The First Migrants are Back!

Yup, the title says it all. The first spring migrants are back, with a pair of sand martins seen zooming over Loch Davan on Monday morning. Admittedly, they probably wished they weren’t as it was blizzarding at that point but at least the sleety squall didn’t last- it blew through quickly, producing lots of rainbows.

Rainbow over Loch Davan

Squalls blowing through on the wind….

…and the same view, 5 minutes later!

Although it has been sunny, it hasn’t been all that warm. The adders are still getting up late in the day, but must be getting closer to shedding their skins- their eyes have started to go cloudy.

This male’s eye is just starting to go cloudy

This adder has a very cloudy eye

The adders aren’t the only reptiles we’ve seen this week. We’ve seen our first slow worms, basking in the sun and living up to their name. I like slow worms- they’re fairly peaceable creatures – but oh my goodness, they’re thick about getting out of the way of danger. We had to evict one off the lawn, where it was determinedly not moving, in spite of nearly being run over by people, the wheely bin and the wheelbarrow. The survival strategy of not moving only works up to the point you get squashed.

Not moving. Not. You can’t see me if I don’t move.

All of the resident birds are singing furiously just now. Among the most strident are the song and mistle thrushes. It takes a bit of getting used to before you can tell them apart by song, but there are a couple of “tricks” you can use. Mistle thrushes sing in a minor key, while song thrushes repeat repeat repeat, everything everything, often in that three-repeats, two- repeats cadence.

Mistles are minor…

 

Song thrushes repeat, repeat, repeat!

The song thrush would happily have made a meal of this newt we found wandering around the  visitor centre on Monday. These have only just emerged and, like the slow worms, freeze in the face of danger. Fortunately, we only wanted to take his photo!

Newt on path at back of visitor centre

There are even more toads and frogs to be seen on the paths on the mild mornings. In fact, there are toads everywhere! We’ve been doing the Dance of the  Toad, swaying around on one leg as you attempt not to tread on a toad you hadn’t spotted until it moved underfoot. So, if you’re out on the reserve this weekend, watch your feet….or practice your dancing!

Spot the toad?

How many toads?

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