Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Interesting Week

Well, it's been an interesting week on the reserve. We've had some heavy rain over the weekend, and as such, the water levels are extremely high right now. The tiny burn that runs through the reserve is currently running more like a river.
The swans are still looking after their three cygnets and there is at least one juvenile coot on the loch. Monday saw the return of the Ruddy duck, which hadn't been seen for a couple of weeks.
The wet weather has brought out plenty of young frogs, just emerging from the loch. On Monday there must have been a thousand of them trying to cross the path! Trying to avoid standing on them as you walk along the path is near impossible.
On the occasional sunny days, we've got more of the common blue damselflies out and several butterfly species.
We've also had two new bird species added this week. There was a male Redstart seen beside the path last Friday and a very special bird on Monday. I had my first Kingfisher sighting over the loch! The bird didn't land (I suspect that's because of the commotion i was making and over excitement i was clearly portraying!) and i was wondering if it would be a good idea to add a few perches for them around the loch, to encourage them to hang around.
The feeders are going down very quickly right now. I assume with the weather being worse than normal, they're choosing to use the feeders more because there isn't so many insects out and about for them.
Hopefully this time next week i'll be supplying another update on what's happening on the reserve and what can be seen. Maybe this time i'll remember my camera, too!

Tuesday, 19 June 2007


Well, i returned to Cullaloe today, with a view to getting some photos of the great spotted woodpecker on the feeders. It didn't work out too well, though. The woodpecker was about, and swooped over the feeders several times, but refused to settle on any of them while i was close (i was approximately 15 feet away from the feeders. The smaller birds had no problems with me, though (I've edited my previous post on the feeders with a pic of the birds on it)

The birds that were being particularly photogenic were the swans. They came close enough to the hide/screen for me to get a couple of good pics. (shown below) They actually started out with 5 cygnets, but they're down to three now. They're looking good, though, so here's hoping they all make it.
I also saw a young coot being fed by it's parent. This one is quite big, and pretty close to fledging. I'd seen coot chicks there earlier on in the season, but i thought they'd all died, since i haven't seen them for some time. It's nice to know that they're still about.

Female swan and 3 cygnets

The male swan

Of course, birds aren't the only things to be seen on the reserve. Right now there's plenty of common blue damselflies (shown below) and there's more and more butterflies appearing all the time (Although they're annoyingly good at avoiding the camera!).
There's also roe deer on the reserve, and we've had foxes living here in the past. Mice and voles are all over the place, but spotting them can be a bit of a challenge!

Saturday, 16 June 2007

The feeders

Well, i phoned SWT head office at the end of April, asking for permission to put up a couple of feeders on the reserve. Permission was granted.
We originally started out with a single seed feeder. The food went down, but slowly. We then added a large seed feeder and a small peanut feeder. It turns out that the peanut feeder was going down faster than the seed feeders.
As a result, we moved the seed feeders to a different location and ordered a large batch of peanuts and 2 more peanut feeders.
The seed feeders have started to go down a lot faster in their new locations. We've seen great tits on the small feeder and sparrows on the large feeder (although you'll note that there's no sparrows on the bird list yet... we couldn't identify if it was a tree sparrow or house sparrow at the time, since we couldn't see the head)
The small peanut feeder appeared to be getting regular use from great tits and blue tits.

Once the 2 new large peanut feeders arrived, they were swiftly filled up and placed near the original. Within 10 mins of being put up we had great tit, coal tit and chaffinch at them! 2 days later i had my first sighting of a great spotted woodpecker on one of them! That sighting in itself has made the expense totally worthwhile.

I'll be regularly updating with what i see on each visit, both on the feeders, the loch and the reserve as a whole. You never know. There might be more still to come!

One of the peanut feeders

The Birds

Here is a list of the birds sighted on or from the reserve since 15th May 2007 by myself. It's almost certainly not a complete list of the birds and i'm sure that some have been missed and i haven't seen them.

On or around the loch:
  • Mallard
  • Tufted Duck
  • Ruddy Duck
  • Mute Swan
  • Grey Heron
  • Coot
  • Moorhen
  • Kingfisher
  • Little Grebe (also known as Dabchick)
  • Black-headed Gull
  • Wigeon
  • Osprey
  • Teal
13 species

In the Willow Scrub:
  • Willow Warbler
  • Mistle Thrush
  • Song Thrush
  • Dunnock
  • Chiffchaff
  • Sedge Warbler
  • Whitethroat
  • Collared Dove
  • Grasshopper Warbler
  • Snipe
9 species

Throughout the reserve and on the feeders:
  • Blue Tit
  • Robin
  • Blackbird
  • Chaffinch
  • Woodpigeon
  • Great Tit
  • Wren
  • Pied Wagtail
  • Reed Bunting
  • Pheasant
  • Buzzard
  • Sparrowhawk
  • Swift
  • Skylark
  • Meadow Pipit
  • Swallow
  • Sand Martin
  • House Martin
  • Long-tailed Tit
  • Great Spotted Woodpecker
  • Carrion Crow
  • Rook
  • Lapwing
  • Pied Wagtail
  • Coal Tit
  • Lesser black-backed Gull
  • Oystercatcher
  • Herring Gull
  • Magpie
  • Redstart
  • Greenfinch
  • Blackcap
  • Linnet
  • Tawny Owl
  • Grey Wagtail
  • Wood Warbler
  • Treecreeper
  • Siskin
  • Bullfinch
  • Curlew
  • House Sparrow
  • Raven
  • Peregrine Falcon
  • White-Tailed Eagle
  • Lesser Redpoll
  • Pink-footed Goose
  • Redwing
  • Fieldfare
  • Goldcrest
49 species

TOTAL: 71 species

This list will be updated as new birds are seen. I'm confident more will be added as the seasons change and once the water level is dropped (should see wader species appearing)

Last updated 26/09/2007

Cullaloe Local Nature Reserve

Well, I've decided to create a regular blog of the goings on at my local nature reserve. I'm by no means an expert in any field and i certainly am not going to make any claims to be. What i plan to do with this blog is provide information to interested readers on what's happening on the reserve and what can be seen.

First of all, let's discuss the reserve itself. I'll give you a bit of a history on the site. First and foremost, though, here's the link to the official site: Cullaloe LNR. The site is maintained in partnership with the Scottish Wildlife Trust and Fife Council. Most of the information about the site can be found on that website, but here's a brief summary:
The reserve was originally a reservoir supporting the local town of Burntisland, but became surplus to requirements. In 1986 the lower reservoir was drained of water, leaving a boggy, marshland. This marshland has been left to develop by itself, and over the past 20 years it has become a large willow carr area. Various species thrive on the reserve as a result, and it is well known for breeding sedge warbler and whitethroat. The smaller, upper reservoir still remains and is host to several wildfowl species, with coot, moorhen and mute swans being just some of the birds breeding on the loch. It is also home to the rare mudwort plant and the water level is lowered every 2 years to give the plantlife a chance to flourish. The reserve borders onto the B9157 road and traffic noise can be heard from the reserve (but it never drowns out the bird sound). There is a small conifer plantation (and i mean small, we're talking 10 trees here!) next to the loch and various woodland bird species can be found in this area.