north to Iceland for the summer.

There are over 50 swans on Loch Davan just now

There are over 50 swans on Loch Davan just now

But it did start to warm up later in the week. The adders were out basking and we upped our count from six to eight on Thursday. Two were curled up together, sharing warmth. Snakes can help each other to warm up by snuggling up close- but, if one is cold and the other has been up for a while and is warm, it can be a bit of a one-way thing, with only one snake benefiting. These two seemed fairly settled so I guess no-one was pinching anyone’s heat.

Adder coiled up

Adder coiled up

One of the brown adders

One of the brown adders

A sinuosity of snuggling snakes!

A sinuosity of snuggling snakes!

Adders basking together to share warmth

Adders basking together to share warmth

Down on the lochs, the birds are thinking breeding thoughts. The swans are nest prospecting and are looking in the reeds for the ideal nest site.

Swans prospecting for nest sites

Swans prospecting for nest sites

The greylags are also pairing up, with a lot of honking and posturing. The swans and the geese even make the odd threat display at one another…not that either species seems to pay much attention to the other.

The greylags are pairing up

The greylags are pairing up

 The mute swan is giving the greylag the evil eye. The goose isn't happy about the swan either.

The mute swan is giving the greylag the evil eye. The goose isn’t happy about the swan either.

The swan is not happy about the geese

The swan is not happy about the geese

At Old Kinord, the field are filling up with lapwing. We had 9 pairs nesting here last year and saw 22 bird this week- so we may wind up with even more pairs of lapwing this year.

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We also saw our first frog of the year on Tuesday. We haven’t seen any frogspawn yet, but I bet there is some tucked away in pools on the reserve. If it warms right up, as is forecast this weekend, there will be frog and toad orgies in all the pools on the reserve!

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At this time of year, the vegetation has died back as much as is it going to and its only now you find litter that some helpful soul has tied up in a bag and slung into the bushes. We also found some bags in the loch, now the reeds have died back. I don’t understand why people are selfish enough to litter a beautiful place like this….it’s impossible not to get angry about it.

Litter found in the loch and buried in the bracken

Litter found in the loch and buried in the bracken

Carrying the litter out

Carrying the litter out

This week has also marked the start of all the birds singing….a proper dawn chorus. We’ve had plenty of birdsong but now everything has really started up- all the tits, wren, robin, dunnock, blackbird, song thrush and mistle thrush. The blackbirds and the thrushes have particularly fine voices. Mistle thrushes sing of love in a minor key, while song thrushes repeat, repeat, repeat…….. everything, everything! Keep an ear out for them in any wooded area…they are cracking singers!

Mistle thrush

Mistle thrush

Song thrush

Song thrush

 

 

 

 

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